Op-ed: Gab and Free Speech Versus the Social Media Giants

Image by Gab

In the Defense of Free Speech

Words are our most important tool; we express our thoughts and opinions, we say what is right and wrong, we can put across our feelings and emotions and describe things others could not imagine. One of the founding premises of our country, the 1st Amendment, is on the ability to be able to say what we want. One of the foremost liberal values in Europe, stemming from Britain, was that of freedom of speech, from a time where liberal was a word synonymous with the rights of man, rather than the present demands of man.

Over the years the forum has changed, from public speech in front of a crowd to printed word distributed on paper, to voice through radio, image on television and finally, to typed word on social media. The struggles, however, have not. There are still those that would look to prevent the free speech of others, to silence those who hold views different to their own.

If you know about Gab, you know of the constant suppression of this free speech. The social media giants, particularly Facebook and Twitter have exploited their positions to silence those whose views they deem contrary to their own. If this article were to list all the times this had occurred, it would probably make for shocking reading to see the unadulterated bias.

The CEOs of both companies have been in front of Congress to testify for their actions regarding the censorship of conservative individuals. This demonstrates the widespread nature of the problem and is a challenge that strikes the heart of our nation, by challenging the principles on which this country was built upon, the constitution.

There are still people willing to stand for such vital principles, and one of the leading examples of this is Gab. For those unaware of Gab, it is an ad-free social network that promotes free speech. The point of Gab is not just to give the right somewhere to speak; it is to include both sides to put forward their own views with the potential of establishing a dialogue. This is what true free speech is, and if this country is to develop the maturity to converse on political issues across the spectrum such a platform is sorely needed.

My Own Experiences

As someone who has been using social media for years, I have, I would like to think, seen most of what these platforms have to offer. I have seen the development from Myspace to Facebook and finally transitioned to Twitter. Over this period I became more interested and involved in politics. I hold a Bachelors and a Masters in the general subject area and looked to publicize my political views beyond that of my immediate peers and professors, of whom seemed reluctant to have a dialogue with someone who held different political ideas to their own, but that is another story.

Using social media, I hoped I could not only converse with people of like-minded opinions, but I could also open dialogue with those of opposing viewpoints and inform people on political issues on which I felt I had studied into more than most.

I was, like so many, a victim of censorship. Twitter was my platform of choice originally, and over the course of a year, I have seen three accounts of mine locked or banned. My first two accounts were both locked and I was not able to access them, no matter how much I tried to communicate with Twitter support at the time. The third was banned, and to this day I still do not remember the reason for the ban, given the reserved nature of the opinions I put out. All of this turned me to Gab.

I had already had a Gab account since mid-2017 but had not started using it to do anything beyond reading Gab specific political posts. Earlier this year after the lock-down of my first Twitter account, I decided that the value of free speech on a platform was worth more than a larger exposure pool. What Gab stands for is the future of social media, and arguably the future of speech and dialogue. I want to be a part of that, and everyone else should want to be as well.

The Struggles of Gab

“You have enemies? Good, it means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”
— Winston Churchill

Anyone familiar with Gab knows of the struggles the company has experienced. It has been falsely labeled in the media, as a right-wing hate forum. It has been attacked by Silicon Valley, the companies of which have prevented Gab’s phone application from appearing in the Microsoft, Apple and Android stores, significantly limiting exposure.

Indeed another threat came from IP registrar after the founder of the Daily Stormer made a post on Gab, that the registrar, AsiaRegistry, deemed had violated the company’s abuse policy. The situation was handled by Gab CEO Andrew Torba, and a compromise was achieved. It does set a dangerous precedent that many on the internet would look to deny the platform of its primary purpose.

Gab has demonstrated that it is willing to stand up for the idea of a free speech social media, despite the challenges it has had and will have to overcome, and the enemies it has made along the way.

Nothing else really remains to be said, except - Get on Gab!

Ray Jones / Journalist
I am a Proud Patriot. I have a degree in history and international law with an interest in anthropology. I aim to make Americans realize their greatness!
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