After the revelation that Facebook manipulated its trending topics section and a series of suspensions of conservative Twitter accounts, many people have expressed the need for an alternative social media outlet to share their views. In July, after Twitter banned Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, WikiLeaks threatened to create their own platform because “our supporters are threatened by a space of feudal justice.”
This led 25-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Torba to create a Twitter alternative called Gab.ai that promotes free speech.
“I’ve thought an alternative was needed for years now, but I started getting serious about it over the last six months or so,” Torba told Red Alert Politics. “A handful of companies in one of the most liberal cities in the world with the most progressive founders in the world decides what a billion people see everyday online as ‘news.'”
Gab, unlike other social media platforms, has an actual plan to protect free speech while ensuring its users are not breaking the law.
“The rules protecting free speech are pretty clear,” writes William Hicks of Heat Street. “Obviously, illegal activity like posting child porn and making death or terrorist threats are not okay, and could get a user banned. Other than that, users are free to speak their minds.”
Gab also plans to add filters allowing users to filter posts that may have words or topics they don’t want to see.
Gab’s appearance seems like a fusion between Reddit and Twitter. Users are able to use 300 characters for their posts, and, similar to Reddit, they’re able to vote up or down on other users posts.
Since its launch on Monday at 5pm PST, Gab has had a few hundred accounts sign up for its beta testing, and has approximately 9,000 on the waiting list, spread solely by word of mouth.
“The beta is successful because there is a very clear market need,” Torba said. “Millions around the world do not feel comfortable speaking freely or using social platforms that extort users for their data and profit, while at the same time censoring their ideas and influencers. It’s not just conservatives either, we are attracting a diverse group of people who all want one thing: to speak freely online.”
Torba said he plans to polish the website and release a mobile app in the next month or two.
He stressed that the project is about putting people’s rights first.
“It’s time for a conservative technology leader who can speak to the needs of a massive and disenfranchised conservative marker worldwide,” he said. “That being said, it’s important to note that we welcome anyone who believes they can not speak freely online. What we care about is simple: putting people’s free speech first.”