Alternative social media companies have been taking in new users to their platforms in droves since Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others joined together to ban the United States President Donald J. Trump from their platforms.
Gab is just one of the social media companies that have reaped the benefits of big tech censorship on free speech alongside others like Parler and Minds. Gab recently released a tweet indicating that they’ve gained more users in the past two days than they did in the “first two years of existing.”
The drastic influx in new users resulting from Facebook’s, Twitter’s and Instagram’s ban on U.S President Donald Trump has not come without its fair share of difficulties, however.
Parler recently had Amazon drop them from their servers that were hosting their website and app. This means that the Parler website and app will be down until they can find someone who can host their servers – not an easy feat when you have a large number of users on your platform, requiring large servers.
The Parler CEO had this to say following Amazon’s move to drop the social media company from their servers;
“We will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions – we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”
Gab also reported discrimination since the launch of their website that they tout as “the free speech social network” on Twitter. Gab claimed that Visa had “Blacklisted” their “Business” and their “family for building Gab.”
It’s hard to understand why Visa would take issue with a company that describes themselves on their website as;
“A social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online. All are welcome.”
Perhaps Visa had an issue with Gab because companies like Wikipedia have described the company as “an American alt-tech social networking service known for its far-right and extremist userbase. Widely described as a haven for extremists including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right, it has attracted users and groups who have been banned from other social networks.”
Gab’s enormous growth
Gab recently posted on Twitter that they are gaining 700,000 new users per day and that they’ve had 40 million visitors this week alone following the removal of the U.S President from the big tech companies platforms.
Parler is going through what Gab has already been through
In 2017, Google removed Gab from its servers for “violating hate speech policy.” The removal came after Gab raised one million dollars through crowdfunding. In response to the removal by Google, Gab built their own servers, a browser system, their version of Youtube, built an email system – and even developed a messenger system similar to Facebook’s.
You don’t have to agree with the content that’s posted on Gab or Parlor – but you do need to support free speech. Why – because free speech is the mechanism by which a free and democratic society thinks and improves upon ideas.
For those that agree with the actions that were taken by big tech against these companies, you should know – incitement of hatred and willful promotion of hatred laws already exist. Censoring a company whose users content you don’t like is unnecessary and treads into dangerous territory.
Who gets to decide what is hateful speech – the courts or big tech companies? Are we as a society willing to let big tech and big business decide what is deemed acceptable speech? Doesn’t allowing for these decisions to be made by these companies give them an unfair market advantage? If big tech and business can pull the plug on all companies that they consider to be hosting “hate speech” without going through the court processes – can we really say we have a free market?
What the Criminal Code of Canada says
The Criminal Code of Canada defines Incitement of hatred as follows;
“Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.” and is guilty of “an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
Willful promotion of hatred is defined by the Criminal Code of Canada as “Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group” and is liable to “imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.” So as you can see – free speech is limited in some regard and laws are already in place to protect others.
Whatever your personal feelings are for companies like Parler and Gab, we should all agree on the importance of building our society around principles like free speech. It may not be a popular position to hold these days – but free speech is a fundamental cornerstone to a free and democratic society.
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