When the white nationalist leader Richard B. Spencer was suspended from Twitter recently, he hopped over to YouTube to address his supporters
reports Amanda Hess
, as the New York Times perpetuates the caricature of conservatives (among other ways, by using words like "slithering"), decides who is a liar and who isn't (hint: it's never a leftist), decides what is harassment and what's not (hint: it is only on the right and only occurs against leftists), and decides what is fake news and what isn't (it never seems to occur in the left's mainstream media).
speaking,” he said, Twitter had sent “execution squads across the
alt-right.” He accused Twitter of “purging people on the basis of their
views,” calling it “corporate Stalinism.” Then he mapped out a path
forward. “There’s obviously Gab, which is an interesting medium,” he
said. “I think that will be the place where we go next.”
is a new social network built like a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit —
posts are capped at 300 characters, and the crowd votes to boost or
demote posts in the feed. But Gab’s defining feature is its user guidelines
or rather, its lack thereof. Gab bans illegal activities — child
pornography, threats of violence, terrorism — and not much else.
“Facebook, Twitter and Reddit are taking the path of censorship,” Utsav
Sanduja, Gab’s chief communications officer, told me via email. “Gab
Think of Gab as the Make America Great Again of social sites: It’s a
throwback to the freewheeling norms of the old internet, before Twitter
started cracking down on harassment and Reddit cleaned out its darkest
corners. And since its debut in August, it has emerged as a digital safe
space for the far right, where white nationalists, conspiracy-theorist
YouTubers, and minivan majority moms can gather without liberal
election laid bare the ideological divide on social media, and since
the election, the rift has deepened. Just as dejected Hillary Clinton
supporters have come together in Pantsuit Nation — a “secret” Facebook
group of nearly four million members — some on the right have found
their postelection online oasis in the invitation-only Gab.
Gab’s 25-year-old founder, Andrew Torba, dreamed up the site after reading reports
that Facebook employees suppress conservative articles on the site. Mr.
Torba — who previously created Kuhcoon, a system for running automated
Facebook ad campaigns (it’s now called Automate Ads) — is a rare
conservative Christian tech C.E.O. Gab is a corrective to what he dubs
“Big Social,” and it’s based on what the company calls “a pluralistic
ethos of mutual respect and toleration of dissonant views.”
other social sites push out disruptive users, Gab opens its arms.
Recently, Twitter beefed up abuse rules to police not only threats but
also hate speech “against a race, religion, gender, or orientation.”
(The move presaged the purge that swept up Mr. Spencer.) And Reddit erased
a community called Pizzagate, where conspiracy theorists had gathered to spin lies
about Democratic pedophiles operating out of a D.C. pizzeria. On Gab, the topic is always trending.
the big-name Twitter castaways have resurfaced here: In addition to Mr.
Spencer, there is Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor who was
barred from Twitter for siccing trolls on the “Ghostbusters” actress
Leslie Jones; Pax Dickinson, the former Business Insider chief
technology officer who rebranded himself as a victim of P.C. culture
when he was sacked for posting sexist tweets; and Tila Tequila, the
reality TV star who was booted from Twitter after posting racial slurs
and pro-Nazi stuff. Gab has also attracted the cutting conservative
commentator Ann Coulter; the right-wing media guerrilla
Mike Cernovich; and the disinformation king Alex Jones, founder of
Infowars. Gab now hosts 98,000 accounts, with tens of thousands more
hopeful members on a wait list.
… While mainstream social networks are promising to crack down on “fake
news,” Gab clears the runway for posts like “Satanic PizzaGate Is Going
Viral Worldwide (Elites Are Terrified)”
to pick up speed. Ricky Vaughn,
a pseudonymous white nationalist (he takes his name from Charlie
Sheen’s character in “Major League”) also barred from Twitter, posted to
Gab that Twitter is effectively dead and should now be used only to
pull off “skirmishes” against Twitter denizens. Gab would be a
convenient base for recruiting more digital foot soldiers to that cause.
some have worried that the site’s insulation can dampen their message.
“Now that Twitter is purging everyone, I think it’s important for Gab to
branch out and attract leftists so we’re not just preaching to the
choir,” wrote Paul Joseph Watson, editor at large at Infowars.
I asked why the site leans conservative, Mr. Sanduja denied that Gab
had any ideological bent. “We challenge this premise completely — to the
contrary, Gab has a number of diverse users globally,” he wrote. (There
is a politely argumentative Democrat who goes by the handle @Democrat,
for instance.) But he added that right-wing users would be naturally
drawn to Gab.
“When a group of people are being systematically
dehumanized and labeled as the alphabet soup of phobias,” he wrote,
“they will look for a place that will allow them to speak freely without
censorship and devoid of Social Justice bullying.”