Search engine

Chicago Cubs co-owner takes on Google with new ‘FRESPOKE’ search engine in fight for free speech

Many conservative and Christian groups have in recent years vocally voiced their concerns and doubts about big tech, with allegations and examples of viewpoint discrimination raging across search engines and media properties. social.

Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts is on a mission to empower free speech, and he’s tackling those concerns by creating a new search engine to challenge Google’s dominance and reinvigorate competition in the tech space.

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The momentum of change

Ricketts recently announced the creation of FREESPOKE, a search engine devoted to the free flow of information – without the presence of ideological lenses or viewpoint constraints.

“For years, I felt like the results I was getting from Google and other search engines were a bit skewed, like a left-wing bias,” he said. “And I wasn’t getting the results I expected.”

Ricketts’ concern about the removal of information led him to create a tool that “doesn’t try to hide anything” as it provides search results to its users.

“Our country was built on free speech…this idea, ‘I don’t have to agree with what you say, but I’ll die defending your right to say it,'” he said. he declares. “Well, big tech decided you weren’t allowed to say that anymore.”

Watch Ricketts reveal its solution to big tech bias:

Delve deeper into the problem

While some critics might dismiss claims of anti-conservative bias or accuse such claims against big tech of being exaggerated, Ricketts said companies like Google do little to hide their crackdown on topics like the climate change.

His cultural argument at the heart of FREESPOKE — and American ideals more generally — is that all opinions deserve to be heard. Rather than hiding opponents’ perspectives, he encouraged sunlight.

“If someone questions your idea, you should pursue it and try to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong,” he said.

Ricketts also detailed other recent examples of constraints that make a tool like FREESPOKE extremely valuable, including big tech’s well-documented crackdown on COVID-related content.

“During COVID, doctors who questioned our COVID protocols … had their videos removed from YouTube,” he said. “Anyone who challenges the status quo is nullified, and that’s not what America is about; we are for freedom of expression.

Ricketts also reacted to some of Big Tech’s alleged restrictions on pro-life groups. Live Action, a group of pro-life activists, was reportedly banned this week from advertising on TikTok, a video-sharing platform. Meanwhile, Life Issues Institute, a pro-life education group, accused Google of “blatant censorship” of its abortion-themed videos.

The alleged moves follow pro-choice politicians like New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and others appealing to Google to urge the tech giant to crack down on crisis pregnancy centers popping up in the Google Map searches related to abortion.

“It’s a bit scary…. and it’s dangerous when you find yourself in a situation where … a Democratic administration and politicians and the media and big tech are trying to suppress the free flow of ideas,” Ricketts said. “This is not the United States of America; it’s more like what you would expect in Russia or China.

Ricketts, who also served as the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman for nearly four years, pointed to other acts of repression he’s seen during his tenure at the RNC, particularly on the email front.

“One of the things we encountered in 2020 was that all of our emails that we sent to Gmail accounts, 80% of them ended up in spam,” he said. “Only 10% of Democratic emails were spammed on Gmail accounts.”

Inside the Ricketts solution

Of course, allegations of anti-conservative and anti-Christian bias are nothing new.

Followers of both groups have long argued — armed with data and a seemingly endless stream of examples — that the mainstream media, Hollywood and academia have abused them.

Big tech is the latest sphere to be accused of bias and injustice.

But rather than advocating for increased government regulation of these companies – which Ricketts opposes – the businessman decided that FREESPOKE would be a viable method to increase competitionwhich he sees as the real solution to the problem.

“I’m…I’m putting my money where I’m talking and building a search engine and saying, ‘I think there’s a demand for it there,'” he said. “I have a lot of faith and optimism in the American people, and I think when the information is presented to them squarely and clearly, they make good decisions.”

And that’s what FREESPOKE is, putting all information in front of users rather than analyzing and sanitizing ideological elements and trying to guide or control a narrative.

A unique facet of the FREESPOKE user experience

One of FREESPOKE’s most unique features is a labeling system that demarcates stories as “right”, “left” or “center”. Some stories even carry a “pro-China” tag, among others the company is testing.

Each designation helps readers better see the lens through which the stories are told. Ricketts said these beacons aren’t a collective “panacea” that will solve all information problems, but will at least help readers understand what they’re consuming.

“When looking for information, [it helps you] know… who wrote this, where they are from, and their perspective, and what they may have written before,” Ricketts said. “It’s just about helping people sort through all the available information, and, again, it’s about drawing your own conclusions, finding the information, [and] educate you. »

Ricketts hopes to see his business grow exponentially over the next few years.

“I would love to see us…listed as one of the search engines that everyone has on their iPhone,” he said.

Ultimately, FREESPOKE offers a solution for those who are sounding the alarm about the dominance of big tech in the information space. Beyond that, Ricketts’ effort poses a compelling question—and a warning—about our willingness to tolerate divergent perspectives.

“Even if you disagree with someone, you shouldn’t want to delete their ideas because, if you’re willing to delete someone else’s ideas, I can guarantee that one day , someone will want to delete yours,” Ricketts said. .

Learn more about FREESPOKES here.

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