Amphiist 11: Gab and Twitter

· Culture, Politics

Today’s topic is Gab, the free-speech alternative to Twitter. Some accuse of it as being the alt-right version of Twitter, but that is not really the case. Undoubtedly, a lot of people who identify as alt-right have accounts on Gab, but from the perspective of CEO Andrew Torba, all are welcome. He regularly states this, and if it is easy to see that he’s telling the truth. Common sense dictates that he wants as many non alt-right users as possible so that his site becomes mainstream and a viable competitor to Twitter. As long as Gab is an echo chamber, it will grow only up to a certain point, and that is not in Torba’s interest. The man is an entrepreneur. I doubt he’s going to do anything to harm the long-term chances for his success of his vision.

One more thing before I move on to Twitter. People constantly tell dissatisfied Twitter users to build their own platform if they don’t like how Twitter, a private company, conducts its business. Torba did exactly this, without the help of rich Saudi princes. Users on Gab have more power than they do on Twitter because Gab survives due to the contributions of users. I myself am “Pro” on there, because I do want to support a free speech website. An amphiist does not have to agree with everything someone does in order to support them in general. I disagree with a lot of what I see on that site, but I support the vision of it, and view Torba as a visionary.

On Monday, December 18, 2017, there was a potential Twitter purge of the alt-right type of demographic. Nothing really happened, except for the ban of a dozen or so individuals. I was even worried that I might get suspended, as I follow Richard Spencer and I thought Twitter’s algorithsm might get me, even though it’s obvious from my tweets that I’m a globalist, rather than a white nationalist, supremacist, Nazi or whatever.

Some have suggested strongly that Gab should be banned, according to Alex Jones. I did a Google search and the only reference to bans and Gab are that Gab has been unable to get an app. So I’m not sure if Jones reported this accurately or if I just didn’t do enough research.

However, I personally don’t think Gab should be banned. I think it’s an appropriate haven for those who wish to speak unencumbered by fear of reprisal (usually unfair reprisal). And for the few extremists who use the k word for Jewish people, and blame anything and everything on Jews, there is a debate even in my own mind whether or not they should be banned. On one hand, they can incite the desire for violence in the minds of those who are battling mental health issues. On the other hand, if normal, sane people see the extreme rhetoric in which these radicals engage, and so it is possible that there will be a collective awakening to the notion that we do need to watch out for people who think violence is the answer.

A stronger case can be made for banning Alex Jones, Mike Cernovich and Paul Joseph Watson along with others associated with the Infowars brand. They engage in misinformation. This is far more dangerous than someone proclaiming they don’t like Jewish people (although we want to be sure that another Holocaust does not happen, and it seems as though a breeding ground for violence against Jews is hate speech against Jews). A mentally unstable person can act on false information propagated by Jones and his friends, for example shoot up a pizza parlour because they think it houses a pedophile ring.

I do not have a strong moral code. I’m honest about it. Because honesty is so important to me. I think that people who spread misinformation are some of the most dangerous people in our society. Torba is not dangerous. If anything, he makes society safer as he provides an outlet for people with a particular point of view to vent their sometimes understandable frustration. The repressed impulse is a lot more likely to later be expressed in violence.

Jones described himself in his custody case as a performance artist. It is very dangerous for performance artists to handle important new stories, and I’m not sure they should be allowed.

Another act I think should result in an immediate ban is people who photoshop images and ascribe fake quotations to publicly known people. Hurting someone’s reputation with dishonesty is a grievous sin in my book.

I would like to defend Twitter in one way. Torba regularly posts on that site, publicizing his own (which is impressive marketing!), but the point is they do allow him to post. He was not purged. Richard Spencer wasn’t. James Allsup wasn’t, etc. So while I agree overall that Twitter should have competition, I’d like to point out that Jack Dorsey is not a monster of censorship. He does ban people sometimes I don’t think should be banned, and I don’t approve of the idea of shadowbanning, but I think a person can enjoy both Twitter and Gab for the different benefits they offer.

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