The big social media sites have been clamping down on, well, pretty much any content that doesn’t advocate for something left of center. In response to this people whose personal ideology lies to the right of the center have been fleeing to other platforms. Those who fall towards the fascist side of the political spectrum have been fleeing to Gab, a social media site that advertises itself as a free speech platform. But hard times have befallen Gab because most of the services it relies on have decided to disassociate with it:
Gab, a “free speech” alternative to Twitter that’s popular with the far right, has been shut down after losing service from a number of mainstream technology platforms, including PayPal, Joyent, Medium, and GoDaddy.
“Gab is under attack,” the company’s home page now reads. “We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors.” Gab is working to get back online using new service providers.
Of course the language that “Gab is under attack” is hyperbole. Nobody is attacking Gab. Service providers who disagree with much of the speech that Gab hosts have decided to stop doing business with the social media site. Since Gab’s administrators have made themselves dependent on these service providers, they have found themselves in a rather awkward position.
I can’t say that I blame these service providers. If I administered a social media site, I wouldn’t let fascists use it to post their nonsense (I also wouldn’t let communists, Republicans, Democrats, or any other politically focused individuals use it) nor would I want to associate it with any service that did. However, if I was planning to setup a site to host, to put it politely, controversial content, I would ensure that I owned the infrastructure from top to bottom. The servers would be mine. I’d accept payment in cryptocurrencies so I wouldn’t be dependent on third-party payment processors. If it wasn’t the primary way to access the site, I’d at least publish a Tor Hidden Service address to protect against censorship from Internet service providers and domain registrars.
What gets me most about sites like Gab is that they advertise themselves as being willing to host controversial content but still make themselves dependent on third-parties that don’t want to associate with anybody who hosts such content. Setting up a website that is resistant to third-party censorship isn’t terribly difficult (and doesn’t require anywhere near the same level of care as hosting outright illegal content) but none of these sites bother to do it. It’s as if they want to be censored just so they have something to bitch about and can feed some kind of persecution complex.