On Wednesday, Twitter laid out a new set of rules against “hate speech,” and simultaneously suspended several high profile members of the alt-right. Thankfully, there is a pro-free speech replacement.
Twitter, who once proudly labeled itself the “free speech wing of the free speech party” has apparently decided that they only meant it if their users views reflect their own.
— WeSearchr (@wesearchr) November 15, 2016
The censorship came after the Southern Poverty Law Center asked Twitter to remove over 100 specific accounts — and as liberal media stokes panic about “fake news.” Most of those affected have claimed that they were not engaging in any trolling and were just randomly deleted out of nowhere.
“I am terrified of a future where people will not share their opinions because people are being banned or ostracized,” Tim Pool of Subverse said in a video about the bans.
Meanwhile, alternative social media platform Gab.ai is taking in all of the Twitter outcasts — and many are willingly following. In fact, the platform has seen the largest amount of signups in the past 48 hours since they went live three months ago.
Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab has said that he is “fighting for a better internet that puts people first and promotes free speech for all.”
“Gab is a micro-blogging social network committed to defending free speech and putting people first. It’s similar to Twitter in that it has short 300 character ‘Gabs’ which can be shared with followers,” Torba told Subverse. “Unlike Twitter, Gab offers users the ability to edit content and upvote/downvote content. Any content that is edited has a running log of when and what edits were made.”
The new platform also “empowers users to control their own experience by allowing them to mute users, words, phrases, trends, and topics,” which is a feature that Twitter has just rolled out along with their new “hate speech” ban.
Unlike Twitter, trends are not censored or manipulated by the staff at Gab — so what is listed is what people are actually talking about. The site does not currently have a block feature, but instead there is a “spam” folder where you can mute user engagements.
While Gab promotes free speech, it also isn’t the wild west or hostile. The platform still bans things that are illegal — such as revenge porn.
“Gab has very simply guidelines that exist to help our users feel safe expressing themselves on the platform. We have three simple rules: no illegal pornography (such as child or revenge porn,) no threats of violence or terrorism, and no exposing private personal information such as credit cards or social security numbers without someone’s consent,” Torba explained.
Torba said that to date, they have not had to ban a single user.
Currently, there are 56,000 users on the platform and a waitlist of over 100,000 eager to join.
“The reason we have a waitlist is because the product is still in early beta and not yet ready to meet the massive demand we are seeing from around the globe,” Torba said. “We want to take the time to build out our community, the product, and the infrastructure to support demand.”
So, as Twitter silences those voices they deem to be offensive — Gab will continue to allow for the free sharing of ideas.
“Anyone who wants the ability to speak freely, control their own experience, and meet new and interesting people from around the world should join Gab,” Torba told Subverse. “All are welcome on Gab, and always will be. Gab is not for any particular group of people, it is a platform for all people. We are the defenders of free speech at a time when censorship and suppression is widespread on the internet across the globe.”