FreeSpeechTube (aka FST) is a free-speech tolerant, independent video hosting platform and archive, founded in early 2019 by Norbert de Jonge. It was closed in mid-February, 2023, following an attack, and then replaced with the present PeerTube site.
FST and online celebrities
FST is particularly well known for supporting MAPs in their quest for a safer, censorship-free online space. Early on in its existence, it was known as a hangout for Amos Yee, swelling its viewership figures considerably. In its first iteration's later years, FST was known for hosting the Dutch activist, Nelson Maatman among others.
Early on in its life, restrictions had to be imposed against NSFW "NN" type content (see early web archives). This material was determined to be posing an existential threat to the site, due to moderation demands, and the general censorship liability.
Over the years, viewership faded, and De Jonge left the project in 2022, owing to his personal situation. This left FST with no technical support, moderation, or other contingencies, barring a secure hosting arrangement. The original FST nevertheless persisted for almost a year, until it began to face some issues with Pakistani commercial spammers and then an unsophisticated sock farm pushing rape apologia. The latter operation was thought by many casual observers to be started by, or related to an aggressive group of American Mormons who were at the time planning an online documentary about Maatman (and, it was assumed, seeking to misrepresent the MAP Movement by engaging in online astro-turfing and disruption).
FST v2.0 phoenix project
Following the technical outage, FreeSpeechTube is being reconstructed using a federated video sharing model (PeerTube).
Ownership of the FreeSpeechTube domain and name is yet to be secured by the project, however an archive of the site's videos is now in the hands of project co-ordinators and needs to be integrated with collated metadata salvaged from archives. It is thought the transition to Fediverse will allow technical updates to continue for the foreseeable future.
- FST as a PeerTube site, and will not contain the material formerly hosted on FST until it has been thoroughly tested. Many former users of the first site have since taken this into their own hands by reuploading their most treasured content.