Social Network Aims to End Online Censorship
Social media platform Gab.ai is the free speech alternative to Facebook and Twitter.
Launched last Monday, Gab appears in the aftermath of controversial censorship by other platforms. For example, Gizmodo revealed in May that Facebook routinely suppressed conservative news. Both networks have also banned conservatives and libertarians.
Gab aims to fix this. The website’s front page features a quote from Salman Rushdie stating “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
Regarding the platform’s rules, CEO Andrew Torba explains:
We believe that the only valid form of censorship is self-censorship, an individual’s freedom to opt-out. Gab empowers users to self-censor and remove unwanted followers, words, phrases, and topics they don’t want to see in their feeds to help stop and prevent different forms harassment.
However, we do take steps to protect ourselves and our users from illegal activity. Our rules are very simple: no illegal pornography, a zero tolerance policy for promoting terrorism or violence, and users are not allowed to post other’s confidential information without their consent. We expect these guidelines to develop overtime and we will discuss and get feedback on these changes with the community as we scale.
Gab’s navigation is very similar to Twitter’s. Users can follow each other and see their posts on a single feed in their Home page.
Also like on Twitter, Gab features a checkmark system. However, rather than using it to lend authority to public figures, Gab uses it purely for identification purposes. Even the average person can have one.
With such a limited scope of rules and a friendly design, the network seems promising. Within the first four days, 10,000 people signed up, including Twitter outcasts Milo Yiannopoulos and Kassy Dillon. A waiting list now exists, with over 18,000 people in line.
Libertarians are also likely to feel at home, since censorship on other platforms has heated up in recent months. In early July, Facebook suspended the popular page Liberty Memes for a Hillary Clinton image saying “Silly Americans, laws are for poor people.” And just weeks ago, Facebook banned pages Occupy Democrats Logic and Being Libertarian for posting a photo that pointed out liberal hypocrisy.
Though whether Gab will succeed remains to be seen, one thing is for sure: both libertarians and conservatives are tired of being censored on social media. Facebook and Twitter may finally pay the price.