Alternative streaming platform DLive has caught the attention of media and political services with a recent Time article highlighting concern over the ability for political extremists to profit from ‘conspiracy theories’.
2020 is, after all, a key US election year, and looking through an apolitical lens, the question must be asked: Is DLive really hosting any more ‘fake news’ or ‘conspiracy content’ than other platforms which host both mainstream and alternative channels?
DLive, a Chinese-owned website established in 2017, has become a hotbed of online creators who have been deplatformed from rivals such as YouTube and Twitch. Given China’s homeland policy of a strict censorship State, it’s ironic that DLive has become a platform of free speech.
Controversial content creators such as Nicholas Fuentes, whose America First program has been accused of anti-Semitic slurs is one example cited in the article of far-right identities profiting off extreme views via viewer donations.
DLive uses its own quasi-cryptocurrency in order to enable creators cash out from reader contributions. Time’s article echoes Data & Society’s 2018 report which also attacked fan-funded donations to far-right creators.
YouTube and Twitch also allow viewers the ability to donate money to streamers, often accompanied by messages of support or stickers and other rewards to catch the attention if the streamer.
In June DLive copped some kickback from including an “All Lives Matter” statement in its Twitter bio, which shows its political bias towards the conservative, right-wing of the political sphere, which from a purely marketing mindset is not the worst approach given its appeal to host content more progressive platforms like Twitch are unwilling to host.
But back to the key issue at hand, does Time’s article show enough evidence of DLive being a platform hosting and enabling more conspiracy content than any of its rivals? The answer, of course, is likely not.
Daniel is a Melbourne-based multimedia journalist with international experience as an editor, producer, designer and artist at some of Australasia’s biggest newsrooms. A longtime commentator and reporter on internet culture, he now journals his observations on digital life and counterculture for Boldly.