Main reason to give Gab.ai a shot
The rise of free-to-use and widely-open-to-anyone-who-has-access-to-the-internet social media sites of last decade is probably one of the most transformative phenomena in the history of humankind. One part of it, of course, is the ease of publishing and access to the information. Another is the sheer scale of the information array that is there for being accessed. Together, these two parts ensure that some alluring content is always only a few clicks away, inadvertently creating an ideal climate for perpetual “gold digging”, which successfully entangles more and more self-assembled treasure hunters with each and every day. For good or ill, the internet social media has found its way into the daily routine of over a billion of people. Only question remaining is “What’s gonna be its final form?”
Social media, as an industry, isn’t all that innovative. Instagram and Snapchat, the few rare exceptions in social media that have “made it”, prove like nothing else that even “the next big thing” is often in taking the good old thing and tweaking it to be, if you will, a bit snappier.
The old social media kings, though, due to their brand names and exposures, never had to feel any real heat, at least, in terms of being outright replaced. To remain at the top, with all the audience being already in their hands, all that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, seemingly, had to do to stay on top of their respective leagues, is to continue providing services. Bizarrely enough, even this simple task, recently, started proving too hard for the media giants.
While politics are boring, and I won’t pretend to really care about some conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos being banned from Twitter, or about the content of YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson being demonetized, the news about things like these leave a bad taste in my mouth also. Even if I wasn’t directly following any of the content creators that are getting banned and having their content demonetized, I would still be averse to any ill-founded bans and restrictions that a platform I’m using might be issuing, for one very simple reason: “If it can be someone, it can be anyone.”
It’s one thing if a platform defines itself as being purposed for “all things related to pink flamingos”, then bans shows about sharks. Another is referring to your platform as “utility,” then proceeding to ban, demonetize and otherwise censor content, that is perfectly in line with the rules.
Perhaps, “cuckolds” would be a fitting term to describe a group of people who don’t stand for what they, simultaneously, describe as their main mission. Twitter claims its mission is “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information”, but I struggle to see how excluding someone from using Twitter for criticizing the terrible remake of Ghostbusters (and for also being a conservative) is consistent with the “everyone” part. So, if one was to believe the rest of the quote, he or she can only find that Twitter’s actual mission is “To give some people the power to create and share ideas and information, but we won’t tell you what the rules are.” (I would phrase it “share ideas in 140 characters or less”; more suitable and also catchy.) And then, to finally find out what the rules were, for most people, probably won’t even be a pleasant surprise.
In my humble opinion, there’s value to be had in occasionally offending people’s stupidity. Despite what you may or may not extract from that, that doesn’t also mean that I enjoy being a tyrant. Actually, quite the opposite.
When I write an edgy joke, I don’t wanna worry about whether or not my account can be taken down because of it. Equally, I don’t want the content creators that I follow, to limit the scope of their content, just because they feel like they have to worry about some unnecessary political bullshit. But, less than any of the above, do I want to tyrannize the owners or the developers of a platform, that aren’t happy with me saying whatever I want to say. “Why have kids if all you ever wanted was a residence? I’d rather find someone else.”
This is why I wanna use Gab.ai — the actively developing and already promising new social media platform (functionality-wise, it currently mostly resembles Twitter), and don’t wanna use Twitter. Gab works on expanding their product and making it the best it can be; Twitter works on banning people and making it so all the top replies to Trump’s tweets are negative. Gab has drive and ambition; Twitter has censorship of hashtags. Gab welcomes you to post whatever you want for as long as it’s within the law; Twitter welcomes you to post threats of physical violence for as long as you are an ISIS supporter, or identify as a member of some another, more domestic, terrorist group.
The half-ass free speech was never that fun, to begin with, and now might be the time to start building something better.
As of right now, Gab might not have the biggest range of topics that are being actively discussed all the time, outside of politics, and has yet to have its commitments to free speech tested. Though, what Gab does have is prerequisites of a company that actually believes in its mission, is eager to work hard on their product (they are releasing features at quite a rapid rate, while only having a handful of employees), and has potential to build something great, something that I finally might be happy about using.
While nothing in life is guaranteed, Gab, so far, is showing fair bits of promise, while also painting a picture that is consistent with their expressed commitments. I’m not building a free speech social media platform myself, so, supporting currently existing growing ones is the least I can do, given that I wanna have some of them be around in the future.