The only thing rich people who spread disinformation seem to like more than not paying taxes and polluting the planet and perpetuating the patriarchy and reinforcing systemic racism, is funding projects to serve as conservative copy-cats of the respected institutions they attack.
PragerU pretends to be a university, Fox pretends to be news, Gab pretends to be Twitter, and the latest? Freespoke, which says it's "showing what Google won't," which means serving up subpar, low-quality conservative content.
Freespoke CEO Todd Ricketts spoke about his desire to inject propaganda into search results in a podcast with the Koch-funded Daily Signal, though of course Ricketts, Tax-dodging finance chair of the RNC, couched it in terms of just giving people information in an unbiased manner. Ricketts, for those who don't know, explains early on that he owes his wealth and success to the "deregulation of brokerage commissions" that allowed his father to amass billions of dollars. You know, The American Dream.
In between the lavishing of praise of Ricketts for his "great success" of co-owning the Chicago Cubs and for "currently serving as a member of the board of directors for Charles Schwab and previously [as] a member of the board at TD Ameritrade, a company that your father founded, as you said, in 1975…", host Rob Bluey does manage to ask a question or two of the man who he says has "obviously seen success in the business world" that, we'll remind you, was because he saw his dad run TD Ameritrade.
On COVID and climate misinformation, Bluey says "Big Tech platforms are promising" to combat it (though they're not, really) but "why is it important to provide people with the facts and let them think for themselves?" (What a hardball question!)
Ricketts says that "It goes back to that old saying: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter." Oh, cool, so Ricketts sees himself as an information terrorist!
"When you get into this world of what you consider misinformation," he continued, "it’s a little scary to think that there’s some 25-year-old kid in Silicon Valley that gets to decide that."
Except obviously it's not some 25 year old kid, it's a global consensus of scientists! But apparently he thinks being scientifically accurate is akin to "thought police," and often says "I'm not a denier, but I like to have an honest conversation."
Just like every sentence that ever began with "I'm not racist, but…" this one debunks itself.
So we'll just move on to the website itself, which is explicit in marking outlets as "left" (with a donkey" center, or rightwing, and for example takes stands on important issues like workers calling out in protest of Dave Chappelle's hatespeech-as-comedy by making it a "freespoke story" because "Freespoke doesn't cancel people, including comedians."
Like how RealClear is designed to launder conservative propaganda into news streams, FreeSpoke includes information and disinformation side by side, debasing the former while elevating the latter.
Which means that if you're looking for a search engine specifically for disinformation, to see what liars are saying about wind power or ESG or whatever, you can just use google with a long string of " OR site: " queries, or a bespoke top 10 climate disinfo outlet searcher we just made.
All that said, we will end this by pointing out that there are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical of Google's monopolistic control of search and advertising! But that they're not making life easier for conservative propagandists spreading disinformation is not one of them.