Right-wing CEO aims to create 'an alternative Internet' that's 'built on an ideology of hatred': report
Andrew Torba (screen grab)

Andrew Torba, the right-wing CEO of social-media platform Gab, is attempting to build what he calls "an alternative Internet" which — according to a new report from the New Republic's Jacob Silverman — is "built on an ideology—and a social and professional network—of hatred."

"If Torba has his way, a conversation-generating (or disinfo-disseminating) social network and video site are only the beginning," Silverman reports, adding that unlike other right-wing provocateurs, Torba "is ready to do away with Silicon Valley entirely" and that he "seems better positioned to succeed."

"The problem is not Gab's independence but what it's become: a hotbed of bigotry and racial hatred, and part of a growing tech empire that seems to have few principles beyond preserving a certain vision of free speech at all costs," Silverman writes. "Whether Gab ever rivals Twitter, the social network it most resembles, matters less than the example it sets: a way for disinformation artists and hate-mongers to thrive on their own terms, as long as they have the requisite technical resources behind them."

Gab was launched during the 2016 presidential election — in part because Torba claims Silicon Valley "was unfairly censoring Trump supporters" — and has reportedly grown to 4 million users. Gab was viewed largely as a "sideshow" until 2018, when a user posted violent antisemitic comments before murdering 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

"For Torba, the Pittsburgh murders became an opportunity to condemn violence, tout his company's cooperation with law enforcement, and once again push the platform," Silverman writes, adding that Gab's subsequent removal from payment services prompted Torba to build his own system.

"The company's goal is to never be kicked offline again because one of its users went on a killing spree or because it violated some tech giant's terms of service agreement," Silverman writes. "And to do that, it's building its own tech stack that can't be controlled by Amazon Web Services or Microsoft's cloud division, creating a company that can operate by its own rigidly held philosophy, with less ability for public pressure to hold it to account."

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