As Twitter, Reddit and other social media networks are cracking down on the so-called “alt-right,” some are taking matters into their own hands and migrating away from traditional forms of social media and to new ones that claim to be more welcoming to free speech.
Twitter has been particularly strong in cracking down on alt-right voices and suspended a number of accounts, including reality TV star Tila Tequila’s, after she posted a picture of her performing a Nazi salute at a conference of white nationalists in Washington DC. While Tequila has denied that she is a Nazi, her Twitter bio referred to her as an “alt-reich queen.”
Now a new social network start up–Gab–is trying to take advantage of what they see as Silicon Valley’s biased censoring of conservative voices, by putting its focus on uncensored free speech.
Gab, which launched in August, is still in early beta stage and so is available via invite only. But CEO Andrew Torba, who worked in Silicon Valley for five years before starting the project, says what began as a three-person startup now has 90,000 users and over 100,000 people applying to be part of the new networking site.
Torba emphasized to FoxNews.com that Gab is not designed specifically for conservatives, but he believes its emphasis on free speech is appealing particularly to those on the right being silenced on Twitter and other networking sites.
“From day one we’ve said everyone is welcome here–we are defending free speech,” he told FoxNews.com. “But we are getting a lot of people on the right because they are being censored, so it’s understandable they are migrating over.”
One of Gab’s main features is the ability for users to mute phrases, words, hashtags and other users. Torba says Gab feels that is a better way of countering speech that people find offensive than taking a big brother approach and banning it.
Gab’s alt-right flavor is similar to that of the /r/The_Donald–the unofficial Donald Trump subreddit on Reddit, which itself became a bubble away from the main politics subreddit for Trump supporters to spread what they see as unreported news, attack Hillary Clinton, and express support for Trump.
Gab’s Torba says controversies such as these, and wider censorship prevalent at sites like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter give him hope that Gab may be on to something.
“We are growing like wildfire, and I think a lot of those bans and the censorship is really propelling our growth,” he said. “People are looking for a new alternative as their voices have been shut up.”
[Editor’s Note: Though we are not active yet, you can find us on Gab @AmRenaissance and @jartaylor.]