Don't Tread on Liberty

Don't Censor Me Bro!

March 22, 2022 Jason Davis Season 3 Episode 12
Don't Tread on Liberty
Don't Censor Me Bro!
Show Notes Transcript

We all know big tech censorship is out of control. But do we really know why.  Are the founders of Fakebook and Shitter just into world domination and ultra liberal or is there something else at play? Has the government essentially swallowed them up? Today we talk to the CEO and founder of the alternative social site Retalk, Peter Zaborszky. Retalk is the "fastest growing non-woke social site" and strives to provide free speech to the right side of the aisle. Before Retalk Peter founded a privacy advocacy organization.  It's a fascinating conversation with an inside view to the world of big tech. BONUS: Peter is also in Hungary, on the border with the Ukraine and gives some fascinating insights into what's going on over there as well. DO NOT MISS THIS!

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Intro:

fighting back against the left's non stop attacks on liberty, freedom. And America, America. This is don't tread on liberty. Jason Davis is on the air.

Jason Davis:

Hey, welcome back to don't tread on liberty. Thanks for being here. Jason Davis, obviously, a lot going on in the world now with the big conflict in Ukraine with Russia. And what I really wanted to talk about today was big tech censorship, and social media. Now, our guest today is really well positioned to talk about everything that's going on, because he's actually coming to us from Hungary, which, if you don't know, shares a border with Ukraine, he is a lifelong entrepreneur. He started a privacy advocacy group, organization, and now he's the CEO and founder of retox, calm, a new social media site. Peters aborsi is with us. Thank you for being here. How are you?

Peter Zaborszky:

Thanks for having for having me. It's good to be here. I'm slightly worried about the Russians, but I'm good.

Jason Davis:

So before before I get into that with, with your social media site and big tech, let's talk about that. I mean, and let's be honest, I mean, the mainstream media in America is a complete joke. They are a propaganda wing for the left side of our government here. So you can't trust anything they report and social media. You know, they censor anything that's truthful about pretty much everything. So I don't know why this would be any different. You're right there on the border with Ukraine? I mean, what can you tell us about what's going on there?

Peter Zaborszky:

Yeah, I think the big problem is, is the trust issue, you hit the nail on the head that you after everything that's happened with with COVID? And a lot of things before that, it's it's super hard to know exactly what, like who's being truthful and who isn't. But I would hope that maybe there's been a, just like you've seen, like, countries kind of getting together and actually taking action this time. And it does seem like it is bringing the West together this this whole thing. I hope that maybe most of what we see and in the media is truthful. But you know, you never know. But there's definitely, there definitely is a war going on. And there definitely are refugees coming through on the border, you know, to telling the stories of, you know, their cities being bombed. So it's, to be honest, it's not, it's not a situation that I really thought that would happen in my lifetime. So I think a lot of people are just completely in shock. And we're not even sure what to think or what to what to feel. It's just a complete shock. I don't think many people thought this would happen.

Jason Davis:

Now, you were born in Soviet Hungary. So I mean, and I don't doubt there's a conflict going on. What can you tell us about the actual reasons that this conflict started? I mean, what can you tell us about that? Yeah,

Peter Zaborszky:

I, my, my thoughts on that. Obviously, I'm not an I'm not an expert. And I don't have x, sort of, I don't know, secret knowledge of why it's happened. But I think it's definitely something to do with historically, the Russians like to keep their country secure. And they like to make sure that their borders are, are safe and secure from Europeans and from other potentially hostile forces. And I think over the last few years, the this the fact that the Ukrainian government has been getting closer and closer to Europe and there's been all this talk about them maybe joining NATO, eventually the EU, I think that's that's been probably freaking out many people in the leadership in Russia, not just Putin because, because we know historically that this is the kind of thing that Russians get really scared or annoyed about. And another thing is that in history always teaches us the kind of Russians always defend by attacking so they, they and I think that's probably what they're doing. Now. Having said that, it there's there's all sorts of, you know, again, we don't know who to trust but but there's all sorts of speculation that maybe Putin is ill or that that he's somehow something's happened that he desperately wants to, you know, put maker's mark on the world or he definitely wants to do something big and maybe that's what's going on in the background, that he's, he's kind of personally pushing for this, for personal reasons. So, at this point, that's, that's, that's the historical context that I can I can kind of, say here from Hungary.

Jason Davis:

It's interesting because, you know, here in America, they paint they paint Putin as the you know, the big bad wolf, right, like he's the big bad boogeyman Again, I don't you know, I don't particularly ever really trust the media or what they say. So I, you know, I wouldn't know one way or the other. You being right there in the region. I mean, what's your take on him? Is he is he a madman? Or is he actually trying to do the right thing by his people in his country?

Peter Zaborszky:

What to me is really strange, I think about this whole thing is he, he always gave the impression of being a very, very cold calculating person. He seemed like that that kind of no emotions, dictator. And based on what's happened in the last last week, it seems like even on the on the military front, he's miscalculated and, and it seems like he was expecting to invade Ukraine really quickly, and it hasn't happened. And he seems to be getting more and more frustrated. So it's strange if you know someone who's been super cold and super unemotional for 60 years, why is he suddenly making mistakes and being angry and getting worried? So I think it's, that's, that's a worrying sign that maybe something has has changed in him? Because, like, definitely, the way people saw him before was that he's very, very calculating. He's very unemotional. And it seems slightly different now.

Jason Davis:

They definitely want there's definitely a lot going on, right? They want to, you know, this whole great reset movement. That pretty much everybody seems to be on board with, except for maybe Russia, I'm not sure. But there's a lot of things in play. And you know, wars, obviously, are used to change boundaries, and countries and monetary systems and all that. So this is very troubling to me. But it's very interesting to hear your perspective, because you're there. I don't, you know, again, I can't trust anything that any of the information we get here. Let's move on. Because like I said, I wanted to talk with you about big tech and social media. Obviously, censorship and social media is, I mean, off the rails, right, like, you can't even question anything that comes out of your government officials mouth without being censored. I mean, I was banned from LinkedIn. You know, when this whole thing started about a year and a half, two years ago, you know, I was just deleted right off of LinkedIn, you know, 10,000 connections, just, you know, deleted, like, in one day, like, Hey, you're done by. So, I mean, and I'm not like some crazy guy like I'm, I'm posting facts, factual research, and, you know, articles from government websites and stuff, and they just deleted me. So I think it's kind of interesting. Now. We've seen this continue with Twitter, and Facebook, and all those guys. And that's why I'm not really on any of those platforms. I don't really want to, you know, be around a place that doesn't value free speech. But you've started something here to try to address this retox calm now, you know, I'm reading on the website, right? You say this is the fastest growing non woke social network. Congratulations with that. But what these other big tech guys like how do you think this really happened? I mean, did his you know his snort burger and? And horsey, you know, over at shitter? Are those guys just? Are they like, did they just get swallowed up by the government? Or are they actually really like into world domination? I mean, what's your take on these guys? Yeah,

Peter Zaborszky:

this is a this is a great topic. Actually. I think they I think when they started, the intentions were good. And maybe even five or 10 years ago, Silicon Valley was was I think, culturally kind of libertarian, although it was getting worse. But I think definitely 20 or 30 years ago, I think everyone agrees that they were quite libertarian thinking. And I think they when you when you have basically techies and geeks, who have built amazing products with billions of users, they've built these products, which have become massively powerful in terms of controlling information and controlling the narrative. And yes, I think you're exactly right that I think it's been hijacked by politicians, power brokers, they've, they've they've used all the political games that they, they've learned over the wealth of politicians. They always knew how to do that. But I think I think Mark Zuckerberg Jack Dorsey, especially Jack Dorsey probably is is fairly libertarian deep down. But he's just been probably forced into a situation by powers that, you know, he, he doesn't stand a chance against these kinds of people. So So I think what's happened is kind of government capture of these social media sites. Because the information is everything really, and and controlling narrative is everything. So governments have to control it.

Jason Davis:

Yeah, I mean, I think what happened is, you know, they probably saw the power that Donald Trump was able to harvest that got him elected in 2016, using mainly just social media. But these guys, I mean, Google and Apple, these guys have 99% of the world's information, right. And so the government essentially co opting them and for them to go along with this. This is the government doing an end around the United States Constitution, to violate all kinds of rights and privacy of the American people. I, you know, again, these guys are libertarian minded, as you say. How would I mean, how does something like that happen to them? I mean, what, what goes on there that makes them change in that way, or allow this to happen? One thing

Peter Zaborszky:

I've always wondered about is I wonder why. There's I think there's so many people in the US who who believe in free speech and believing in well, in freedoms generally, but it seems like no one's willing to, to actually stand up to what's what's happening. And I'm not a lawyer. So I don't know. But I think at some point, there has to be a case that if, if on social media, social media sites are censoring everything based on the government's position and the government's narrative, surely, at some point, you can say, the government is actually interfering with free speech, but I'm not a lawyer. But But I just, I'm a bit disappointed that that hasn't been really challenged anywhere, and it doesn't seem like anyone's willing to to challenge that in, in the courts. When I think there's that there must be plenty of very rich people who would, who are who do are firm believers in free speech, but they haven't been proactive in doing that. So so that, that worries me quite a bit. I mean, in terms of the in terms of how they, they captured the businesses, I, I'm sure there are methods that are well, that they've practiced well over the last 50 or 100 years. And I'm not a big believer in sort of conspiracies, because I always think the government's more incompetent than the navels to hide things. But I think that if there's, if there's just a few powerful enough people who really want to want to put pressure on these companies and put pressure on the founders, I'm sure with the resources of sort of the deep state or whatever you want to call it, they can they can do things which which will affect them, or maybe it's just the threat of regulation. And it's, it's, you know, it's that that might be the ultimate gun to their head is just saying, Look, we'll we will regulate you to death unless you do what we want. And that's that's kind of said to them in the background privately. And it's, it's probably quite hard to, to stand up to that.

Jason Davis:

Yeah. And I think what's fascinating is, you know, here in America, they have section 230. Right, like, so this is where these guys and like people like yourself, are basically, you know, you get immunity legally for anything people say, on the platform. Because supposedly, it's just a platform. Right. But but for them to censor people, I think they actually become an editor. And at that point, don't you lose protection under Section 230?

Peter Zaborszky:

i Yeah, I think perhaps if you my opinion on this is probably a few section 230 probably does more good than it does more harm. So I would for the people who are very, very frustrated with with social media companies, I would say, Try and think outside of government regulation, because I think government regulation, you'll always have a risk that things will get better not not those things will get worse, not better. And you never know what unintended consequences will happen. So I think right now, at least, I think with with the legal system, the way the way that it is, at least you still at least the market can still create new platforms like retorque like get like parlor, and you know parlor was kind of assassinated. We could probably call it that. But I think the market will eventually find solutions to this problem. And if there's enough frustrated people with with current tech platforms, that that creates a market need and entrepreneurs will will jump on that need just like me. I think it's just you have to be a little bit patient and you have to I wait for the market to catch up to the problem. But I, especially because Silicon Valley companies do do an extremely good job of the actual product. So it's very, very hard to compete with them. But I think it's, it's better to be slightly patient than to kind of go go look to the government for solutions, because I think government hardly ever has good solutions to anything.

Jason Davis:

Yeah, well, you're not going to get any argument for me. So let's talk about retox. Because, you know, you say this is for, you know, the right wing side of the aisle, and you're gonna, you know, Foster's free speech, they're on ideas. However, I do want to kind of ask you, you know, you are, you're on like, it says on the website, you're on, you're using AWS, Amazon Web Services for your platform hosting, and you're in the Play Store, right, and Google Play Apple, whatever. So you have to abide by their terms, right, their terms of service to be on there. So how are you? I mean, if they want you to censor, that's basically what happened to parlor, right? They wanted them to censor, and they got, like you said, annihilated? What's stopping them from just taking you down?

Peter Zaborszky:

Yeah, I think the the crucial one probably is, is AWS, and there. We AWS AWS is very good for for scaling something if it's growing quickly. But we the way we feel retook, I think we could, we could very, very quickly move away from AWS, probably within a day if we needed to. Because we're not right from the start, I knew that this is a problem that we that we probably will face at some point. So we built the system in a way that we can, we can move at any point really. On the on the moderation points. For me, I think. So I think there's two big problems with social media. One of them is, is the censorship issue. The other one is how it's, it rewards hostility, it doesn't reward well thought out discussion, it doesn't reward kind of civility. So we're the way retorque is built. I'm trying to build a platform that it's a small difference in terms of the format, but it does encourage better debate. Not not the type that the let's say Twitter is probably the worst one. And but within that context, I'm I'm completely open and say look, I do moderate, some of we do do some moderation. And we don't allow really, really extremist content. And that's the for me, I'm saying that's the place in the market that I want to be. And if you want to have completely free speech, and what you want it to be on a platform that has no moderation, there's gab there and there. I have a lot of respect for the founder of gab, I think he's done an amazing job. And everyone hated him. And he's he's that up to that. So that's fine. And I think he's built a great product. For me, I'm trying to I think moderation is necessary to keep communities civil and to keep keep good conversation in a community. And I think if you think about it, just in terms of in real life, when you have a community, communities develop their own rules, their own vocabulary, their own sort of workings, and that's the kind of environment we want to build on retorque as well. But I would say that the company, myself, the people work in it, where we're absolutely committed to kind of anti woke values, and I absolutely believe in, in patriotic family values. But But if but if someone you know, someone has very libertarian or left the values, that's also okay. It's all about kind of building civil discussion on building good discussion, which is, I think something that's missing from social media now. So I think for me, it's just, it's, I want to be open about that. And and I hope that there's a market for that, that I can I can build a product for people that I can build a product like that for

Jason Davis:

when you say so like on the side it says extremism in any form is frowned upon, and if you know it will be taken down as you say, if it's too extreme, who decides what is too extreme? And how do you make that determination?

Peter Zaborszky:

Usually I actually first of all, it's it's amazing how little moderation I have I've had to do over the last year. I've been I was expecting much much worse. In terms of the the extremism I think for me to to be able to build a product for people who who would call themselves right or center right or properly center I think act like actual racism and by that I don't mean the way the woke people interpret racism I mean that When you're when you're judging people, not based on what they're doing, or their character that you're judging them from, from things that they can't change. I think that's not okay. And I think for a lot of people who are center center right center left, I think everyone's almost in agreement about that, that we should be just judging people on who they are not on any other immutable characteristics. I think that's that's right. So really, that's all I mean, by extremism is that we don't allow that sort of rhetoric, I guess. But even then, I think I'm still very liberal about the whole thing I don't I only moderate if it's really, really bad, because I still I, I really want to be on the side of freedom and be on the side of being able to discuss anything.

Jason Davis:

Yeah, well, and I, and I appreciate that. I just, I mean, you you, you realize that once retorque is big enough. And the big guys like AWS start paying attention. They're gonna be all over you. Right? Like, I mean, look, parents are called terrorists here in America, if they go to a school board meeting and question what they're teaching their children. This is, I mean, we're way, way out of control with this stuff over here.

Peter Zaborszky:

I think, yeah. On that point, I think, yeah, that's that's a good point. And I'm, look, I mean, even I'm surprised that lots and lots of apps haven't been banned for like COVID, misinformation or whatever, or things like that. We have apps on the App Store and on PlayStore, but the the usage is fairly minimal. And all the advertising I've done has been for the website for the for this reason, because I think you're right, eventually, we probably are going to get banned from the App Store's for whatever ridiculous reason that they think of. So, it so for me, it's all it's, we've got everyone, all our users email addresses, we push everyone to use the website, not the apps, we advertise the website, not the apps. So that's, it's you know, it's for all people, it's more convenient to use an app. So I think while there's an app, they can use that. But eventually, probably, if we do get banned, you can just use the website. And you know, I mentioned gab earlier. That's how they do it. It's just the website and websites are impossible to take down. Really. So. Yeah.

Jason Davis:

Especially for them because they built their own servers and stuff like that. But But yeah. Okay. So you say you can move away from AWS quickly if you needed to? And I know you I mean, everybody, what 95% of the whole world uses AWS. Right. Like it's the biggest thing. It's probably really easy. Like you said, the scale and cost is probably very reasonable. But I mean, knowing the risk, why not just move off of them now? I mean, just you know, why even deal with them?

Peter Zaborszky:

Yeah, I think I think we could have actually, because it's looking back, we probably shouldn't have used AWS at the beginning. I think my plan was always that as we, as we expand and grow retorque, I sort of wanted to move more and more. Because you get you can switch between AWS and your own server, even when you've still got still got both. So you can use both at the same time. And my plan was always that as we grow. Even before AWS does anything, I want to start using our own servers as well. And then we can use them in parallel with AWS. We've actually, with the scale that we're at, we haven't really had to expand too much in terms of server capacity. So I think it's, you know, once we start sort of seriously scaling, because now now we're at about 150,000, signups and sort of fairly minimal server and structures, server infrastructure is taking care of that. I think as we grow, I'll definitely start building out our own infrastructure in parallel. And then if anything happens to AWS, it's even easier to move over.

Jason Davis:

Yeah. Okay. So I get a pretty good sense of why you started the talk, what are the what are some of the biggest challenges you've had? You know, as you're launching this, I mean, what are some of the biggest challenges you're experiencing?

Peter Zaborszky:

I think the biggest one is just how how good the network effects on on these, these old Silicon Valley platforms are that and by that I mean that you know, all your friends are on there. So you're on there and the influencers have their followers on there so so they don't want to leave and and it's it's, I'm amazed that how many people complain on Twitter about Twitter censoring, but they're on Twitter, I mean, come on. You should be doing something about it. So for me that's been the most frustrating part is I thought I'd you know, I'd be I build a platform and people will will move and they'll use it because they they believe in In getting rid of Twitter and Facebook, but it's, there's such a big audience on on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. And many, many people don't want to give that up. So I think that's, that's the biggest challenge has been breaking the network effects of these platforms. And, and because there's so many people on there, you inevitably get a lot of good content on there. So in terms of engagement and things like that, so. So for me, I have to build like a really good core user base, who posts really, really good content to be actual to be able to compete with Twitter and Facebook and to get that content to actually draw people away from Twitter. And and that's a massive challenge. So I think I think that's the biggest thing is just, I thought it would be easier to get users and to get an audience and it turns out the these these Silicon Valley companies have done quite a good job in terms of that.

Jason Davis:

They have, but I think the tide is turning. Yeah, I, you know, you mentioned Gab, they're exploding. A lot of people are moving together. Although Geter, their terms of service are the same as Twitter, I don't, you know, if they're going to be shut down, or they're gonna take people down, they're already actually censoring people on there. I've been censored in some of these alternative sites as well. I never had a fake book. And I mean, I do have a shitter site. But it's I hardly ever use it. I only go on there to see what other people are saying. I don't I don't really post much, because I know they'll delete me. But But yeah, I'm, I'm all about the alternative. We have to create other options outside of big tech Silicon Valley, because like you just said, or would you explain they're basically in the pocket of the government. So we have to go outside of that. So really appreciate what you've done here. And you know, I've Yeah, and I've checked out the site, and I really like it. And I pretty excited to see you as you grow and scale. retox calm is the site piece of horsey, the CEO. We really appreciate you coming on and taking some time and you're like six hours ahead of me here, but we really appreciate your time. Thank you. Thanks. Thank you.

Intro:

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