Gab (company)

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Gab
Gabfrog.png
Gabscreenshot.PNG
Screenshot of Gab posts
Web address gab.com
Slogan Free Speech for Everyone
Type of site
Social network service and Micro-blogging
Registration Required (to post, follow, or have followers)
Available in English
Users 670,000 as of September 20, 2018
Written in PHP
Owner Gab AI, Inc.
Launched 15 August 2016; 5 years ago (15 August 2016) (beta)[1]
Current status Active (available for open registration since May 2017)

Gab is a 2016 Silicon Valley startup that has created a free speech alternative to Twitter. Its subscriber ramp-up has been one of the fastest in Internet history. Gab is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 300-character messages. Gab went live in 2016. [2][3]

Leadership

The Gab project was founded, and is led, by Ekrem Büyükkaya (Turkish programming developer, designer, and Gab co-founder) and Andrew Torba (American entrepreneur and current CEO of Gab).

"Gabby the GAB Frog" had been the signature logo of Gab; it was designed by a Creative Director of the company and had been in use since the website's launch in August, 2016. Although Gabby was compared to Pepe the Frog, Torba states that

The logo is a frog for these reasons: 1. Exodus 8:1-12 2. Psalms 78:45 3. Frogs have many symbolic meanings including cleansing, healing, renewal, rebirth, fertility, abundance and metamorphosis."

In September 2018, Gabby was replaced by a logo consisting of "gab" in the same green as the frog.

Utsav Sanduja, Gab’s Chief Communications Officer and Global Corporate Affairs Director, adds

Gabby the frog was drawn from antediluvian and Biblical sources. First, from Exodus 8:2–7, which is the plague of frogs. The frog serves as a metaphor for Gab “releasing the frogs” on Silicon Valley to expose their corruption, censorship, and information monopoly on the web. Secondly, the African Bullfrog was a source of inspiration after Andrew viewed a Youtube video of this species digging a channel between a drying up pond and a lake to save his tadpoles. Finally, frogs have historically symbolized transformation, rebirth and fertility dating back to the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.[4]

Features

Gab is a free online social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read short blog-like messages called gabs. Gab enables its users or gabbers to post up to 300 characters in one message[5] and to access additional functionality via using tags: a # option (hashtag) to reference hash topics, an @ option (username) to reference other users, a : option (emoji) to insert emoticons, and the option to add several hyperlinks and images to each message. Gab is described as a social network focused on upholding its users' Freedom of expression.[6][7] Only registered users can read, post, upvote, or downvote gabs currently. Gab is currently based in San Mateo, U.S.A.. Gab continues to add features.

History

Gab was created in response to social media controversy around freedom of expression and censorship,[8][9][10][11][12] and entered into the beta release of the website as of Monday, August 15, 2016.[13] By early October, 2016, Gab had over 50,000 users and a waiting list of over 80,000. Well-known users who have moved entirely to Gab from Twitter, or utilize both social media sites, include Milo Yiannopoulos, Tila Tequila, Mike Cernovich, Charles C. Johnson, Mercedes Carrera, and Vox Day. Torba said in November that the site's user base had expanded significantly following censorship controversies involving major social media companies,[14] including the permanent suspensions from Twitter of several prominent conservative and "alt-right" accounts.[15]

After some reticence, Gab began to accept donations via PayPal in early October, 2016. This was met with enthusiasm as well as controversy, prompting Torba to publish a brief statement on the history and philosophy of Gab, on Oct 5[16]:

I want to clear up the confusion about some baseless claims that have been made against myself, the company, @e, and our entire #GabFam earlier today. A few weeks ago we started vetting some potential early investors and senior-level technical employees to help us continue to grow Gab and promote free speech.

We exercised extreme vetting and slowly attempted to build trust, judge character, and team fit. Unfortunately our trust was broken after a toxic attack on our community and libelous falsehoods were sent to the press by certain people we were vetting.

I want to make a few things very clear: The co-founders of Gab are myself and @e. Period. @e and I have completely self-funded Gab by ourselves with no pay for months. We have not accepted one outside investor. Our donations Paypal account is a business account and attached to a business bank account. The email address used for the Paypal account is my business email address. I will be updating this to “donate@gab.ai” to clear up confusion. We will be adding much more transparency and value-adds for donors over the next several days.

We have been attacked by the press. We have been attacked by anonymous trolls. We have been attacked by folks that we trusted and had high hopes for. Each time we have emerged a stronger, more unified community. Thank your for continuing to support us and our mission of putting people first and promoting free speech for all.

In April 2017, Gab announced a premium subscription service for Gab named Gab Pro. Gab Pro has a monthly option for $5.99 a month. The subscription allows users to have private chats for up to 25 people, which was later added for all users with two users maximum and Gab Pro with 50 maximum. Messages are deleted after 24 hours. Gab Pro subscribers can also view a topic breakdown for other users, make lists of users to sort their home feed, stream on GabTV (Gab's livestreaming service), and more easily get their profile verified. Subscribers also get a "PRO" badge next to their posts. As of July 24, 2017 the subscription service had over 2,200 subscribers.[17] In July 2017 Gab also started an investment project which has yielded over $290,000 as of July 24th.[18] As of July 24, 2017, Gab was the third highest funded current project on StartEngine.

By July 10, 2017, Gab was reported to have more than 190,000 users from around the world with users creating more than 1,000,000 Gabs per month.[18]

On January 4, 2018, Gab announced in a gab by Andrew Torba that the number of users was about to hit 375,000.

In September, 2018, Andrew Torba announced that Gab had 670,000 total users.[19] Many of the new members were in Brazil, where a popular poster had been banned from Twitter.

Design

Gab's design is a mix of Twitter and Reddit.[20][21] The color theme is a simple combination of black text on white panels (B&W) together with pink tags of hash topics and usernames. Gab's interface shows scrolling message updates in a vertical scrollable timeline, based on the specific Gabbers followed. User posts start at a 'like' count of zero and may be rated by all Gabbers; similar to Reddit, an upvote and downvote system allows users to add or detract Gab points from a user's profile. Posts with the highest upvotes of the current and previous days are featured in a "Popular" page. A list of "Trending Hashtags" on each user's homepage gives the ability to see frequently updated hot topics of discussion.[22][23]

When writing a gab, Gabbers can post up to 300 characters of plain text.[14] Additional functionality is similar to Twitter, using # to create hashtags and @ to reference other users by username. Gabs can embed some multimedia, currently limited to emoji, graphics upload, and Giphy animated GIFs. In addition, hyperlinks can be embedded, with some content such as YouTube videos displaying a thumbnail preview.

Each Gab account can optionally be linked to a Twitter account for cross-posting, which can be enabled or disabled before a gab is published. When enabled, the gab is tweeted up to around the first 100 characters, along with a link to the gab.

The only restrictions on expression on the site are on threats of violence, illegal pornography, and doxing.[24][25]

Blacklisting of mobile apps

In December 2016, Gab.ai's submission of its app to the iOS App Store was declined by Apple. Apple cited pornographic content as the reason. At the same time, Twitter also cut off access to its API without specifying a reason.[26][27] A resubmitted version of the app which blocked pornography by default was also rejected for violating Apple's rules on hate speech.[28]

On August 17, 2017, Google removed Gab's app from the Google Play Store for violating its policy against hate speech.[27] Google stated that the app did not "demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people."[29] Gab makes its Android app available at gab.ai/about/android.

Criticism

The site has garnered some criticism as being an "Alt-Right" social network, although its creators have stressed that the site is for everyone. Torba has said "Our mission is simple: We put people first and promote free speech to everyone,"[30] while Büyükkaya has said: "We want left-wing [views] in Gab, we need left-wing [views] in Gab. What is wrong with that? We want right-wing [views] in Gab, we need right-wing [views] in Gab. What is wrong with that?"[31]

The online magazine Salon.com published "Inside the “Twitter for racists”: Gab — the site where Milo Yiannopoulos goes to troll now", subtitled "Gab, a social media site where "free speech" means hate speech, is just like Twitter for right-wing Trump fans", prompting a video response from Andrew Torba. Benson stated "...I had to go take a look. Not because I’m racist, but because I’m always curious what ideas lurk in the darker corners of the Internet...", echoing the phrase used by Hillary Clinton.[32]

In July of 2017, Gab implemented a new feature which allowed users to view which users had upvoted and/or reposted a Gab. The change was subsequently reverted after criticism by users and demonstrated Gab's ability to change in the face of criticsm.[33]

External links

References

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  3. Flynn, Kerry (2016-09-23). "Twitter users frustrated by temporary suspension of Glenn Reynolds".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Andrew Torba (November 30, 2016). "Our Interview With Fake News Publication The New York Times". Retrieved November 30, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  19. {cite web | url = https://gab.ai/a/posts/35789556 | accessdate=September 20, 2018}}
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  33. "Andrew Torba on Gab".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>