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Monday, June 11, 2018
Tired of Twitter censorship? Gab claims to offer an alternative
In our increasingly divided and partisan
society, it appears that some forces are stepping up their efforts to silence
others, shutting down debate rather than taking part in it. It's a mark of folks
who know they have no winning argument, so therefore have to project, obfuscate
and name call rather than actually address issues.
This is nothing new, but in the Trump era – in which
the losing side of the 2016 presidential election still thinks of itself as the
side of goodness despite increasing evidence to the contrary – U.S. President Trump's
efforts to drain the deep state swamp seem to be causing new and ever more
ominous fits on that side of the ideological ledger. It's quite entertaining to
I don't do Twitter much (generally, I post only
to announce when I have new rants on my website), but it has come to my
attention that Twitter (and others) is blocking and/or banning certain posters
whose ideology may not comport with the looniness that dominates mainstream
media and leftists (but I repeat myself). If true, then that mocks the
principles of free speech and open discussion that is a great deal of the
internet's promise and appeal, though it's also consistent with the "this
business refuses the right to refuse service…" canon the left loves until
someone refuses to bake a cake.
What's a person to do if he/she/it believes in
freedom of expression regardless of whose expression it is?
Well, I've discovered a competitor to Twitter
that promises to address the issue. It's called Gab (www.gab.ai), and while it doesn't look like it
has nearly the reach that Twitter does, you have to start somewhere.
Gab's philosophy is spelled out in the site's
Community Guidelines, which among many other things says "Gab's mission is
to put people and free speech first. We believe that the only valid form of
censorship is an individual's own choice to opt-out. Gab empowers users to
filter and remove unwanted followers, words, phrases, and topics they do not
want to see in their feeds."
That doesn't mean it's a "virtual wild
west" out there, however. "We do take steps to protect ourselves and
our users from illegal activity, spam, and abuse," the guideline continues.
"By signing up for Gab, all users agree to adhere to the policies (as
outlined). Failure to comply will result in sanctions as explained in our How
We Enforce Our Guidelines section." The guidelines go on to mention
pornography (legal and illegal), copyright, private information and other such
topics as reasons for the site's operators to virtually slap your pee-pee.
"Gab's policy is to follow all applicable
laws in The United States of America, the Constitution and the Supreme Court's
rulings on the First Amendment. We use the Court's rulings, precedents and
judgments as our guiding principles for protecting and empowering free speech
and expression. You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or
illegal activities," the site continues.
Well, there goes all the fun!
I believe the site operators must be Trump
supporters, or at least have an urge to troll the left-wing competition like
the president does, because its logo and "favicon" (the little
picture that appears on your browser tab or window) just happens to be Pepe the
frog, the little green critter that seems to show up on many other
Trump-friendly sites, images, etc.. Covfefe!
And according to the Gabsters, they aren't just
in it to make huge profits off of the backs of the people (not that there's
necessarily anything wrong with that in a free market). They eschew ads,
depending instead on the kindness of strangers. "Gab can only be ad-free
through your contributions. Your generosity helps us fight for a free and open
internet, worldwide," their website claims.
There's also an upgraded Gab service, called
GabPro. "GabPro helps us keep Gab ad-free and operational for hundreds of
thousands of people around the world," they say. "With an optional
upgrade to GabPro you'll unlock additional features and tools to enhance your
Gab experience and help make Gab possible for everyone."
In other words, pony up some lucre and unlock
more features while helping finance the service to keep it going. And,
helpfully, they have a link to a PayPal page where you can ante up. A happy
coincidence, I'm sure.
GabPro features listed on the website include
the ability to create groups and/or lists, bookmark and save posts and even
make some money of your own – as it says, "Get rewarded for your content
with tips and paid subscriptions."
The site is organized into groups and topics,
via menus on the left side of the page. Thursday, June 7th had topics such as
D-Day, News and Politics and (ugh) Stanley Cup Playoffs – and lots more.
Gab doesn't seem nearly as busy as Twitter
does, from my limited visiting of both social media sites, but this could be
because fewer people have undoubtedly heard of Gab, whereas Twitter is the evil
elephant in the room.
So, if you're looking for an alternative to
Twitter, you may want to check out Gab.
There are also alternatives to Facebook out
there, a surprising number of them. I don't have room to go into them all here,
but a website company called 1and1.com
has a list of alternative sites that I'd never heard of (besides the usual
Reddit, Instagram and the like), including Diaspora, Ello, EyeEm, Path and
Vero. The site also gives a brief description of these sites that you might
find quite handy.
If I weren't allergic to social media, I might
even check some of them out.
And, of course, your mileage may vary.
But it's nice to see the free market opening up
opportunities for other voices than those the lefty powers that be deem
acceptable. After all, free speech means exactly what it purports to mean.