Religious identity, political affiliation and patriotic references are common descriptions and values in the user descriptions of the most prominent accounts on alternate social media sites, Pew Research Center analysis found.
Pew analyzed data from the following alternative social media sites – BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble, Telegram and Truth Social – and surveyed users to understand how familiar these platforms are and how they are being used.
A small number (6%) of U.S. adults regularly obtain news and information from seven alternative social media platforms, but most (65%) who interact on these sites say they “have found a community that share their views,” the report said.
Of the 1,400 accounts analyzed (200 of the most-followed accounts on each platform), three references or appeals frequently appear: right-leaning / Trump-supporting (26% of all accounts), patriotism / pro-America (21%) and religious identity (21%).
Other values or phrases that appear on these more prominent accounts are freedom / liberty (7%), QAnon support / affiliation (6%), Second Amendment / pro-gun (6%) and free speech (4%).
Pew explained that when the report speaks about value / identity appeals related to accounts on these platforms, it is referring to “language or imagery in an account’s bio, banner image, or other parts of the profile page that are about beliefs in specific values or represent specific identities.”
Religious identity references were most frequent on Truth Social (44%), followed by Gab (37%), Gettr (26%), Parler (19%), BitChute (13%), Telegram (7%) and Rumble (2%).
Despite the high percentage of prominent accounts across all seven platforms that reference or emphasize users’ religious identity, only 1% of prominent accounts analyzed are formally affiliated with a religious organization.
Of the 1,400 more prominent accounts currently on these platforms, 15% are held by people who have been banned or demonetized on more mainstream or established social media platforms.
After analyzing more than 585,000 posts, Pew found that these accounts commonly express COVID-19 vaccine wariness and negative views of LGBTQ+ persons, and they regularly post links to “The Gateway Pundit, a digital outlet that has been criticized for publishing false information.”
While only 2% of all links posted by the most prominent users on these platforms are to religion sites, on the platform Gettr, ChristianPost.com was the most-frequently linked site during the period in which Pew analyzed post data.
Launched in March 2004 and based in Washington, D.C., ChristianPost.com is led by CEO Christopher Chou, former CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, and its executive editor is Richard D. Land, former head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
On Telegram, “teach Bible” was among the top 15 phrases found in Pew’s analysis of posts referencing LGBTQ+ issues, while on Gab, users can purchase “T-shirts, hats and accessories with various slogans, such as ‘Faith, Family, Freedom.’”
Of the users who use these platforms to obtain news, a majority (66%) of all users affiliate with the Republican Party or lean Republican in their political views, compared to the established platforms on which a majority (55%) of news consumers are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party in their political affiliation.
Men (52%) were more likely than women (46%), those with only a high school diploma (47%) were more likely than those with some college (31%) or who graduated college (22%), and whites (52%) were more likely than Hispanics (27%), Blacks (10%) or Asians (5%) to obtain news on one of these seven platforms.
“While support for free speech is a primary value the alternative social media sites use to describe themselves, just 4% of the most prominent accounts across the sites mention this in their profiles,” Pew stated. “Additionally, about one-in-five accounts (22%) express a variety of other values, such as opposition to Big Tech, opposition to mainstream media, and ethnic identity.”
The full report is available here. The topline results are available here.