Just days ago, Twitter shocked the nation and international community alike by purging Donald J. Trump from its platform. Like hyenas, Big Tech companies attack in packs, and Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, and payment processor Stripe all quickly followed suit with their own bans and restrictions on the President.
This dramatic full-spectrum “un-personing” of the President of the United States from the American digital communications infrastructure marks a clarifying inflection point in Americans’ understanding of what kind of country they live in, and who or what ultimately controls it. Big Tech’s deplatforming of Donald Trump also marks a dark culmination to the war that Big Tech declared on free speech, the internet, and Trump supporters alike, most infamously revealed in a leaked video of Google senior executives reacting hysterically to Trump’s 2016 win and vowing “never again.”
Perhaps most uncomfortably, Big Tech’s de-platforming of the President drives home the severe and tragic inadequacy of the conservative assessment of and response to the threat Big Tech poses to our most basic freedoms. These conservative responses ranged from impotent grandstanding for fundraising purposes, to the ideological rationalization of serfdom on the basis that our feudal overlords were not technically part of the government (notwithstanding their essential financial entanglements with government).
In recent days, Parler, the more establishment-friendly alternative to Twitter, has received a harsh lesson on the realities of the so-called “free-market.” In just days, the unprepared “free-speech” company was banned from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Amazon, which hosted their website, withdrew services, effectively taking Parler off the internet entirely. As if that weren’t enough, even Parler’s legal team has abandoned them. Evidently, building one’s own Twitter also requires building one’s own app stores, domain host, and law firm — just for starters!
Enter Andrew Torba and Gab. Torba launched Gab in 2016, two years before Parler, as a free-speech alternative to Twitter — and he meant it. Largely due to his principled defense of free-speech, Torba and Gab suffered the slings, arrows, smears, defamations, and attempted deplatforming inevitably visited upon any brave soul who dares stand up to the corrupt Globalist American Regime and its censors. Torba dealt with each attempt at deplatforming with persistence, intelligence, and ingenuity. Over time, he developed not only enviable battle-scars, but a real self sufficiency, anti-fragility and robustness for Gab that few, if any, non-Globalist sites can match.
Gab’s hard-won robustness seems to have finally paid off, with an unprecedented tsunami of new users flocking to the site in the wake of Twitter purges and Parler’s collapse. Revolver News connected with Torba for an exclusive interview to discuss his vision for Gab as an emerging free-speech juggernaut in the tech space.
Revolver: President Trump has been banned from Twitter and largely de-platformed from expressing himself on the internet. Why is it crucial for the President, his supporters, and more broadly for our country that Trump circumvent the censors and get on Gab?
Andrew Torba: What we have happening now in America is unprecedented. These unelected Silicon Valley oligarchs are acting as gatekeepers over what the American people can and can not hear from their President, Donald J. Trump. Similar to how they’ve put masks over our mouths this past year, they’re now attempting to muzzle the leader of the free world and keep him from communicating with his supporters at this most critical hour. At Gab, we don’t believe that the answer to disagreements is censorship, but more dialog and more debate. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. You can’t have that when one side can unilaterally mute the other because they don’t like what they’re saying.
It’s imperative at this point that President Trump reconnect with everyone who supports him, not only for their sake, but so he can see how much he is supported by The People.
There’s a scene in the movie Jaws where the main characters are comparing their scars. Now that tens of millions of Americans are being chomped by the same sharks of Silicon Valley that first came for you and Gab years ago, can you tell of the story of your scars? That is, name all the technology platforms and payment processors that have banned or blocked Gab, and tell us when and how they did it.
There’s so many at this point it’s almost better to go by category first. We’ve been banned from both Google and Apple’s app stores. We’ve been deplatformed by hosting platforms like Microsoft Azure, Joyent, Backblaze, and Amazon Web Services. We’ve been banned by GoDaddy and Shopify, third-party tools like embedly, Mailgun, and Medium. We’ve been banned from StartEngine and Patreon. We can’t even use Twitter ads to advertise our existence to anyone.
Gab took the time to build all of our own tools and resources over the course of many years. Our team never gave up and worked 100 hour weeks for four years straight. Our community stayed with us and supported us. Gab has people from all different locations, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, cultures, and more. What unites us is our shared belief in protecting the freedom of speech at all costs. We unite despite our many differences to overcome adversity and emerge victorious against all odds. If that’s not the American spirit, I don’t know what is.
Now Gab has become the single most resilient and battle-hardened social media company in the world. We own our own servers. We can’t be banned from those servers. There is literally no other community in the world that can do what we are doing right this moment. Gab is the fastest growing website in internet history. The Rubicon has been crossed, the die cast, and the Big Tech Exodus has begun.
Is it true some of these tech companies not only came for you personally for the simple crime of keeping free speech in Gab’s terms of service, but some even banned your family members by extension as well?
You would think we were living in Communist China, because Visa banned my family via the blacklisting of my personal address, phone number, etc. My wife can’t open a merchant processing account because we share an address. That’s the level of control that these oligarchs have and this is what they will do to anyone who dares to dissent against them.
My family and I are just the test case. This needs to be stopped now. They are coming for anyone guilty of “wrong-think” next. We are seeing this unfold now with the President being banned from payment processors like Stripe. Both the President and anyone who even remotely supported him is being systemically removed from the internet and the financial services infrastructure. This should terrify everyone, even those who do not support the President.
You are a creature of Silicon Valley. Your last startup project was at Y Combinator, the most prestigious technology incubator in the world. You could have made millions as a decorated tech entrepreneur in the halcyon days of easy VC money. Why on earth did you throw that all away to start Gab?
I wouldn’t say I’m a creature of Silicon Valley. Unlike Joe Biden, who abandoned Scranton at ten years old, I was born and raised in Scranton, PA. I graduated from the University of Scranton. My entire family is here.
Joe Biden is not the scrappy Scranton guy, I am.
To say that man represents our community is an insult to the great people of Scranton. He left us as a child and never came back unless it was to raise money from our great people. I went out to Silicon Valley for a year and half and was horrified by what I saw and learned. It was then that I decided to come back to my hometown in order to build the home of free speech on the internet and put Scranton on the map.
I’m not sure I’d say I “threw it all away” as much as I was blacklisted for being an openly Christian Trump supporter. The simple fact of the matter is that our God-given right to free speech matters more than ever. If we abandon free speech, we abandon the core fundamental founding principle that made this nation great in the first place.
There’s nothing more important. Not money. Not fame. Not status. Most people in Silicon Valley sell their souls to the devil for these things. I want none of these things. I simply want my children to grow up with the free and open internet that I grew up with and to export free speech from the United States of America to the rest of the world.
Nothing less, nothing more.
Tell us about your success this week. I heard you had more users sign up in the past two days than in the first two years. Is that true?
We’ve certainly reached a major tipping point and it proves that the demand for real free speech platforms and products exists. This week alone Gab has had over 43 million visits to the site and almost one million people signing up daily.
People are tired of being treated like children online. They refuse to be silenced just because they said something unpopular with the outrage mob. The big mistake is that we’ve entrusted protecting free speech to a handful of hostile, vitriolic, and tyrannical companies for far too long. These oppressive technological regimes simply can’t be tolerated anymore.
It’s been noted that while Big Tech platforms continues to lobby for Section 230 protection, which prevents legal liability for the content users freely post on their platforms, these platforms have all banned Gab for what allowing people to freely post content. I know you are a critic of repealing Section 230 protections. So what should we do?
I think we need to enforce Section 230. If we get rid of 230, that opens up smaller platforms like Gab to unending frivolous lawsuits, and the unintended consequence is that these hostile platforms which have all the money and can afford all the lawyers become the only “choice” available for everyone. So you have to maintain protections for the little guy, first and foremost, because Gab and other startups deserve the right to compete in the free market and win.
I also think framing an Internet Bill of Rights should be a top priority for lawmakers to make sure these unelected Silicon Valley oligarchs can’t simply silence someone and that there’s a legal framework in place to help protect The People.
They will try to destroy you, Andrew. Now more than ever. The world witnessed the geopolitical implications of free speech in the form of Donald Trump’s election, Brexit, and other democratically supported, massively popular events that undermined many deep, elite, globalist structures. How are you going to defend Gab against nearly every corrupt institution in the Western world? How can people support you?
The best way to support Gab is for users to go GabPRO, donate, and tell a friend about Gab. Instead of supporting something like a Netflix which pumps filth into your living room, consider using those funds to sign up for GabPRO and help us protect free speech.
Other Silicon Valley social media sites harvest all kinds of user data and they make a profit by selling that data. We don’t see our customer as a product, and so we don’t harvest any of that kind of data; rather, we see Gab community members as a people with freedoms and inalienable rights. We believe in the value-for-value model. If you are deriving value from Gab, we ask that you consider signing up for Pro or donating to support our mission.
The MAGA movement is littered with many ex-libertarians who used to believe you could “build your own.” Then they witnessed the graveyard of countless companies who were deplatformed by Big Tech, and died of suffocation because they could not “build their own” platforms without using applications from Google or Amazon, WordPress, payment processors, email services, domain hosts, or social media access. Gab stands alone for its resilience. What have you had to build, and what are you building next?
We are working on some really exciting projects, including our own smartphone, that I can’t quite talk about right now. Most recently, we launched Gab TV. Gab TV is our YouTube replacement. We aren’t just building a free speech social network, we are building a free speech internet and infrastructure to replace all of Silicon Valley.
The only reason we’re able to do any of this is because of the backing of our great community, the tireless work of our amazing team, and because of Jesus Christ and his power and rule over our lives. Without that, we’d be sunk like so many others.
As if Parler wasn’t having a bad enough week, reports have come out of a massive data breach on Parler immediately prior to it being taken down by Amazon. If you would, please say a little bit about how Gab thinks about and handles data privacy and security issues for its users.
We have no interest in your data because we’re not selling it to anyone. All we care about is protecting free speech, and the free flow of information online. The only thing Gab requires for sign up is an email address. We have zero trackers on our products.
We even have our own web browser, Dissenter, that blocks Big Tech ads and trackers. Gab is the most pro-privacy platform on the internet. We take security very seriously and we are ramping up our security team, efforts, and infrastructure as one of our top priorities on the engineering side of things. We work very hard to ensure users have the privacy that they deserve because privacy is a crucial component of being able to speak freely and authentically.
What would it mean for Gab, and you, your family, and your team who have been through so much, for President Trump to join your platform this week?
I come from a humble middle class family and town. Everyone in my extended family has sacrificed so much over the past four and a half years for Gab to get to this point. Every moment of sacrifice and struggle has been worth it to know that we have a place where The People can speak freely online away from these Silicon Valley tyrants, but I know that this is bigger than my family and I.
I believe the American People need to hear from President Trump. So many of us voted for him, supported him for these past four years, and still support him to this day. He says 75 million, but in truth, it’s probably many more – and he knows that. We’ve been building and preparing for this day for over four years now. If Silicon Valley can do this to the President of the United States – they can and will do it to anyone.
It’s important that The People see President Trump fight back against this Silicon Valley censorship and the entrenched bureaucrats in Washington who would love to see him de-platformed and silenced forever. There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the country right now. The People are looking for leadership and guidance. President Trump has been the Champion of The People. He has given us a voice again and we are here to make sure that he has his.
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