BBC on ‘Gab’

The BBC has a story on the Twitter competitior Gab (“Gab: Free speech haven or alt-right safe space?”):

It’s become the go-to social network for an extreme group of activists who have been chucked off of Twitter. So is a free speech alternative or just an alt-right safe space?

Its top hashtags list is a conservative dream. It’s peppered with trends like #Trump, #MAGA (“Make America Great Again” – Trump’s campaign slogan) along with far-right obsessions like Dump Star Wars and the Pizzagate conspiracy hoax.

But while its founder is indeed a self-identified conservative, does not want to be an exclusive hangout for Republicans, right-wingers or the fringe white nationalist alt-right.

Andrew Torba worked in Silicon Valley before moving to Austin, Texas, where he runs Gab today. He says he was inspired by reports that Facebook had been deliberately excluding stories about right-wing politicians in its trending topics section – a story BBC Trending covered earlier this year.

Torba describes himself as a conservative Christian and says he’s no fan of the alt-right, but he believes that the recent move by Twitter to kick off several prominent alt-right activists is part of a larger trend towards limiting freedom of expression.

“What we’ve seen happening over the past 18 months or so is extensive censorship and suppression of specifically conservative ideas, news sources and individuals around the world,” he says. “Social networks are hiding behind the guise of very subjective terms and guidelines, so they call things hate speech and harassment.”

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