Written in Partnership with Amir Bakian, 25 Set 2023
Political discussion is a mainstay on any social media platform. But after the 2020 election, the discussion of censoring those politically focused conversations also started trending. Government leaders amass millions of followers online, turning platforms like Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) into a primary news source for the general public.
However, according to many users, they lost an opportunity to voice their opinions as censorship rumors spreadacross today’s most popular social platforms. Tonto, a short-form audio platform, promises a space that does not compromise freedom of speech.
Founded by CEO Manna Justin, Tonto is working to change the dynamics of political discourse: “Platforms like Twitter are affected by a certain amount of control because of that written political messaging. Whereas Tonto is a platform for that freedom of speech—and speech, quite literally.”
He references Tonto’s use of audio and speech as a primary content medium. From funny soundbites shared between friends to music clips and news reports, the platform uses short-form audio to give users a way to elevate their voices. Community members can also reply and comment to posts using their voices, democratizing the conversation on a digital platform free of censorship.
Censorship on mainstream social media platforms has become a contentious issue, with regular content removal and account suspensions due to conflicting viewpoints. This has raised concerns about the stifling of free expression online. In contrast, Tonto offers a space that respects and protects personal expression. Without censorship, users can engage in candid conversations on the topics most important to them.
The platform also helps connect users with fresh perspectives and real-time news. Its curated “Tonto Politics” channel is a bipartisan feed of relevant sound bites, videos, and more from leading political candidates. Community members can add to the discussion with their thoughts and opinions.
“Users can share in real-time. If you think about a candidate giving a speech, someone can share their take on it for anyone who wants to listen, instead of coverage about the same speech spun by the media,” Justin points out. As today’s traditional news outlets tend to dominate the narrative, Tonto is a friend to the citizen journalist.
As Justin points out, “Everyone has a voice. Everyone should be able to share their thoughts on the candidates and what the country needs. There is no censorship here on Tonto.”
In addition to its public content and direct message capabilities, the platform also features onboard transcription services to ensure content is accessible to all users. Tonto is committed to diverse viewpoints and an inclusive space where everyone has a voice. While the platform is free of censorship, Justin is also committed to preventing abuse or harassment through built-in content flagging features that allow users to earmark potentially abusive content for the Tonto team to review.
As the 2024 election draws near, Tonto is here to empower individuals to have their voices heard, changing how we engage with the most critical conversations across America.