Gab: Digital Home of Free Speech

Ivan Josip Anić
Mar 3 · 3 min read

Gab, the American social networking service, has gained some popularity in recent years. Gab promises its users the benefit of free speech.

Could Gab be the one to overthrow mainstream social media of today?

What is Gab?

A description on the site reads:

“We believe that users of social networks should be able to control their social media experience on their terms, rather than the terms set down by Big Tech.”

Gab is a self-proclaimed “free speech social network” that is on a mission to “defend, protect and preserve free speech” to all its online users. It has been around since 2016. The platform is a mix of something you get from Twitter and Facebook. Unlike these social media networks, Gab has virtually no moderation of the content that users post. Which makes sense, considering the free speech aspect of the platform.

Although it supports freedom of speech, Gab blocks posts that involve “illegal activity, threats of violence, doxing, pornography, child exploitation, and spam,” which, Gab claims, it takes action to prevent and remove.

As of April 2020, Gab reported 1,157,000 cumulative registered accounts and 3.7 million monthly visitors globally, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission’s annual report.

Why is it controversial?

Most of the users on Gab are merely banned users of other social networking platforms for various political reasons. Some of the examples are Richard Spencer or Alex Jones. A potential user of it could have been Donald Trump. White House officials were considering getting him an account on Gab when Twitter banned him.

Posts on Gab range from political discussions and memes to baseless conspiracy theories and misinformation. Content like this is usually banned on other platforms. With that being said, Gab content is something you wouldn’t get a chance to see on today’s well-known mainstream social networks.

The future of Gab

It’s clear why this social media platform earned a notorious status.

The continuous bans ultimately led some users to feel that the mainstream social media platforms were censoring their opinions. And it’s easy to see why people are migrating to Gab.

Even though this social platform has a bad reputation — its sparking curiosity because of its contrast to other social media platforms.

Gab might turn out to be one of the biggest mainstream social media platforms, but it might lose its original approach and start censoring content that is not likeable by the majority of its community. Gab could even be shut down completely due to successfully executed lawsuits or by massive hacking interfering.

There might also be a sort of “shift” on Gab. It might not be looked upon as only a social media with people who got banned on other platforms. It could, in time, become a basic site just like Facebook, Twitter but with no restrictions on free speech.

Facebook and Twitter in general, are not portrayed as the good guys anyway, so in time, anyone could migrate to Gab, be it because of the political or non-political aspects.

Who knows? Maybe Gab might gain a title as “one of those sites” that are ridiculed and not taken seriously. It can become a site that changed the internet as we know it today.

Nothing is for sure, but for now, the site remains, and all we can do is kick back and watch it progress day by day.

Digital Reflections

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