- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One of the most frequently wondered questions in this whole social media censorship of conservatives’ debate coursing through our nation, all the way to Congress, is why the ideological right can’t create an Internet-based community of its own, one that bypasses the libs at Facebook and Twitter and Google — one that offers First Amendment-like freedoms to all, as founders intended.

Well, Gab.com did just that. Gab is the conservative alternative to Twitter. But now Gab is being attacked for its free-thinking atmosphere and getting hit where it hurts the most: on its fiscal bottom line.

Why?

In Gab’s view, it’s because they gave the Twitter-banned Alex Jones — yes, that Alex Jones, the Infowars king — a platform and a page.

And for that, they must pay — that’s the apparent thinking of the left.



An email from Your Friends at Gab.com goes like this: “It’s interesting how we’ve never had any issues with either of our payment processors for over two years now, but all of a sudden when Gab.com is the only platform on the internet to host Alex Jones and defend free expression for all people, we become the target. In the last two weeks both of our payment processors have threatened to or have frozen our service.”

Interesting, yes. Interesting and curiously coincidental.

PayPal, one of the processing companies, hasn’t yet terminated, but has threatened — and it’s not just over Jones. Apparently, PayPal has also taken on the job of Meme Watchdog.

Paypal … threatened to … terminate our service … a few weeks ago over a meme from 2012 called ‘Navy Seal Copypasta,’” Gab wrote. “They took the meme literally like idiots who know nothing at all about basic internet culture. We refused to censor the meme because the context and intent were very clear. We have not heard back since we told them this 11 days ago and our account is still active as of now.”

Of now — and for now. Gab’s walking on eggshells on that one.

Without payment processing, how can a business survive?

Stripe, which is Gab’s other payment processing company, demanded a change in terms of service that would make clear “adult or illegal content cannot be streamed through GabTV or otherwise distributed through the Gab service” — a demand the social media company said was frivolous and needless.

“[W]e already do not allow any illegal content and take action against it,” Gab said. “Further, any adult content must be marked as NSFW (Not Safe For Work) per our user guidelines, which is a similar feature that Reddit and others have for adult content on their site.”

Gab also pointed out that Stripe does business with Facebook, Pinterest and Squarespace, despite the fact all these outlets have postings that are adult in nature.

So what’s Gab doing to fight off these demands?

They’re trying a crowdfunding route, “You, The People,” in hopes of moving away from reliance on outside payment processors.

Sounds a plan. Moreover, sounds a plan conservatives tired of the social media censorship ought to support.

After all, it’s one thing to sit at home and complain about the state of political affairs, free speech, leftist takeover of social media and so forth. It’s much better — much more proactive, much more patriotic, much more empowering — to take those complaints and turn them into action.

The left, after all, isn’t going to cede its social media ground or give up its censorship powers absent some direct regulation from federal authorities. It’s wasted time, waiting on the left to self-control.

So maybe, just maybe, with help from like-minded free thinkers, Gab can beat the leftists running these Internet sites at their own game — and in so doing, become the model for “what could one day be” for the conservative world on social media. It’s worth a try, at least.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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