Gab is a relatively new social network, centered around a microblogging platform which limits your posts to 300 characters. You might not want another social network in your life, or you may not wish to devote time to a social network that is just getting off the ground, but you should register an account and start using Gab right away. You can find me on http://gab.ai/CQW, it is where I do most of my social media posting these days.
Gab is the social network most dedicated to free speech, it is a founding principle. Free speech is more than just something given to you by the government, it is a principle which is all too lacking these days. Allowing people the space to grapple with ideas and not be punished for speculation or being wrong is an important tenet of enlightenment philosophy. The free flow of information and ideas is necessary for the pursuit of truth we each undertake within our own lives and for the effectiveness of republican government.
The degree to which modern western culture barely tolerates this historic virtue and principle is especially glaring at major social networks which do whatever they can to limit the flow of information, disrupt the space available to grapple with ideas and punish people who hold views they don’t agree with. Furthermore, these companies help censorious regimes like China, Turkey and Germany silence political critics. At Gab, free speech is the only reason it has to exist.
Gab doesn’t try and to control what you see and to decide what is or isn’t high quality content. You see all of the replies to posts, you see posts from the people you follow appear in chronological order. The trending hashtags are based entirely on how many posts containing them have been sent recently: no vanishing, no sponsorship, just an accurate representation of what’s going on on the network.
That’s not to say there aren’t criticisms of Gab. The userbase is drawn from the sorts of people who feel the weight of policies intended to restrict the free flow of information at Twitter and Facebook, and not the population at large. That means that #MAGA is more or less always trending. You can make Gab your primary or secondary social media platform, but for now, it has to be just one of several that you utilize if you want something better approximating the general public.
Another interesting thing about Gab is unlike most social networks which rely on selling your data to advertisers and selling ad space on their site, Gab is free of both ads and trackers. The trade-off is that Gab requires donations and premium features to stay afloat. This is ultimately, in my opinion, a more sustainable model. The value of keeping your data private is increasingly high as more and more services look to profit off of its customers and users. Advertisements, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is a bad move for anyone supporting the free expression of right wing opinions. Reliance on advertiser money is a way that the right is controlled by left-wing institutions. Gab has set itself up to be free from external pressure.
There’s one last thing that makes Gab a social network that is fun and exciting to use: it constantly gets better. It seems like every other week there are new features and tweaks to Gab that make the experience better and better. As I was writing this post, in fact, Gab rolled out group chats. This compares extremely well to services like Twitter and Reddit which have stagnant platforms that have only gotten less usable with time.
Gab is still limiting the number of people who can sign up, so if you visit their website, gab.ai, you’ll be met with a list you can add your e-mail to and wait for your turn to join. If you’d like to jump ahead of the line be invited to join Gab, leave a comment below or otherwise contact me and I will send you an invitation.