As the reader is presumably aware, Gab is this writer’s last location on the surface web (excluding this blog, where I have vowed to not speak of my politics). It is the only place that would allow me to post freely. I have been banned from all other platforms and had my domain stolen so as I cannot even host my own website.
When it became clear to me that Gab was my last place to communicate with anyone who has not already downloaded the Tor Browser – as you have, if you are currently viewing this site – I threw my weight and energy behind the site. I became an investor, subscribed to the paid version, and encouraged all of my readers to join and considering supporting it financially.
In part due to my support, Torba was able to finish raising his investor goal of $1,000,000. I also managed to increase the site’s active usership by at least 15% (Gab was much less popular than the Daily Stormer before it went down).
Things went okay for a few weeks.
Then yesterday, the site’s owner, Andrew Torba, claimed that a meme created by Emily Youcis making fun of Charlottesville crash victim Heather Heyer’s weight (which I will not post here, for reasons of keeping this blog free of controversial content) violated the site’s ToS and that I had 24 hours to remove it (with the implication that I would be banned if I did not).
Of course, I refused to remove it and decided to use my remaining 24 hours on the site to launch a Crusade against Torba, calling him a fraud who had tricked investors with the promise of a free speech site only to break that promise as soon as his money was in.
This caused the entire userbase of the site to go into a full-on revolt mode.
Polls showed that 85% of the site’s userbase was planning to leave with me if I was banned.
Then, in the middle of this mess, Torba posted a blog on Medium where he revealed that the domain registrar, Asia Registry, had threatened to steal his domain in 48 hours if the post was not removed.
Torba then posted a series of Gabs explaining that he was actually lying about the post violating the site’s ToS, and the post in question was simply being targeted because if it is not removed, the domain will be pulled.
He said he could have handled it better.
In fact, I don’t think he could have.
Whether by accident or on purpose – I have no idea, and it’s up to you to determine how clever you think Andrew Torba is – he proved to any and all investors that if free speech is removed from the site, all paying users and most non-paying users will freak-out and leave the site.
Whether it was a Machiavellian maneuver or a misstep is inconsequential: the point was made, beautifully, that Gab is only viable as a free speech platform.
Following this, Torba asked me respectfully to delete the post in order to keep the domain from being stolen by the registrar.
I did so.
The reason I did so was not simply because I am a gentleman – although this is a known fact – but because the request came with a promise to work out a registrar solution, which is one of my own key problems and why I have been forced onto the pedoweb.
I will also note that Torba lying to his own userbase to purposefully get them to flip out and attack him in order to prove a point to investors regarding the viability of the platform raised my respect for him by about 6 million percent. Again – even if it was accidental. Accidents can be brilliant.
Gab was registered in a registrar before the concept of registrar’s stealing domains existed.
This is a new thing, which only happened when GoDaddy decided to kick Daily Stormer off for… a fat joke. Since then, we were kicked off of Google Domains, Namecheap, Dreamhost, Rozcom (the Russian national registrar), the Albanian national registrar (which I forget the name of) and I think 3 others.
Currently, our .com (DAILYSTORMER.COM) is still being illegally held by Google, and I do not have access to it.
Also, Stormfront has had its domain stolen by Network Solutions. It is clear that this is now the new model for shutting down wrongthink on the internet.
The government has not become involved in any of this, even though it probably violates the FCC’s 2015 ruling on Net Neutrality, as a registrar is a type of internet service provider.
So, the threat to Torba that the domain would be stolen was not an empty one.
I fully understand why he made the decision he made. I am not sure it was the best decision, especially given that he is now going to appear on the Tucker Carlson Show (tonight, in fact), and has the ability to blow this whole thing up.
But best decision or not, it is an understandable decision. Because after you are kicked off of a registrar, there is no way to get back on, as my situation has demonstrated.
My reaction – which was shared by the overwhelming majority of the site’s core userbase, including many people who hate me – was absolutely justified and appropriate. Free speech either exists or it does not, and Torba crafted the ToS of Gab in such a way as it allows for any and all legally protected speech. Any and all violations of that should be met with unadulterated outrage if they are to take place in the future.
However, after what took place over the last 24 hours, I am confident that this will not be a problem for Gab in the future. At least not any time soon.
It has been shown to everyone that people are on the site because they love freedom. Not for any other reason. Gab is an extremely idealistic venture, which I believe has the opportunity to play a role in the coming Alt-Tech revolution.
So, once again I will renew my call for all of you to join Gab, and to follow me there. It is now evident that Torba has no plan to ban me, so I am even more supportive than I was before this incident.
Gab is at the forefront in the battle for free speech, and we all need to support them in any way we can.
Plus, I post a lot of fun and interesting things there, which I think you will enjoy.
Overall, this little crisis was a very fun time.
Remember that: you have to enjoy this stuff, or there is no way in hell we’re going to win.
Letters from Internet Prison
September 5, 2017