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Voat

Voat Inc.
Voat-logo.png
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Social news
Available inEnglish
Websitevoat.co[1]
Alexa rankDecrease 8,670 (September 2018)[2]
CommercialYes
RegistrationRequired to view
LaunchedApril 2014; 5 years ago (2014-04) (as WhoaVerse)
Current statusOnline
Written inC#

Voat Inc /ˈvt/ is a news aggregator and social networking service where registered community members can submit content such as text posts and direct links. Registered users can then vote for these submissions. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called "subverses".[3][4]

The website has been described by several media outlets, including Quartz, The New York Times, New York, and the US and UK editions of Wired, as a hub for the alt-right.[5][6][7][8][4]

Overview

Voat is a site which hosts aggregated content and discussion forums. According to Wired, Voat is "aesthetically and functionally similar to Reddit."[9] Like Reddit, Voat is a collection of entries submitted by its registered users to themed categories (called "subverses" on Voat) similar to a bulletin board system. Unlike Reddit, Voat has emphasized looser content restrictions and an ad-revenue sharing program.[10][11][12] Voat is written in the C# programming language, while Reddit is written in Python.[13][14]

In a January 2017 New Yorker article, Voat was described as a descendant of 2chan, 4chan, and 8chan, where users compete for shock value.[15] The Verge described the site as "Imzy's dark twin", in that both were indirect products of the Gamergate culture war.[16]

The name "Voat" is a play on the words 'goat' and 'vote'.[14] The site's mascot is a goat.[17] The website uses the Colombian top level domain .co which was registered in November 2014.[18]

History

Founded in April 2014 as WhoaVerse, the website was a hobby project of Atif Colo (known on Voat as @Atko), then a student pursuing a BSc, who was later joined by Justin Chastain (known as @PuttItOut).[19][20] The website has been labelled as an alternative to Reddit with a focus on freedom of expression.[11][17][21] In December 2014, WhoaVerse changed its name to Voat for ease of use.[22]

In February 2015, following accusations of censorship on Reddit, Voat claimed that they had seen a “large influx” of new users, most of them from Reddit.[23]

In early June, 2015, after Reddit banned five of its subreddits for harassment—the largest of which had around 150,000 subscribers[9][24]—many users of Reddit began to create accounts on Voat.[25] The influx of new participants temporarily overloaded the site, causing downtime.[26][27]

Voat's Germany-based web hosting service, Host Europe (a precursor to Webfusion), shut down the service in June 2015 and alleged Voat "was publicizing incitement of people, as well as abusive, insulting and youth-endangering content" as well as "illegal right-wing extremist content."[28] Voat's founder attributed the shutdown to political correctness.[28] Voat also had payments frozen by PayPal due to "sexually oriented materials or services."[29][19][30][31][32] Voat shut down four of its own subverses in response, two of which hosted sexualized images of minors ("jailbait").[12] The website continued to accept donations in Bitcoin,[17] and was able to continue functioning, as it had moved to a different hosting provider.[33] The website continued to experience downtime due to an ongoing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, rendering the 700,000 unique visitors unable to access the site.[12]

In early July 2015, following the dismissal of a popular administrator on Reddit, another influx of Reddit members registered with Voat,[34] leading to traffic which again caused Voat to experience downtime.[35][36] The developers of the website were subsequently approached by venture capitalists interested in investing in the project.[17]

Also in July, Voat, alongside WikiLeaks, was subject to a Bitcoin "dust" attack and more DDoS attacks. The Bitcoin attack slowed payment processing to the websites.[37] The DDoS attack, launched July 12, was unsuccessful due to Cloudflare services, although it had the side effect of rendering third-party Voat apps incapable of functioning.[38][39]

In August 2015, Voat became incorporated in the United States. Colo explained in a post announcing the incorporation that this was because "U.S. law by far beats every other candidate country we’ve researched."[40][41]

In November 2016, more users relocated to Voat after Reddit banned the Pizzagate conspiracy theory subreddit citing doxing and harassment concerns.[42][43]

In January 2017, Colo resigned as CEO of Voat, citing a lack of time available to devote to the site. Colo was replaced as CEO by Chastain.[44]

In May 2017, Chastain ran a fundraising campaign, announcing that Voat might have to shut down due to lack of money.[16]

In November 2017, some of Reddit's incel community moved to Voat after an incel community was banned on Reddit.[45]

On September 12, 2018, Reddit banned several subreddits dedicated to discussing the QAnon conspiracy theory, stating that they had violated its rules prohibiting "inciting violence, harassment, and the dissemination of personal information."[46][47] This caused many of the Q Anon posters to migrate to Voat.[48]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "voat.co Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  3. ^ Edison Hayden, Michael (2019-06-07). "A Guide to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)". Columbia Journalism Review. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Archived from the original on 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  4. ^ a b Reynolds, Matt (2018-07-23). "The wheels are falling off the alt-right's version of the internet". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 2019-05-04. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  5. ^ Sinders, Caroline (2017-09-27). "There's an alt-right version of everything". Quartz. Archived from the original on 2018-01-16. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  6. ^ Roose, Kevin (2017-12-11). "The 'alt-right' created a parallel internet. It's a holy mess". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-01-16. Retrieved 2018-01-16 – via CNBC.
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  10. ^ Smith, Dave (July 9, 2015). "This website has a great chance at stealing Reddit's massive online community". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Pullen, John Patrick (July 21, 2015). "Some Reddit Users Are Flocking to This New Site". Time. Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
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  19. ^ a b Russon, Mary-Ann (July 13, 2015). "What is Voat, the anti-censorship alternative to Reddit that trolls have flocked to?". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  20. ^ "WhoaVerse is changing name | announcements". Voat – Solidarité. Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  21. ^ Berschewsky, Tapio (June 11, 2015). "Kiusaamiseen puuttuminen aiheutti massapaon palvelusta – ja kaatoi toisen". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  22. ^ "WhoaVerse is changing name". Voat. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  23. ^ Dewey, Caitlyn (February 18, 2015). "The 'Reddit exodus' is a perfect illustration of the state of free speech on the Web". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  24. ^ Woollacott, Emma (June 11, 2015). "Users Flock To Voat As Reddit Shuts Harassing Groups". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2015-06-15. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  25. ^ Hern, Alex (June 15, 2015). "Reddit users flee to Swiss copy Voat after harassment clampdown". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  26. ^ Pick, Rachel (June 23, 2015). "PayPal Cuts Off Reddit Clone Voat Over 'Obscenity'". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  27. ^ Herman, Barbara (June 11, 2015). "What Is Voat? Reddit FatPeopleHate Ban Has Users Migrate To Unmoderated Space, Complain On Twitter". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 2015-06-12. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  28. ^ a b Sawers, Paul (June 19, 2015). "Amid censorship brouhaha, Reddit clone Voat has its servers closed by hosting provider". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
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  30. ^ Dewey, Caitlin (June 23, 2015). "This is what happens when you create an online community without any rules, part 2". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  31. ^ Macadangdang, Rex (June 23, 2015). "Web Host Shuts Down Reddit Clone Voat For Politically Incorrect Content". Tech Times. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  32. ^ Hern, Alex (June 22, 2015). "Reddit clone Voat dropped by web host for "political incorrect" content". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  33. ^ "Our provider, hosteurope.de shut down our servers due to "political incorrectness"". June 20, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-07-13. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  34. ^ Carson, Biz (July 2, 2015). "Reddit's popular 'ask me anything' feature is down after a key employee is gone". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  35. ^ Kelion, Leo (July 8, 2015). "Reddit rival Voat buckles under demand". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2015-07-08. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  36. ^ Truong, Kevin (July 6, 2015). "With Reddit blackout, users revolt for second time this summer". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved July 8, 2015 – via Yahoo! News.
  37. ^ Pearson, Jordan (July 9, 2015). "WikiLeaks Is Now a Target In the Massive Spam Attack on Bitcoin". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 2015-07-10. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  38. ^ Roberts, Jeff John (July 13, 2015). "New Reddit rival Voat hit by DDoS attack". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  39. ^ Khan, Imad (July 13, 2015). "Reddit rival Voat hit with DDoS attacks". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  40. ^ Dewey, Caitlyn (August 6, 2015). "Contrary to the Internet crybabies, online speech in the U.S. is really free, actually". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-08-06. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  41. ^ "Voat, the student side-project is now Voat, Inc.! | announcements". Voat – Solidarité. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  42. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (23 November 2016). "Fearing yet another witch hunt, Reddit bans 'Pizzagate'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  43. ^ Rosenberg, Eli (December 7, 2016). "Roberta's, Popular Brooklyn Restaurant, Is Pulled Into 'Pizzagate' Hoax". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-12-07. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  44. ^ Colo, Atif (2017-01-27). "Change of Guard! | announcements". Voat. Archived from the original on 2017-01-28. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  45. ^ Hathaway, Jay (10 November 2017). "Why Reddit finally banned one of its most misogynistic forums". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  46. ^ Jacobs, Emily (12 September 2018). "Reddit has banned the QAnon conspiracy subreddit r/GreatAwakening". New York Post. Archived from the original on 17 October 2018 – via Fox News.
  47. ^ Robertson, Adi (2018-09-12). "Reddit has banned the QAnon conspiracy subreddit r/GreatAwakening". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2018-09-16. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  48. ^ Owen, Tess (July 10, 2019). "The Epstein Scandal Is Giving QAnon Everything Pizzagate Couldn't". Vice News. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019. The QAnon community largely congregate on alternative social media platforms (after they were excommunicated from Reddit) such as Voat [...]

External links