Alt-Tech: Rebels vs the Evil Empire
You may have missed the testimony of Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey last week in Washington, as it was overshadowed by the Brett Kavanaugh appointment hearings and its accompanying parade of deranged protesters. Though it got less attention, there was a bit of commotion surrounding the tech CEO hearings, too. My personal favorite part was watching Marco Rubio attempt to look tough while being browbeaten by Alex Jones. While at the capital, Jones also confronted CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, who had lobbied successfully to get Jones removed from several major social media platforms. During their exchange, Jones called Darcy, correctly in my opinion, "anti-American" and a "coward." In less than a day, Twitter, which has given itself the right to consider real-world behaviour when evaluating who may use their platform, announced that Jones was to be permanently banned from using their service, and also that all other accounts associated with InfoWars would be reviewed for possible terms of service violations. Shortly thereafter, the InfoWars smart phone app was removed from the iTunes app store. In all probability, Jones' enemies, intoxicated with the taste of blood, will continue their campaign to destroy his media empire by putting pressure on the domain registrars for InfoWars' website and the financial service providers which process money from their merchandise sales and donations.
I am not particularly a fan of Jones, but what is happening to him is alarming to me and should be to anyone who is paying attention. "De-platforming" has been a problem for individuals and small outlets for several years. But Jones reigns over a media empire, with millions of viewers and substantial merchandise sales, and even he has not been able to stop the virtual assasination. A small group of global Tech Titans have been able to cut him off from almost every possible avenue available to participate in public life, and, in a sense, make him a non-entity in the public realm, with no way to appeal the death sentence. It is terrifying to contemplate the extent of potential damage the Silicon Valley elites could do to other conservatives. What's to prevent Breitbart, Drudge, or Fox News being silenced in the same manner?
The problem is not limited to social networking sites. Payment providers like PayPal and fundraising sites like GoFundMe and Patreon have a history of removing promoters of conservative causes from their services. Just this week, Amazon removed nine books by "pick-up artist" Roosh from their online store. Livelihoods can be destroyed arbitrarily and without warning when pages are banned from Facebook, YouTube, or Google search. Often, these life-changing decisions are made with no meaningful explanation or means of appeal. The problem is common and growing.
A few people are standing up to the giants and fighting back. One of the pioneers of an alt-tech social network is Andrew Torba, CEO and founder of Gab, which was introduced as a free-speech alternative to Twitter. Since its inception, Gab has been in a continuous struggle against the Tech Titans. Just last month, Gab was forced to find a new hosting service when it was dropped by Microsoft Azure because of a complaint about "hate speech." The company has also developed smart phone apps, but neither the iOS App Store nor Google Play Store, who hold a virtual duopoly, will carry them. (Last week, Gab submitted an app for Google Play which attempted to adhere to their "hate speech" policy by blocking posts with objectionable speech with a message stating that the post did not meet Google standards. The app was seemingly accepted by Google play, but removed again within hours.)
Big Tech defends their de-platforming decisions with mealy-mouthed excuses about "hate speech" and "healthy public conversations." This is false claim is absolutely staggering in its brazenness. Check the archive at VerifiedHate.com to view a massive collection of threats and hatred directed at Whites, Christians, and Trump supporters that is spouted on Twitter, much of it by *verified* users who are affiliated with corporate media outlets. Twitter not only fails to restrict this kind of "hate speech" in any way, but grants it a modicum of legitimacy by giving "verified" status to the tweeters. Inarguably, the Tech Titans do not object to "hate speech" as long as it is directed towards the right people or ideas.
Predictably, Gab was (and still is) smeared as a site for "white supremacists." It is true that Gab built some of its early popularity by providing a haven for popular alt-right personalities that were among the first banned from Twitter. While early Twitter refugees did include some unsavory characters, many others were guilty only of using facts, humor, or charisma to effectively smack down leftist talking points, or of "getting the goat" of a random squeaky-wheel leftist user. But Gab is not an "alt-right" site. In fact, in the past few months, Gab has had thousands of new accounts created by people in Brazil and Kenya after political dissidents in those countries were de-platformed or found their communications stifled by Big Tech.
The influx of users from other parts of the world to Gab also illustrates an important point: Tech Titan's chokehold on the of the flow of information is a global problem. A handful of people can shift power in almost any part of the world by choosing which voices to stifle or amplify, and they are working against conservative and populists movements all over he world. It is not an exaggeration to say that the fight of alt-tech against Big Tech is a fight for the future of freedom in the world, and for some peoples, a fight for survival.
The odds against anyone fighting the Titans of Tech are daunting. In fact, almost impossible. But intelligent, determined and brave people have done the impossible before. With the help of God, we can do it again.
Memes and art by Gab fans.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.