The Internet in America is divided along partisan lines

New investments flooding partisan media platforms are beginning to restructure online business in America around the country’s deepening political divide.

why does it matter: For years, Internet theorists have warned of “splinternet,” the disintegration of the global Internet into areas governed by different rules and laws. Something like this is now beginning to happen within the United States, dividing the internet world into red and blue sectors.

News leadership: The Daily Wire, a conservative digital media company, plans to invest “at least $100 million” over the next three years in children’s entertainment as a direct response to Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Like Me” bill recently passed in Florida.

  • This effort shows how even the apolitical worlds of the media can gravitate into the partisan arena.
  • DailyWire has been at the forefront of companies making products that provide conservatives with alternatives to mainstream brands they feel do not support their view, including films and razors.

The Big Picture: Red and Blue America reacts to the current information environment in radically different ways.

  • Progressives focus on making sure that current media and online platforms attack disinformation.
  • Conservatives are increasingly feeling disenfranchised by the media from major news outlets to social platforms and are beginning to invest in alternatives.

what do you want to watch: Billionaires are throwing ever larger sums into each of these efforts.

  • Elon Musk On Monday he disclosed a 9.2% stake in Twitter, worth nearly $3 billion, a few weeks after polling his Twitter followers about Twitter’s support for free speech, and noted that the vote would have “consequences.”
  • on the right, Donald Trump’s new social network, which is struggling to launch, has reportedly raised $1 billion for its initial public offering with a blank check. Conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel supports a conservative Facebook competitor called Rumble and a conservative competitor to Tinder called The Right Stuff. Conservative billionaire Rebecca Mercer co-founded and funded the conservative Parler alternative on Twitter.
  • On the left, Billionaires Reed Hoffman, George Soros and others are backing a new public benefit company that aims to tackle disinformation by funding left-leaning local news websites. Other billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos, Mark Benioff, and Lauren Powell Jobs, have also purchased prestigious media properties.

be clever: Media companies and online platforms have thrived in the past by serving the widest possible audience regardless of political leaning.

  • As the online media business model shifts toward direct relationships with paying customers, companies place less value broadly for their own good and more on products that attract true believers.

Zoom out: Since the January 6 Capitol riots when most Internet companies scrapped former President Trump’s regime, conservatives have been aggressively building alternative communications infrastructure, including their own cloud storage and cryptocurrency companies.

Bottom line: As this trend continues, companies that have long positioned themselves as apolitical will face enormous pressure to choose one side.

  • For example, conservatives are now urging consumers to ditch DirecTV, the satellite TV provider, in response to its decision not to renew a distribution contract with OAN, a conservative television network.

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