Gab, a newly discovered social media company, has been gaining a lot of traction and popularity recently, after the suspensions of thousands of conservatives on Twitter and the deactivation of the free speech site ‘Parler’.

A lot of Gab’s new popularity is coming from the fact that the CEO of the company, Andrew Torba, has created an identical backup of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, saving thousands of his tweets into their database and uploading them onto a ‘realdonaldtrump’ Gab account.

They have also created a back up of videos from his YouTube channel, which is also being threatened with suspension.

After the removal of President Trump from the majority of the mainstream social media platforms and the deactivation of Parler, Gab saw an influx of over 600,000 new users in a single day, which inevitably resulted in slower loading times as Gab’s relatively small servers couldn’t handle the load.

When asked about the slow server times, Gab responded in a statement by saying:

“Our traffic is up 753% in the past 24 hours. Tens of millions of visits.”

However, given Gab’s free speech policy being quite similar to Parler’s, Apple and Google have decided to remove the app from their app stores, in an attempt to shut down Twitter’s and Facebook’s competitors.

Gab has now begun work on their own mobile phone service and app store, to reach new potential users.

What are Gab and Parler?

Gab and Parler are considered alternatives to Twitter, a site where people can express their views without the fear of being censored or removed.

The platform was founded in 2016 by Andrew Torba as an alternative to the mainstream platforms.

During this time, Twitter and Facebook began cracking down on hate speech, introducing new, restrictive policies to their respected platforms.

Gab saw the opportunity, became an alternative, and slowly started gaining a handful of new users every day.

Parler was formed two years later, in 2018, after Microsoft threatened to remove Gab after two posts of antisemitism were discovered on the site.

Parler grew massively this year as Twitter started censoring President Trump after the US election, by constantly removing likes and retweets from his account.

However, the idea of a free speech platform beacon has backfired massively.

The problem of free speech policies

There is one massive issue that has led to the deactivation of Parler and the removal of Gab from app stores, and that is their policies surrounding speech.

In a time where the left has legitimized political violence through Black Lives Matter, what we say online is more important than ever.

Platforms do need regulation; however, this regulation must only be what is deemed as illegal in the eyes of the law.

Parler is the perfect example. Many far-right extremists flocked onto Parler to plot dangerous and violent events, one of which included calls to execute some US officials, such as Mike Pence.

Not all speech is free speech

Social media platforms need regulation, and that’s fine.

Calls to kill people are illegal, so naturally, they shouldn’t be allowed and encouraged.

However, censoring conservatives for simply supporting a President or doubting voter fraud in the election, is not illegal and should not be censored.

Parler and Gab will always struggle to remain active unless they start regulating out threats of violence and murder.

Both platforms need to come up with genuine terms of service aligned with the US law to remain competitive, and so that conservatives, or anyone for that matter, genuinely has a free speech platform to go to, instead of facing ruthless censorship from big tech.