I’ve been a Christian apologist since 2013, and I’ve been a young earth creationist since 2014. During this time, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern among Christian ministries in general.
Most ministries tend to have their own website on the internet. When these ministries get involved in the social media world, they tend to invest in the tech giants: They’ll create Facebook pages and/or groups; they’ll create accounts on Twitter. Sometimes they’ll create accounts on Instagram. If they’re a ministry that makes videos as the main staple of their ministry, they’ll create a YouTube channel to upload videos to. If they want to have a fan-funding component to their ministry, they’ll most likely create a Patreon account.
Since most people congregate on these platforms, Christian ministries see investing in the social media tech giants as the best way to grow their followings and reach the unbelieving world.
Unfortunately for them, times are changing.
Everyone who has been following tech news for the past 16 months knows all about how the mainstream tech giants (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc) have been slowly demonetizing and banning conservative content creators and independent media analysts from their platforms. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, the tech giants turned up the censorship dial and started purging conservatives and politically-minded Christians from their platforms in large droves.
But before the whole post-Parkland social media purge began, we had plenty of warning signs of the censorship to come. In August of last year, YouTube announced that they lumped videos containing controversial religious content that doesn’t violate YouTube rules into the same category as extremist videos, saying that both kinds of videos would be put into a special limbo so that almost nobody can see them. In December of last year, YouTube announced that they were going to hire 10,000 new employees to police the offensive content they previously referred to back in August.
These censorship games aside, YouTube for a long time now has rigged their algorithms and their notification systems so that hardly anyone who follows a Christian channel of significant size will be notified of any new uploads. For example, Todd Friel and his Wretched YouTube channel has over 130,000 subscribers, and yet the large majority of his uploads for the past many months fail to reach 10,000 views. Are we really supposed to believe that 92 percent or more of Todd Friel’s subscribers are not interested in watching any of his videos?
Mario Brisson, known on YouTube by his user name “The Vigilant Christian”, is one of the biggest Christians on YouTube with over 500,000 subscribers, and yet if you look at the large majority of the videos that he has uploaded in the past year, they have also failed to reach 10,000 views, just like Todd Friel’s Wretched channel. Does anyone really believe that 98 percent of Mario’s subscriber base is not interest in watching any of his videos in the past year?
Answers In Genesis, the biggest young earth creationism ministry in the United States, has the biggest YouTube channel of the official young earth creationist ministries with over 53,000 subscribers, and yet their videos consistently get less than 3,000 views. You’re telling me that 94 percent of AIG’s subscriber base has no interest in watching any of their videos?
I see the algorithms affecting my own YouTube channel, TTOR. I currently have 440 subscribers at the time of this writing, and a lot of my videos have 100 or more views. Unfortunately, the reason why my view counts are so good relative to my channel size is that I have to self-promote my videos by sharing them in well over a dozen different Facebook groups. When I don’t use Facebook to promote my videos, my videos don’t get more than 30-50 views, if they’re lucky. Am I really supposed to believe that 89 to 93 percent of my own subscriber base is not interested in seeing any of my content? The algorithims and notification system of YouTube is rigged against Christian apologists and content creators like myself.
YouTube is hardly the only one censoring conservatives and Christians; last year when I tried to start a TTOR Twitter account, the account ended up getting shadow banned after it had gained 7 followers two months in (It took me four months to figure out that I had been shadow-banned). My friend and ministry partner John Chambers got banned from Facebook twice for saying the truth about what Islam’s sources teach; this of course is the same Facebook platform that bans people for directly quoting the Bible, and yet allows pedophile groups set to private to run around doing whatever they want for years until the BBC busts them on it. The Facebook algorithms, much like YouTube’s are set to censor Christians like myself; the TTOR facebook page that I used to maintain has over 360 followers, and yet if I share a link to one of my videos, no more than 10-15 people max will see it in their news feed.
If the big tech giants like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter want to turn their platforms into liberal echo chambers, we need to let them go right ahead and do so. The reason I can say that with a straight face is that in recent years, many alternative social media platforms have risen up, and are absorbing the people that are getting purged from the mainstream social media platforms.
There is Gab, which is an alternative to Twitter that champions free speech. I’ve only been using the site for 4 months, and I already have 155 followers on there, so you know it’s much easier to gain followers on Gab than it is on Twitter.
Minds.com, which is an alternative to Facebook that champions free speech, has a points system that allows you to boost your posts and channel without spending your hard-earned cash.
There are also Christian alternatives to Facebook such as Lord’s Book and SocialCross. These sites look and function like Facebook, but they are run by Christians who have no interest in censoring Christians, and only Christians are allowed to join the platforms, so you can get great fellowship with other believers on those platforms.
Since my TTOR ministry is primarily a video ministry at this point, I have great interest in the YouTube alternatives.
- There is BitChute, which is a peer-to-peer, decentralized video sharing platform that a number of large content creators such as Info Wars, Mark Dice, and Paul Joseph Watson have been putting their videos on for a while now.
- There’s also DTube, which is another peer-to-peer, decentralized video sharing platform that is an alternative to YouTube; what makes DTube unique is that it’s powered by STEEM, which in turn monetizes your channel, and allows you to make money when people watch, like, share, and comment on your videos.
- There is also PewTube, which is a fairly new platform that allows you to upload videos, audio files, and images.
- Another alternative I came across recently is TheVlogs, which is a YouTube clone that champions free speech; the folks who manage TheVlogs do a great job at promoting the content creators who upload videos to their site, so they’re worth your consideration.
While the unbelieving world is uncomfortable with the mainstream social media platforms censoring anything conservative under the sun and giving all their personal information to whoever wants it, Christians in my circles make excuses for why the body of Christ needs to stay on the mainstream social media platforms and not invest in alt tech now. Some have told me that the lost world is on the mainstream social media platforms and we, therefore, need to stay on the mainstream platforms.
I don’t know about them, but when I go to Gab, Minds, BitChute, DTube, and the other alt-tech platforms I mentioned, I don’t see a lot of Christians running around on these platforms. I see a lot of lost, broken people who need Jesus as much as we do.
All my observations tell me that the lost world is on the alt-tech platforms. The difference between the mainstream social media platforms and the alt-tech platforms is that the lost people on the alt-tech platforms will generally allow Christians to have a voice, which gives us the opportunity to preach the gospel, and to teach creationism and apologetics.
On the flip side, the lost people controlling the mainstream platforms are the kind of people who do not want Christians to have a voice, and so as they continue to purge their platforms of anyone who disagrees with them, eventually Christians will get booted off the mainstream platforms entirely for not going with whatever narrative those particular lost people want you to accept. If Christians are so concerned with reaching the lost world, they need to start migrating over to the alt-tech platforms and engaging with the lost world there.
Along this same vein, Christians have told me that I’m isolating myself from the lost world and putting myself into a Christian/conservative echo chamber. It is true that I believe the most important platforms for Christians to invest in are platforms ran by and for Christians such as Lord’sBook and SocialCross; the reason I think this is because we need a safe place to have online fellowship, and we need a place where we can help ministries and churches with whatever they need help with. However, if I just wanted my own Christian/conservative echo chamber, then why on Earth do I invest heavily on BitChute, Gab, and Minds, where there are not a lot of Christians to connect with? Seems like the last thing I would want to do if I wanted an echo chamber.
Unfortunately, Christians, in general, will not migrate to these new platforms on their own; they tend to go to wherever their favorite ministries are, which are on the mainstream social media platforms. Therefore, in order for Christians to start migrating to and investing in alt-tech platforms, the Christian ministries that they follow need to take the initiative and start investing in alt-tech platforms.
Since I am a young earth creationist, ministries in my circles like the Northwest Creation Network, The Apologetics Forum of Snohomish County, and the Creation Training Initiative need to start uploading their videos to BitChute and DTube, and they need to start promoting their videos with platforms like Minds and Gab. Ministries like Acts17Apologetics and Calling Muslims have started to use Alt-Tech, but we need more ministries to step up to the plate so that Christians will start investing in Alt-Tech.
It is my hope and prayer that Christians will come to realize that they don’t need to stay addicted to the mainstream social media platforms, who are continually showing us that they want to take away the Christian voice; I pray that Christians wake up and figure out that there’s a whole world of alt-tech that’s just waiting for them to use to fulfill the great commission that Jesus called them to.
Justin Derby can be found under the handle TTOR at the following platforms:
Or at his blog at: truththeobjectivereality.blogspot.com