Voat, the social platform that aimed to be a ‘free-speech’ alternative to Reddit, will shut down later this week. The short notice was provided in a post by co-founder Justin Chastain, explaining that the loss of an investor earlier this year sealed the site’s fate. The decision comes a few years after Reddit cracked down on certain toxic communities, prompting many of them to migrate to Voat.
If you missed the drama the first time around, this is the short version: Voat was founded in 2014, nearly a year before Reddit cracked down on a number of toxic communities. Many users complained about Reddit’s measures, accusing it of censorship and limiting free speech.
The loss of the Reddit communities combined with general complaints resulted in many groups switching from Reddit to Voat, which promoted itself as a free speech platform. This resulted, as you’d expect, in many toxic communities popping up on the latter site, something that quickly got it hot water with its hosting service at the time.
The site experienced a few more mass migrations from Reddit over the following years, but ultimately never caught on with the general public. Chastain eventually took over as CEO, replacing site founder Atif Colo. All of that leads us up to the shutdown announcement from Chastain who posts under the handle ‘PuttItOut’ on Voat.
In the post, Chastain says that he ‘simply just can’t keep’ the service up and running. ‘You see, this wasn’t supposed to happen, at least not now,’ he goes on to explain, stating that an investor defaulted on their contract back in March, costing Voat ‘all of it’s funding [sic].’ Chastain sums up his post stating that Voat will go dark on Christmas Day at noon PST, the timing of which was chosen to make a religious point.