After a public break with Facebook and Twitter, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell is getting close to the launch of a new conservative-focused social network, giving more detail on the project in a video posted online this week. Called simply “Frank,” the social network plans to open its doors to a limited set of users on April 16th.
Developed in the months since the 2020 election, Lindell has described the project as a combination of “print, radio, and TV,” offering both text posts and live stream capability. Perhaps the strangest promise is that conservative personalities will have significantly more followers on the fledgling network.
“People are going to have more followers,” Lindell said in a March interview with Steve Bannon, “10 times more followers.”
In the more recent video, Lindell explained that the new network would still moderate against profanity and threats of violence — setting it apart from previous right-wing platforms like Parler and Gab, which prided themselves on their refusal to censor offensive speech.
“You don’t get to use the four swear words: the c-word, the n-word, the f-word, or God’s name in vain,” Lindell says in the video. Instituting that policy will present a significant challenge to conventional automated moderation programs, which are adept at identifying specific strings of text but have no system to distinguish between devout and profane invocations of God.
To avoid deplatforming efforts from app stores, the Frank social network is formatted as a web app and accessed by navigating to the site from a mobile browser. This means it doesn’t have to comply with Apple and Google store guidelines, but it also severely limits the app’s functionality. The Frank site gives detailed instructions for how users can set up the Frank web app as a direct icon link (similar to an installed app) on mobile devices under both Android and iOS.
Lindell first announced the project on Bannon’s podcast in March, out of frustration with the mass deplatforming of claims that the 2020 election had been somehow stolen from Donald Trump. The new platform would avoid restrictions put in place by app stores, instead promoting “voices of free speech,” Lindell said.
Despite extensive and well-funded investigations, advocates have produced no credible evidence of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election. Lindell is currently facing a $1.3 billion defamation case from Dominion Voting Systems as a result of his claims about the election.