An alternative free-expression site on Facebook Locals move to Miami
The founders of a website known to host conservative and libertarian figures announced Monday it had moved its headquarters to Miami.
The website, Locals.com, was co-created by online personality Dave Rubin. Rubin and his co-founder Assaf Lev announced the move with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in a “cafécito chat” posted on Suarez’s Twitter and YouTube pages.
The plan is to have a dozen employees in Miami within the next 12 months or so.
Miami “is what technology is – technology is supposed to make a difference,” Rubin said at the conference. “When you’ve got a city that’s making a difference, and you’ve got a great mayor and a great governor, and it’s like – even just five days here, I feel like, wow, I’m in a place that matches my values that has real meaning. You can’t put a price on it.
Rubin was temporarily suspended last week from Twitter after writing, “They want a federal vaccine mandate for vaccines that clearly aren’t working as promised just weeks ago. He then posted a message purportedly from Twitter saying the suspension was a mistake.
In a May profile on the Tablet.com website, Rubin said, “The crowd came looking for me a million times and never won.”
“We’re going to be the place that unites everyone,” Suarez said at the conference. “We’re going to be the place where everyone feels comfortable – where the diversification is such that you can be here, have your family and feel welcome – feel safe.”
In a later statement, Suatez said:
“The recent announcement by Locals.com that they have chosen Miami as the location for their USHQ is exciting news for our #MiamiTech movement. Locals.com has stated that it is committed to investing in both hiring of local talent and in supporting local creators in Miami. A key part of Miami’s pursuit to become the ‘capital of capital’ includes cultural capital – and so we welcome platforms for the free expression of voices, ideas and unique perspectives of our Miami.
In an interview with The Spectator magazine in 2019, Rubin said, “We have three companies – Google, Twitter and Facebook – that control most of our information. We had everything for free for 20 years, except they took our souls. We have no idea how we are being handled; by manipulation of algorithms, by de-platform, by shadowbanning.
The locals, he said, would be the opposite.
“There will be communities for creators where they can make monthly subscriptions,” said Rubin. “They will own the content and set their own rules within the communities they build. The locals will not sell your data. There will be video and audio there; the flows will not be manipulated by algorithms.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Lev said locals don’t have a core political ideology other than free speech.
“Locals are a platform for every creator,” he said, adding that some of the “libertarian free thinkers” have had more success on the site. “We see all types of creators wanting to take back control in response to the cancellation of culture and censorship on Facebook and YouTube.”
Along with Rubin and Lev, Locals has a third co-founder, Andrew Conru, founder of FriendFinder Networks, based in Delray Beach. FriendFinder Networks is known for hosting online dating and adult entertainment sites.
In an email, Conru confirmed his involvement.
“I am one of the three founders of the company, I funded the fundraising and I personally wrote the original software for the company,” Conru said. “Although I am no longer a day to day, I remain an advisor and a colleague defender of freedom of expression and truth in the media. Assaf and Dave do a fantastic job providing an independent platform for all views to be shared, regardless of their political affiliation. “
“I support the move of their headquarters to a state that seems more in line with their values,” added Conru.
A Securities and Exchange Commission file said locals had raised nearly $ 4 million.