After going through a discussion of banned “hate” sites, this article describes the efforts by Gab to create an alternative Internet that would allow so-called “hate speech” to be expressed free of worry.
Gab is looking for venture capitalists to fund the new Internet.
Excerpt from Slate
Utsav Sanduja, the chief operating officer of Gab, described the “Free Speech Tech Alliance” to me as “a group of 100 engineers plus from Silicon Valley who are working with us behind the scenes to create an alternative infrastructure.” The movement’s goal is to own its own servers and run its own web hosting, domain registrar, DDoS protection software, cloud storage services, and encryption technology, not to mention social networks like Gab and other “free-speech”–centric alternatives, like a YouTube replacement called PewTube. Sanduja claims Gab has received “hundreds of applications” to join the alliance, which he says is purposefully being kept small in order to protect the identities of its members who fear losing their jobs at Silicon Valley companies. Though it’s unclear where exactly they work, at least a handful are on Google’s campus, Sanduja claims.
Gab is building off the work of a number of existing alternative web services hailing from the far right. Pax Dickinson, the former chief technology officer of Business Insider who left the company after Gawker revealed his racist- and rape joke–filled Twitter account, has started his own alt-right crowdfunding platform called Counter.Fund. There’s also Hatreon, a free speech–centric Patreon alternative, which states in its guidelines that “Hate speech is protected speech.” There’s an alt-right-friendly version of Wikipedia called Metapedia. There’s even a small alt-right dating website, Wasp.love, with the tagline, “Preserve your heritage! Be fruitful and multiply! Join WASP.love today!” Though these services are platforms for people who traffic in hate speech, they’re different from the message boards and forums of Stormfront and Gab, where white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideas are discussed and incubated, and where perpetrators of hate crimes like Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik find encouragement and become indoctrinated.
Dickinson is trying to appeal to investors, though he doesn’t seem hopeful. “Leftist VCs leap at the chance to signal their Leftism, regardless of how stupid the project is,” Dickinson lamented last week on Gab. (He declined to be interviewed for this piece.) Still, alt-tech adherents are convinced that there is a market for their services. “I expect the earliest adopters will be those with the most fringe and radical views who have already been kicked off of YouTube and other platforms,” said Anthony Mayfield, creator of PewTube. “But as the definition of someone who is a bad person who isn’t allowed to say things online begins to grow, I think the users of my platform and others like it will continue to become more and more mainstream.”
In the past two weeks, a handful of far-right video bloggers have jumped onboard to promote the nascent movement, including Styxhexenhammer666, a popular libertarian video blogger, whose two videos about the effort have notched almost 70,000 views. Others have posted “call to action” videos, rallying technologists to join the movement to build “new ‘free speech’ platforms,” which have also attracted thousands of viewers. While these might not read as huge numbers, they suggest a movement with a groundswell of grassroots support.
Here’s one Styx video mentioned by Slate:
Here’s the second Styx video calling for a new Internet:
Here’s a call to action: