Defenders of the giant tech companies’ rules that silence and banish people have urged disgruntled users to leave and build their own platforms.
Creado is working to do just that.
Creado is a burgeoning tech company that its president Jason Lehr described as “if Netflix, YouTube, and Twitter had a baby, with some elements of Spotify.” The company is starting with a cloud computing service, to be followed by a social and streaming platform that Mr. Lehr said he hopes will roll out in late 2021 or early 2022.
Working with actor Nick Searcy, a vocal political conservative, and 10 other partners, Mr. Lehr said that Creado intends to be an “America first platform” that defends free speech and relies upon American workers.
“There’s nothing really available, so we have to build it, We feel that we’re targeting the 100 million-plus [Americans] that [have] been disenfranchised by Hollywood, the media and Big Tech,” Mr. Lehr said.
Disaffected tech entrepreneurs are taking different approaches to competing with the biggest social media companies, unhappy with the way they have silenced users such as former President Trump, and pulled the plug on upstart competitors such as the conservative-oriented Parler.
Amazon Web Services’ decision to take Parler offline in January after the riot at the U.S. Capitol was instructive for Creado’s planning. Mr. Lehr said the company intends to control all aspects of its business “from the keyboard to the dirt” so it does not have to rely on cloud computing services controlled by large companies like Amazon and Google.
Other up-and-coming challengers have similarly focused on building their own cloud services. Chris Pavlovski, CEO of video platform Rumble that is looking to dethrone Google’s YouTube, told The Washington Times in May that a large investment from a group including billionaire Peter Thiel would enable the company to build its own cloud infrastructure and cloud services.
Another competitor of Creado’s will be Gettr, a new social media platform run by former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller which styles itself as a stalwart opponent of “cancel culture.” Mr. Miller said earlier this month that his platform was “fast approaching 2 million registered users” since its formal launch on July 4.
“Everybody coming to market right now keeps saying they have the next best thing that will protect speech, and this is so polarizing right now,” Mr. Lehr said. “You’ve got everybody claiming they could do it but they’re reliant on other technology to do so. We’re about freedom, we’re about building and facilitating new opportunities.”
While Mr. Lehr emphasized the cyber expertise of the workers he said are building his company’s technology, he said the concept for Creado was developed in 2017 by Mr. Lehr, Mr. Searcy and others looking for ways to tell stories about America that they felt Hollywood ignored.
Conservatives have increasingly taken an interest in producing their own films and shows that have not found homes elsewhere. Near the start of 2021, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro announced that the media outlet he co-created, Daily Wire, would be bringing out films and producing television shows.
Daily Wire first helped distribute the feature-length film “Run Hide Fight,” an action film involving school shooters, and later announced plans for actress Gina Carano to produce and star in a film for Daily Wire after she was ousted from the show “The Mandalorian” that streams on Disney+ — in part for tweets that questioned the need for COVID-19 masks and argued that voter fraud tainted the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr. Lehr said Creado is targeting a similar audience to the Daily Wire and wants to be more mainstream and apolitical than some other media companies, some of whom have gotten pigeonholed as appealing solely to conservatives.
“We’re Christian conservatives, but I don’t think you can ever build something based on politics, right? Because, what happens four years down the line when Trump and this whole movement starts to really die down? You’re still going to have a company,” said Mr. Lehr.
“So we’re looking five, ten years down the line and more focusing on facilitating and giving others the opportunity to make money and get their content out there, while developing our own stories and concepts that we have that we know are going to start to cut into the culture.”