For nearly two years, I’ve been an evangelist for Gab, a free-speech social media network that sprung up in the wake of Big Tech’s censorship wave during the 2016 election. Originally intended as a Twitter replacement, Gab boasted several major improvements over that site—such as the ability to edit your posts—and has since evolved to include messaging, video uploading, and streaming capabilities. Most importantly, the site did not censor or throttle right-wingers for their political views.
However, it’s clear that Gab can no longer function as a platform where sane people can promote their work and share their views.
In the past couple of months, Gab has been a major battleground in the collapsing alt-right and its conflict over optics and tactics. Individuals such as Ricky Vaughn, Andrew Anglin, and Weev have urging the dissident right to abandon Nazi imagery (even if they’re only using it ironically), avoid pointless real-life marches, and to adopt American nationalism in order to win over normal people. They’ve been resisted by individuals such as Christopher Cantwell, Paul Nehlen (yes, the Paul Nehlen who is supposed to be running against Paul Ryan), and Matthew Heimbach, who think that the white race will be saved through nonstop goon marches, LARPing, and screaming about Jews constantly.
Two days ago, Nehlen decided to dox Ricky Vaughn on Gab because Ricky had the temerity to make fun of Nehlen on a podcast. It’s worth pointing out that the dox has not been confirmed: Ricky is still posting on Gab as well as on Twitter and doesn’t appear to be affected by Nehlen’s lame attempt to silence him. I won’t link to the dox to protect Ricky’s privacy.
Nonetheless, the precedent set by Nehlen’s actions is chilling. While doxing is an ever-present threat for anonymous commentators—and I’ve advocated that people who use pseudonyms should always be prepared in the event they are doxed—Ricky was doxed not by a leftist, but by someone who was ostensibly on his side.
Why would anyone who has anything to lose get involved in the dissident right now? If you make the mistake of trusting a psycho like Nehlen who ends up doxing you over his hurt feeeeeelings, you could end up ruined, fired from your job, and a target for physical violence from the left.
To make matters worse, Andrew Torba, the head of Gab, has specifically refused to ban Nehlen. His logic is hilariously Pharisaical: because the dox hasn’t been confirmed to be real, it doesn’t violate Gab’s Terms of Service. In other words, Ricky needs to wait until antifa thugs show up at his door or he gets canned from his job before Torba will take any action:
Either Torba is playing favorites—he’s a longtime fan of Nehlen’s and fully supported the guy detonating his political career to rant about Jews—or he has a ludicrously autistic definition of what constitutes “free speech.” Doxing anonymous individuals such as Ricky Vaughn is depriving them of free speech, because without anonymity, they cannot speak without fear of becoming unemployable and a target for leftist violence. The fact that Torba doesn’t understand this means he cannot be trusted to protect Gab’s users.
It’s worth noting that Weev, one of a handful of users who have been banned from Gab, pointed this out months ago. We should have listened. Torba alleges he banned Weev for “direct calls to violent action,” yet has never produced any proof that Weev was in fact inciting violence.
Despite defending his ban of Weev to this day, Torba won’t lift a finger to ban Paul Nehlen, Christopher Cantwell, or the countless other waffendorks on Gab who engage in objectively worse behavior. For example, here’s a screenshot of Cantwell threatening me with violence because I dared to criticize him on Davis Aurini’s most recent live stream. Cantwell’s comment to me is several orders of magnitude worse than anything Weev ever said on Gab:
The hilarity of Cantwell acting like a tough guy on Gab is that he’s still on trial for his actions at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last year and his comments will no doubt be used to justify a guilty verdict. Not only that, I live in Europe, and due to Cantwell’s criminal record and his reputation as a violent “white supremacist,” if he were to ever come over here to carry out his threat, I could make one phone call and ensure he gets arrested and deported the second he sets foot on E.U. soil.
Then again, what do you expect from a guy who shoves meth up his asshole?
This is the problem with Gab: its “free speech” mission and Torba’s selective moderating has allowed it to devolve into a cesspool of the worst doxers, retards, and neo-Nazi scum. Torba’s persistent refusal to introduce a block button allows morons to free-ride off of more popular people’s content by spamming them with constant replies, dragging everyone down to the lowest common denominator.
By refusing to ban Nehlen, Torba has also now set a precedent that doxing people is acceptable on Gab, ensuring that more people will flee the site. White nationalists and neo-Nazis will take advantage of this to aggressively dox and stalk their “enemies.” Keep in mind that these people are so deranged that they regard anyone who doesn’t march around in a swastika armband bragging about killing Jews as an “enemy”:
White nationalists and neo-Nazis think doxing is acceptable because they are miserable losers with no future, no families, and no career prospects, and they want everyone else to be as miserable as they are. If you have anything to lose, you should stay as far away from them as possible.
Because of this, I will no longer be using Gab to promote my work.
On Tuesday, I cancelled my Gab Pro subscription (which was due to renew that day), and yesterday, I announced that I will no longer be posting on the site or even logging into my account anymore. While I’m not going to delete my account (mainly to ensure that some retard doesn’t try to impersonate me), I won’t be using or promoting Gab in any capacity until/unless Andrew Torba does these three things:
- Bans Paul Nehlen.
- Changes the Gab TOS to ban doxing.
- Introduces a block button.
As one of the more popular users on Gab—I have just shy of 6,000 followers there out of roughly 400,000 users total, equaling nearly two percent of Gab’s user base—my departure will be a minor blow to the site. Torba is under no obligation to accede to my demands, of course, but I’m also under no obligation to give his site money or publicity.
Gab has been absolutely worthless in regards to attracting traffic to my blog and YouTube channel anyway: the only time I’ve gotten a significant number of hits from the site is when I was writing about the FISA memo. I get more hits from Twitter and Facebook—two platforms I was banned from eons ago—than from Gab.
If you’re a Gab user who wants to keep up with my work, I recommend you cut out the middleman and subscribe to my mailing list, which you can do via the sign-up form in the sidebar (and you get two free e-books along with it). You can also subscribe to my RSS feed if you still use an RSS reader by clicking here. Finally, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here, my SoundCloud page here, and my Instagram account here (though I haven’t used the latter in a long time).
Good night, Gab, and good luck.
UPDATE (4/5/2018): Andrew Torba responded to this article within an hour of me posting it, snidely referring to me as an “obese blogger” and ignoring my arguments:
It’s interesting that Torba cannot fix basic problems with Gab (such as sluggish performance, the inability to resize avatar pictures, or the fact that the site regularly goes offline) but was able to find my article and whine about it almost immediately after it was published. He’s a typical millennial: unprofessional, petty, and thin-skinned, and Gab is his personal hugbox.
Additionally, leftist journalists are now attempting to harass and attack Ricky Vaughn thanks to Nehlen doxing him, which could have been prevented had Torba banned Nehlen in the first place.
UPDATE (4/5/2016): Andrew Torba has finally banned Paul Nehlen from Gab now that it is clear that his dox of Ricky Vaughn was real. He should have banned Nehlen several days ago, but he did the right thing regardless. I still will not be returning to Gab unless he implements points two and three.
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