At one point American values were taken for granted within our culture. Freedom of speech, the right to assemble, freedom of religion, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure were among many rights that Americans had and knew.
Now, these rights are questions put in front of a bullied public, as the American people are being shamed for wanting the freedom of speech. Silicon Valley has shifted from the American model of free speech to a European model of decency. Instead of allowing the individual to barter with the world for themselves, Big Tech wants to see everyone behave, and threatens to destroy the careers and livelihoods of those who don’t obey.
Andrew Torba, a conservative who has lived on both coasts of America, knows this reality better than anyone. “We have an infrastructure problem,” he explains. “Silicon Valley has a grapple on pretty much every layer of infrastructure on the internet from payments to hosting, to domain registrars, you name it, right? You can’t just say oh well go build your own social network. We did that. Well now it’s you also need to go build your own payment processor, your own hosting provider, your own DNS, all of it.”
Big Tech, nor the media, has ever been interested in playing fair with Torba. Not only is he a young Christian, part of the rising wave of the digital conservatives, but Torba supported Trump in 2016. It was around that time that he decided to create Gab.ai, his social media network which emphasizes the right to freedom of speech. It would be from then on that Torba would earn the ire of the liberal powers that be, especially Silicon Valley.
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Gab was never designed to be a conservative platform, as Torba doesn’t want to control his users. Instead, he aimed to be one of the few conservatives who have taken it on themselves to create their own competitive platforms to the Silicon Valley monopolies which control the status quo. For years now countless conservatives have complained about the way that the liberals in charge of Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms treat them, but few have taken charge and done the work themselves to create alternative platforms for all to use.
Unlike his competition, Torba lived up to his promises. There is as much room on Gab for liberal, progressive, and alternative voices and there is for conservative and traditional personalities. The site does not discriminate, nor will it. It is perhaps the best counter-argument to the liberal’s platforms, as Torba does not launch complaints. Instead, he preforms better than his competition and stays true to his ideals.
This noble path has caused nothing but struggles for Torba in terms of publicity and funding. Not only have the liberal media released slew after slew of harsh press condemning Torba and his social media platform, but Stripe, PayPal, Square, Bitpay, and Coinbase have banned Gab from using their services. For what feels like decades progressives have harped on about whether or not a baker must bake a homosexual couple a cake, yet there is absolutely no outcry when banks and payment processors refuse to work with conservatives.
In addition to this financial hamstringing, the registrars GoDaddy and Asia Registry have also refused to work with Gab, forcing the company to invest in building their own infrastructure. Three different hosting companies have refused Gab, and Gab has been banned from the Apple App Store, Google Play, the Mozilla Addo-Ons Gallery, and the Google Chrome Extension Store. At every level, Gab has been pushed into becoming a more self-sufficient entity.
It’s hardest during the beginning, and so there is great hope for Torba and his company. If it wasn’t him and his platform being attacked, then it would have to be another. Torba is one of the few forward-thinking conservatives that have the foresight to invest in building a browser, an extension, and payment systems in addition to his social media platform, as the only way for conservatives to ensure freedom on the internet is to create their own space on it.
His rise is reminiscent of the rise of Facebook, as Zuckerberg hustled his platform to supersede Friendster, MySpace, and the rest of his competition. It is often through the pressure of competition that the most innovative technologies arise. These tales contrast with their hero’s journey, as Zuckerberg outpaced his peers, while Torba would be David coming up against Goliath.
Maybe this would have sounded paranoid a decade ago, but no trust can be put into the progressive institutions. They have no respect for the sacred protections that we extend to one another as Americans. Rather than engaging in political debate, Silicon Valley would rather ban and prune voices that they don’t agree with. This is un-American if it is not anti-American. With this environment being the current reality of the political landscape, the only option is to do the work that Torba is doing.
We will not have places to speak freely until we build them, we will not be able to support each other until we have banks that we can trust, and we cannot be sure whether or not the public is being prevented from hearing us until we reach them through our own means. Gab, Dissenter, and Torba’s work as a whole is crucial for free speech supporters in their push to obtain fair treatment online.
While Twitter and other platforms slink away from representing the freedoms of their users they look down on their founding. Jack Dorsey of Twitter prefers to think of Twitter as a global company, not just limited to its offices in America. Instead, he is proud of his platform which has absolutely inadequate customer service even though it has several campuses. Torba’s worldview contrasts sharply to that of the Silicon Valley CEOs.
“We have the luxury, the privilege, of being an American company,” Torba said, “so we can extend American civil rights and privacy protections to all of our users around the world, and indeed we do this every day.” Torba explains that Gab incessantly gets requests from foreign governments to remove content from their site that is deemed hateful and that Gab denies these requests. They do not care what people say. Gab believes in the first amendment and has the ability to stand by it as they are an American company. No matter where their users are, Gab promises the safety of free speech to those who use their platform.
Gab is growing by 10,000 followers a day at times and is one of the most promising platforms on the market. This is during the same era that Vice, CNN, BuzzFeed, and many other publications are having to rip staff out of their companies to stay afloat. No matter how many articles the media establishment publishes in an attempt to smear both Gab’s and Torba’s names, Gab is winning, and the media is dying. The American public is beginning to realize who the liars are, and who is the true threat to our freedoms.
This is only the third year of Gab, and the future seems more promising now than ever. Before Gab was useful for fighting against platforms that seemed to be pushing an agenda that forgot about the freedom-seeker’s world view, but now those platforms have degraded into being anti-conservative cesspits of false information and inflammatory content. Gab stands as the underdog, coming up against companies that still have millions of dollars in backing, but with a good heart and a great mission.
Gab proves to be what it claims to be. It is a free platform which refuses to censor its users. Although it has targeted certain people, including populists and libertarians, to make up the first users of the platform, all are welcome to join it.
Safe spaces and policing speech make for cushioned worlds in which nothing is learned. Although freedom does come with the unfortunate reality of having to deal with unpleasant people making use of their agency, it also comes with the gift of being able to experience civil people who have a different perspective than your own. No matter if someone is progressive, conservative, or even radicalized, an unfettered conversation is the only way to truly expand understanding. We can’t come together if we can’t hear one another, so platforms like Gab are our best hope for a good future.
If we don’t support the rise of platforms designed to protect our freedoms, then we aren’t even doing the simplest part to secure our rights.
Andrew Torba is a modern hero for conservatives, Americans, and people interested in freedom. His path has never been easy, and the powers that haunt our country have tried everything to disrupt Gab’s journey, but Torba has stayed strong, and Gab has stayed active.