Looks like cess-pool social media site Gab is finished

Gab was established as an alternative social media site to Twitter in 2016 but really only took off last year when it opened registrations. While it now has a reputation primarily as a safe-haven for overt neo-Nazis, many conservatives joined optimistically because of Gab’s claims to support ‘free-speech’. The term ‘free-speech’ here meaning something like ‘unmoderated comments on an internet platform’: there were rules and limitations but they were thin and difficult to enforce.

The consequences were predictable. The loudest, nastiest voices crowded out the less loud, less nasty. The idea that being able to mute comments or give-as-good-as-you-get would make a social network self-policing was already obviously nonsense but the right had convinced itself with misapplied rhetoric about ‘free-speech’ that somehow it would despite years of evidence from other internet forums, comment sections etc that it wouldn’t. Rapidly Gab became a haven for the most overtly extreme.

The mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh by a far-right antisemite brought added attention to Gab when it was revealed that the alleged shooter had essentially announced their intent on the platform. However, the site had been banned by both the Apple Store and Google play some time ago and was forced to remove two anti-semitic messages in August when Microsoft threatened to cut its services. Now GoDaddy has told Gad to seek a different domain registrar on the grounds that Gab had broken GoDaddy’s terms of service https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/28/far-right-social-network-gab-goes-offline-after-godaddy-tells-it-to-find-another-domain-registrar/ This isn’t the first time Gab has lost its domain registrar: in September last year Asia Registry dumped the network because of anti-Semitic comments promoting genocide: https://www.newsweek.com/nazis-free-speech-hate-crime-jews-social-media-gab-weev-668614 However, this time this is just one of multiple pressures on Gab including payment options and webhosting services withdrawing cooperation https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/10/29/a-look-at-gab-the-free-speech-social-site-where-synagogue-shooting-suspect-posted

Regulars will remember that I covered Gab last September when there was a spectacular falling out between Gab and alt-right publisher Vox Day https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/that-vox-v-gab-think-explained-as-best-i-can/ As far as I can tell the threats of legal action went nowhere but the fallout is instructive. Less than five months after opening publicly for business, the culture at Gab had become so toxic that it was too unpleasant for even Vox Day.

With had at least a decade (arguably multiple decades) of an apparently sincere argument from conservatives that being moderated in chat rooms, forums, comment sections or social media platforms is an attack on free-speech. In that time the right has been unable to put forward a workable alternative. Experiments in unmoderated platforms have followed the same spiral into obnoxious-extremity without even a civil veneer over the hate and actual speech, with even conservative ideas being rapidly crowded out. Gab’s ‘free-speech’ model didn’t create a pleasant sanctuary from ‘political correctness’ but instead just let the very worst people shout down everybody else (even other anti-Semites and cryptofascists!).

I hope this is the end for Gab but I suspect the spiral down the plug hole will drag on for awhile yet.

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19 thoughts on “Looks like cess-pool social media site Gab is finished

  1. I’d play them a sad tune on my violin, but I can’t find it on account of how tiny it is…

    (Also a handy reminder of what it means when VD says he’s sueing someone – nowt!)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. In other vanishingly-small-violin news, seems JBP’s followers have turned on him today too, since he suggested toxic meme culture contributed to the violence and anti-Semitism on display this weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I always thought this was one of the two or so things Ayn Rand got right. When the cynical, disillusioned publisher decides to stop egging the crowd on and finally do something decent with his power, he finds that he only had ‘power’ when he was telling people to give in to their worst instincts.

      And what do you know, here it is. Jolly as it may be to see him snubbed, I see this as a chilling warning to anyone on his side who dares to talk sense. “You are not of The Body.” “You are un-mutual.” “Enemy of the People!”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My first thought was Jeanut Butter Pelly.

        No, I don’t have anything constructive to add.

        Except it’d be nice if, y’know, these services could’ve acted *before* tragedy struck. It might not have stopped anything but 11 dead shouldn’t be the requirement to shut down hate.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One right wing pundit didn’t jump on the false flag bandwagon in response to the pipe bombs, so of course he becomes the victim of an anti-semitic attack, just before the synagogue shooting, as reported at
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2018/10/29/wingnut-on-wingnut-crime-wiles-vs-shapiro/
        Mike Pence ropes in a Messianic Jewish Rabbi to offer prayers. (Sputnik News describes as well-intentioned.)
        https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/mike-pence-christian-rabbi-midterms-campaign-jews-for-jesus.html

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  3. It’s only a temporary turning on Peterson. That’s the joy of the grift — as long as you continue to be useful in declaring righteous authoritarian power, some factions will follow you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In Voxopedia news, the two most entertaining cranks on the site (well, after Bihorr, whose entries, by the way, remain most likely because getting rid of them would be work) have apparently returned after a lengthy absence. One wonders how long before they resume their hilarious feud over which one of them is an irredeemable nut.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As usual, these people don’t understand what “free speech” really means. In the US at least, the First Amendment only applies to Congress: i.e. Congress, or those in charge, can’t pass laws banning speech. Private companies, like Facebook, Twitter (if @jack would get his head out of his ass) can ban anything and anyone they damn well please, and if individual users don’t like it, they can delete their accounts and go elsewhere.

    (And yes, depending on the ownership, that can certainly be a double-edged sword, but as Cam pointed out, no moderation or restrictions at all just means ever-growing extremity and toxicity.)

    But the alt-right and people like them reinterpret that as “free speech for me, but not for thee”: that is, they can spew whatever evil resides in their black, rotted little hearts, and the targets of their vitriol can’t object or fight back. It’s another fact of their hierarchical, authoritarian mindset. They’re on top of the heap, or think they should be, and whatever they say goes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beale is waxing philosophic, declaring that as awful as Gab was it deserved to exist. (No, no it didn’t.) And that yes, sometimes bad things happen to bad people, but that doesn’t mean they’re good. To which I reply, “Depends on the bad thing and the bad people”.

      In this case–yeah, it’s a good thing.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It says a great deal that the flaming wreckage of Gab provokes a response from Beale that at least approximates empathy.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Since everything I know I learned from the Simpsons, I’ve started fixating on how you visualize the last sentence of your essay. Is the water draining down the plug hole going in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction? And are there koalas involved?

    Shallow minds need to know.

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