Alt-righters flock to free speech Gab
Internauts who have had their Twitter accounts suspended or their posts on Facebook exposed to less promotion and sharing because of their political views, are changing to Gab. Users already say it is a social network that promises a digital space for real communication.
Published: November 19, 2016, 9:27 am
On Tuesday signups exploded, with more than 5 000 users showing interest in the closed beta media network within 24 hours.
The swirl of fake news, blatant censorship and misleading reports shared on Facebook and Twitter fueled the rise of the alternative right. During the election cycle it became clear that vested corporate interests were shaping news stories to favour the incumbent party.
Trump’s digital advertising director, Gary Cobey, has accused Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of personally censoring pre-approved and paid advertising campaigns running emojis. Dorsey’s “cancelling for all political campaigns” really meant cancelling only for Donald J. Trump’s campaign, Cobey explained to the Medium.
Richard Spencer, a leading figure in the alt-right who had his Twitter account suspended on Tuesday, has now switched to the new platform. Described as a combination of Twitter and Reddit, the site surged this week, attracting thousands more users, many of them alt-righters exiled from old social media sites.
gab.ai is the brainchild of Andrew Torba, an adtech startup founder who moved to Austin, Texas, after a stint in Silicon Valley.
Torba found the politically correct atmosphere of the Bay Area to be too constrained, making him uncomfortable about expressing his views, and he decided to move to Texas to set up his fledgling social network.
He told fastcompany.com that Gab is meant to “put people first and promote people first,” but adds that the new site should expand beyond just a single community to include a diverse audience.
Torba left the tech company Y Combinator, to fix what he sees as creeping censorship into online spaces.
The tipping point that pushed him to take the leap and start Gab, came earlier this year, when Facebook employees came forward to divulge that the network’s trending topics section was actively suppressing conservative news. “I knew I had to take action,” Torba says.
Gab, which is similar to Twitter in that users can only write a limited number of characters – up to 300 – in a single post, also mimics Reddit in that these posts can be up-voted or down-voted.
“The response to Gab from around the world has been nothing short of incredible,” Gab CEO Andrew Torba told Breitbart Tech.
“This is a movement, and something that the community is driving forward,” he explained. “Folks are deleting their Twitter and Facebook accounts, or pledging to do so right after the election. They are waking up to the lies and censorship of Big Social. We will continue to build a product built by the people, for the people. We will continue to put people first and promote free speech for all.”
A Twitter user meanwhile conducted an experiment to out the double standards on Twitter’s censorship policy concerning race.
The person wrote the same comment on two different accounts with only two words changed, then reported each for abusive behavior.
The first comment read: “I fucking hate white people and their inconsiderate asses for voting for Trump. Fuck you.”
The second: “I fucking hate black people and their inconsiderate asses for voting for Clinton. Fuck you.”
The first was found not to be in “violation of Twitter’s Rules regarding abusive behavior,” while the second resulted in the user’s account being banned.
Coby provided The Daily Caller the following statement upon request:
“I think it’s clear that Jack Dorsey was deeply involved in deciding how Twitter restricted advertising from GOP Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump. From my personal experience, buying for Trump’s campaign, it’s clear that Twitter decided to block real advertising from a real candidate.”
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