Reddit alternative Voat shut down on Christmas Day, citing a lack of operational funding, and casting doubt on the abilities of other similar almost-anything-goes, “free speech” platforms to stay online in the long run.
“I just can’t keep it up,” Voat cofounder Justin Chastain said in the shutdown announcement. Investment dried up in March 2020, he explained. “I personally decided to keep Voat up until after the U.S. election of 2020. I’ve been paying the costs out of pocket but now I’m out of money.”
Voat first launched in 2014 as a smaller Reddit alternative dedicated to “free speech,” including explicit hate speech, extreme right-wing content, racism, and other content limited or prohibited on other sites. It gained traction in 2015, when Reddit finally banned several explicitly racist subreddits from its platform in a bid to limit harassment, and some discontented Reddit users decided to migrate over.