Like many of my readers, I’ve grown more and more angry over the politically correct censorship practiced by Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Twitter, in particular, has been an egregious offender against the concept of free speech. Sure, it’s a private company, so it’s not bound by the US Constitution and its First Amendment; but it’s behaving like a left-wing, progressive tinpot dictator, banning or restricting the posting abilities and/or readership of and/or links to centrist and right-wing commentators and personalities. The practice has become so widespread that it’s drawn attention from the media. I’d registered as a user on Twitter, but never used the platform, largely because of the growing tide of resentment (which I share) against its censorship policies.
I was thus very pleased to learn that there’s a new alternative to Twitter. It’s called Gab, and it guarantees explicitly that it will never censor anybody over their political, social, economic or other views, no matter how expressed. A recent report noted:
Andrew Torba is the 25-year-old CEO of Gab.ai that was sick and tired of seeing conservatives having their opinions hushed by the over-reaching political correctness machine that is taking over America … He wants to remove any bias from his platform by allowing the users, not editors from his company, choose what content is visible to users.
Gab has been described as a Twitter/Reddit hybrid where users can create 300-character messages that are then “upvoted” or “downvoted” by other users. Meaning posts that users find interesting or useful receive endorsements, much like an online review for a business. Users will also be allowed to “self censor” their posts by filtering out topics they choose themselves, rather than having an employee of the company choose what can or can not be seen.
Torba asserts that Gab is not a right-wing alternative to other major social media networks. The purpose of the site is to prevent censorship of any kind.
“It is not an alt-right Twitter replacement. Anyone is welcome. This is all about stopping the censorship going on right under our noses.”
There’s more at the link.
Digital Trends had this to say:
The site has the basic functionality to follow other users, and, like Reddit, features an upvote and downvote system on posts that appear in their feed. The most upvoted posts appear in a popular, or trending tab.
The creators’ beliefs regarding the First Amendment aren’t tucked away in a privacy or site policies section. Rather, the home page flaunts a quote from British Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie:
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
. . .
While there are some limits to freedom of speech on the site — threats of violence, illegal pornography, or the release of personal information without consent — Gab aims to put the onus on users to handle harassment.
Through keyword filtering, user muting, and the ability to only see content from verified users (the process involves presenting a valid form of ID), Gab removes itself from the moderator role, which it sees as the problem on social media today.
Again, more at the link.
Left-leaning and progressive media and sources are already trying to ‘trash-talk’ Gab, predicting that it’ll become the home of alt-right ‘racism,’ or be just a flash in the pan, or go the way of many social media startups – into oblivion. The latter may happen, of course, but I think its support level is already pretty impressive. It’s still under development, so there are occasional hiccups in service and delays in getting things sorted out, but I think it’s off to a good start. (If you apply to join, don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks for your request to be serviced. There are, AFAIK, only four people on the team at Gab so far. Like I said, it’s a startup. They’re taking things one day at a time, not trying to hire extra staff they can’t afford – which sounds like a good business decision to me.)
At any rate, I’ve joined Gab (my ‘handle’ – to use an old-fashioned CB term – is @PeterG). If you, like I, have become frustrated by overt, in-your-face media bias and social media censorship, I recommend it to you. I’d like to see Gab grow to become a viable alternative to Twitter, with real freedom of speech instead of an overreaching, politically-correct, progressive slant on everything. (That includes any and all shades of opinion, political or otherwise.)
Whatever your views, drop in on Gab and see what you think. To learn more, there’s a brief tutorial on how to use it, and a video primer on YouTube.
Went ahead and registered. System told my I'm number 79602 in the queue.
Guess I won't hold my breath, but shall wait and see how long they take.
do they have an actual business model to pay the bills with or is it the 'get users, ???, profit' model of so many sites today?
Mark me somewhat impressed.
Got a response back within an hour, automated almost certainly, but a response none the less. And your same caution that it could take weeks for full access.
One concern I have is over this illegal pornography thing. That is very location dependent. What I'd call innocent snaps of our beach vacation would get me beheaded in certain other parts of the world.
Yet another reason why some jurisdictions are so vehemently opposed to the free unencumbered flow of information over the internet.
It looks like it's going to eat Twitter's lunch, although it's early times yet. The commitment to free speech is admirable.
Peter thank you for writing about this, it sounds interesting!
The usual business model is to intersperse content with advertisements. I, for one, would be willing to support them by turning off AdBlock on their pages.
I wouldn't be surprised if it does become somewhat dominated by 'right wing trash talk' since anything not explicitly left of center seems to get censored on Twitter (not a user). It will take those on the left joining in to balance those on the right who've already been banned by Twitter.
Excellent post, and outstanding idea. Those of us who are bloggers – and, especially, Castalia House authors – should follow Peter's example here.
Peter, thanks for the info…will have to check this out for myself.
I've never had a Twitter account–beside the possibility of being misunderstood in 140 characters, I've never understood the value of it to me. So while it may be a little off-subject, can someone explain to me why a twitter(or gab) is useful or desirable?