Free Speech Under Assault at Gab | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Free Speech Under Assault at Gab

On Monday, March 8, Ali Breland introduced himself to me via e-mail as a reporter for Mother Jones who was planning to do an article on Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab, a media platform which over the past few months had become the refuge of those who had been banned from Twitter.

The most famous refugee from Twitter was Donald Trump, who got banned from the platform he made famous with his tweets on January 8, 2021 under the preposterous pretext that calling his supporters “patriots” and refusing to attend the inauguration of the people who had stolen the election from him violated Twitter’s “glorification of violence policy.”1 Concluding that President Trump was guilty of “incitement of violence,” Twitter closed ranks with other big tech Internet oligarchs and kicked the president of the United States off their platform as a way of showing him and anyone who voted for him who was running the country.

Within hours of getting banned on Twitter, Torba welcomed Donald Trump with open arms to Gab. “It’s happening,” Torba said. “This is Gab’s moment, one that we have been preparing for now for over four and a half years.”2 Capitalizing on the de-platforming which spread through the Internet in the run up to the theft of the election, Gab branded itself as the free speech alternative to cancel culture and was immediately branded in return as a “haven for right-wing terrorists.”3 Big Tech’s attempt to demonize Trump and his expulsion from Twitter became a windfall for Gab, whose traffic increased by 120 percent in the 24 hours following the Capitol riot.

One month later, on February 7, Torba admitted that Trump had not migrated to Gab. In fact, he never used the platform.4 In a statement he posted on Gab, Torba wrote: “@realdonaldtrump is and always has been a mirror archive of POTUS’ tweets and statements that we’ve run for years. We’ve always been transparent about this and would obviously let people know if the President starts using it.” Torba went on to blame “media outlets that falsely reported that Trump himself was posting to the account” as the source of the misinformation.5