Gab: The Free Speech Bastion For Banned Twitter And Reddit Users

With the “Great Purge” of social media platforms Twitter and Reddit following the election, Gab has become the free speech bastion of many conservative and alt-right users.

Gab is dedicated to the concept of free speech. So much so that the website has only three hard rules.

1. No Illegal Pornography

2. No Threats or Terrorism

3. No Non-consensual Posting of Private Information

There’s also a suggestion at the end of the Gab rule page: “Try to be nice and kind to one another. We’re all human.”

Gab’s website gives a bit more detail as to what all that entails, but Gab founder Andrew Torba, the conservative Christian CEO, has made it clear he wants to avoid the censorship found on other sites.

[Image by ??????????| Flickr | Cropped and resized | CC BY-SA 2.0]

Another reason Torba started Gab was the concern over Facebook’s suppression or influencing of conservative news.

According to Gizmodo, “Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project.”

Considering the vociferous defense of the First Amendment by conservatives, Gab’s sudden rise in popularity since its inception in August should surprise no one, especially when considering the timing of Twitter and Reddit’s crackdowns in regards to the election. That really could have been timed better, whether or not the bans were deserved. The timing created “martyrs” for a cause.

So what is Gab all about? Gab is a social media platform dedicated to unfettered free speech.

In combination with the aforementioned bans, this has led to Gab being heavily populated with both far and alt-right users. Racism, sexism, and various and sundry other delightful spawn of the dregs of humanity can be found with little work.

Some of the more infamous Gab users include Milo Yiannopoulos, the greatest troll of our time; Richard B. Spencer, a white nationalist leader; Tila Tequila, a reality star who has posted racial slurs and pro-Nazi propaganda; and myriad others. Ann Coulter has a Gab account as well.

So is Gab merely a cesspit of insanity, racism, hate, and all the other things sadists and psychopaths cherish?

Not at all.

Gab is the result of true freedom of speech. In this case, Gab is populated by conservatives and the right-wing. It does not have to stay that way. Despite Gab’s initial appeal to ousted Twitterites and Redditors, it has the potential to be a powerful tool for moderates and liberals as well.

Gab’s freedom is near anarchy in its totality. When rules are removed, when the effects of civilization are removed, Gab is the result.

The considerable suppression of far and alt right views on various social media has pushed those who hold them out of one location and into another. If the culture was switched, and the left and “alt” left was considered socially and culturally unacceptable, Gab’s population would be Commies and conspiracy theorists with the occasional decent person rather than populated by Nazis and conspiracy theorists with the occasional decent person.

Joking aside, when rules are removed, chaos reigns. Gab will be interesting to watch over the next few months, as it provides an interesting view into a sub-culture long suppressed on major social media sites.

There are some redeeming features which make Gab potentially an effective communication tool for everyone. One of these features on Gab is the ability to block out or mute people and key phrases, a technique which predates Twitter’s use of the concept.

According to Fox News, “One of Gab’s main features is the ability for users to mute phrases, words, hashtags and other users. Torba says Gab feels that is a better way of countering speech that people find offensive than taking a big brother approach and banning it.”

Gab’s tool is a highly effective way of permitting free speech while also allowing people to protect themselves from unwanted harassment or “garbage posts.” Gab’s method prevents the power of the social media gods from falling into the hands of a social justice warrior or a neo-nazi wannabe.

Gab keeps the power with the people.

There is a lot of unpleasant stuff on Gab. But Gab has the potential to be a new frontier of free speech in social media.

So what do you think of Gab? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

[Featured Image by Esther Vargas|Flickr| Cropped and Resized | CC BY-SA 2.0 ]

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