A new lefty-led social media network is on the market, branding itself with a grand promise of something never attained by even the most well-funded and fully staffed social media platforms: to be a hate-free forum.
“We’re an innovative Twitter/Facebook alternative that’s free of hate, fake news & bots,” reads the Twitter bio for Tribel. Tribel’s Facebook page dubbed the new platform as a “social network that nurtures intelligence and kindness instead of hatred.”
And yet, roughly a year since its launch, unsurprisingly, the Tribel platform hasn’t yet made that utopian vision a reality.
“Lauren Boebert is an AJ char broiled boogedy~boogedy batshit crazy C--T. and and IDIOT,” one post from December reads.
“So what do we [do] about lindsay Gramme?,” wrote one user in August about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “The scum sucking piece of hillbilly shit is calling for riots... McConnell too. Investigate his chinese asset wife for colluding with china and trading state secrets. Skanky fucking bitch needs to rot in a cell too, for life.” Another user commented, “These mother fuckers are terrorists and should be shot.”
“WHY MAKE ANY KIND OF DEAL WITH THIS DOUCHE BAG?...” a September post reads, referring to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). “...ITS TIME TO FUCK HIM UP. FIRST RUN HIM OUT OF THE DEM PARTY ALONG WITH THAT C--T SENIMA,” the poster added, an apparent reference to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
“FUCK THIS TWAT!!!,” one user wrote in September, referring to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) in a post about the congresswoman’s recent divorce filing.
“C--t!!!!!” a July post captioned next to a photo of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, that called out “weirdo christian bitches” in white overlay text.
Tribel operates in some ways like a Twitter-Facebook hybrid. Users have followers and followings, can post on each other’s pages, and can like, share, and comment on other’s posts. The platform’s differentiating factor, aside from calling itself the “the kinder, smarter social network,” is that posts within categories like “activism” and “social justice” are ranked by the number of likes they receive. Users who create popular posts earn “stars,” and can earn the coveted title of “star contributor.”
The platform’s founder, Omar Rivero, who is also co-founder of the left-wing organization Occupy Democrats, says the platform has over 400,000 users.
Ranking posts by likes does push the most agreeable content to the top of users’ feeds, like generic content dunking on Republicans and motivational spiels. But hoards of posts with derogatory language dwell beneath users’ neatly curated timelines.
While the political right has launched multiple social media platforms in recent years, like former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social, the soon-to-be Kanye West-owned Parler, or Gab, the left hasn’t embarked on many similar ventures. Elon Musk is also in talks to buy Twitter, insisting that he’d reinstate Trump to the app and loosen current restrictions on speech.
Major social networks like Twitter and Facebook are also filled with crude and derogatory language, like the posts on Tribel. Over the years, both platforms and other major social media sites have upped their reporting mechanisms and content moderation to try to push back against criticism for festering harassment and hate on their platforms.
The Daily Beast asked Rivero about Tribel’s content moderation policies, given its “hate-free” brand—and noted finding posts calling individuals, especially including Republicans politicians, pussy, c--t, bitch and more. He responded, “Insulting politicians or public figures is not currently a violation of our terms of service.”
Rivero noted that users who violate Tribel’s terms of service are banned for life from the platform, adding, “Once we raise more money and are able to afford a larger staff, we will have the ability to focus even more resources and attention on enforcing our Terms of Service.”
In a follow-up, The Daily Beast asked Rivero how Tribel defines hateful content, given its description of being a “free of hate” platform, and no definition of hateful content being listed in its terms of service. He responded, “Bullying, bigotry, harassment, homophobia, racism, ageism, making fun of people with disabilities, etc.”
The Daily Beast used an example of a real post from September stating “Kari Lake is a stupid fucking c--t” to clarify whether that language would qualify as non-permissible content on a hate-free site. In his response, Rivero said that sort of posting is allowed.
“At the moment, insulting politicians or public figures, even with harsh language, is not a violation of our terms of service,” Rivero said. “That may change down the road. Our current focus is on protecting our users.”
Rivero did say posts with “an explicit threat of violence,” like this one from July insisting right-wing attorney John Eastman “should be shot,” would violate the terms of service.
The same user that insisted John Eastman should be shot also wrote in an August post, “Donald Trump is a piece of shit and should be shot along with every member of his family to ensure the genetic disease he carries can never be passed into another human host.” In the comments section, another user wrote, “WELL SAID…!!! I wish I could say that on FAKEBOOK…”
Currently, Rivero says Tribel has five staffers, including himself, and 15 members on its development team. The platform is not currently monetized—but plans to launch a crowdsourced fundraising campaign on We Funder, and will “eventually place non-invasive ads” on the platform. Rivero says the platform is currently funded by private angel investors.
Rivero previously co-founded Occupy Democrats, an organization that has a seemingly inescapable grip on the #Resistance movement, boasting more than 498,000 followers on Twitter and 10 million followers on Facebook. The organization has been criticized repeatedly for spreading fake news.
Grant Stern, executive editor of Occupy Democrats, said since early 2020 the site has imposed rigorous editorial standards and instituted a correction policy to guard against the spread of misinformation.
But even beyond Occupy Democrats, this isn’t Rivero’s first social-media rodeo.
Rivero first launched Liker, a social media platform with many of the same promises and features of Tribel. Liker shut down in 2021 due to issues with outdated tech that Rivero said would be difficult to scale. He launched Tribel’s beta version in October 2021, tweeting that former Liker users could use their Liker log-ins to get onto Tribel.
But Rivero insists Liker and Tribel, which he says is still in its beta rendition, are two different platforms, “because Liker was restarted from scratch with a brand new design and much newer and more secure technology.”
Yet even with the revamped tech, Tribel users still still seem to have some grievances with the platform. One user wrote on Rivero’s page that the platform’s reporting feature wasn’t working, claiming that she and others were trying to get a scammer removed from the site.
“[T]he report feature works, but I just don’t have the staff right now to check all of the reports,” Rivero wrote back to the user. “The network is growing quickly, and I am basically a one-man show. After we do our round of crowdfunding, I will have the resources to hire someone and keep an eye on the reports and also have someone working on Tribel support.”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Rivero said it’d be “impossible” to police all of Tribel, adding that he believes it’s “a big step up from our competitors, especially when it comes to ensuring that only truthful, kind, and hate-free content has the ability to go viral and trend on Tribel.”
“We take our responsibility to guide social media in a better direction very seriously,” he added. “Social media is the new battlefield of ideas, so it’s vital that [is] stewarded in a responsible manner.”