Friday, December 30, 2016

Andrew Torba Talks Fighting Internet Censorship and His New Site 'Gab' -


An alternative to leftist-controlled social media.

Below are the video and transcript to Andrew Torba's speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 10th-13th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Andrew Torba from DHFC on Vimeo.

Well, folks, it's great to be here, and it feels fantastic to finally win, but now it's time to get to work.  We can't get tired.  We have to take our culture back.  We have to take our media back if we're going to win.  So I have two quotes here to start off, and one is from John Milton, and one is from Charles Bukowski.  So one is, "Give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely, according to conscience above all liberties."  And I believe this is the most important liberty because unless we can speak freely, we can't get truth out to the people.  And this is something that is being suppressed on the Internet, whether you realize it or not.  So, as was mentioned, I worked in Silicon Valley, lived and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years, and I since escaped and made headway to Texas, home of some more conservatives and some more conservative thinkers, but while I was there, I got some insight into what Facebook and Google and Twitter and all of these companies are doing to push their agenda on billions of people that are using their products each and every day, and I saw this stuff happening firsthand. 

And what I'm going to show you today, I'm going to run through a few examples, but these are only just a handful, and this stuff is happening every single day.  And the nature of censorship is that you don't know that it's happening until it's already too late because you're not seeing things because they're being censored.  So let's go through just a few examples here, and the first one is myself.  So I kept my politics to myself for 5 years that I was in the tech industry, up until about 6 months ago, and when I finally came out as a pro-Trump, Republican, conservative Christian, I started getting suppressed.  I started being blacklisted.  I started having people cancel their memberships with my prior company.  I worked in an ad site company, where I was working with Facebook, Twitter, and Google, helping digital advertisers, and I started getting banned.  So the trailer that you saw right before Milo got on stage the other day, I shared that on my Facebook, and I was banned for 24 hours for sharing that because I have 40,000 followers, and I'm a very influential person on Facebook. And because I shared that trailer that you saw the other day, I was banned for 24 hours, shut up completely.  Just this weekend, Y Combinator, which I was a part of back in 2015 with my first company, decided to blacklist me and ban me from their network.  Why?  Because I said build the wall on Twitter, and they had some of their other founders who felt that they were unsafe by my statement.  So they prioritized immigrant feelings over an American support for political policy and decided to completely blacklist me and shut me out completely from the network.  So I'm the first example of censorship as a great example.

Censorship happens in a lot of different ways, and some of it could be pushing a certain agenda, as you can see here.  So thousands of people are making this Google search every day, and what you get is a nice ad for the Clinton campaign when you're making a simple search of, what does it say here?  Tough to see.  When is Election Day, right?  So that's one example of just a small example of Google impressing their agenda on tens of thousands of people that are making tens of thousands of search queries every single day.  Another great example. Do you notice anything missing?  Our current president-elect.  So there are folks that are out there searching for information and for truth and for knowledge on the Internet and trusting these progressive Internet companies to give them some sense of reality, and what they're getting is a distorted sense of reality that fits the progressive agenda. 

Two great examples.  So over the past 18 months -- this has been going on for years, right?  And we all kind of just sat by and let it happen and excused it, and oh, it's just those progressives in Silicon Valley up to their no good again, but what started happening over the past 18 months, especially during this election cycle, is they started to suppress news, and this is not only happening in the United States, but it's happening in a global way.  So here you could see in Turkey, for example, they're shutting out actual journalists from Twitter and blacklisting them completely.  We saw journalists here, I mean, Milo Yiannopoulos, perfect example, completely banned from Twitter, blacklisted, not welcome back ever again, period.  They're shutting people up that don't agree with their agendas and that don't agree with what they believe in. 

Another great example, during the Orlando attack, I was covering this live for hours, sourcing information on Reddit, on Twitter.  I have a great understanding of the social consciousness of the social web, and I was trying to source news and information to get the facts out there.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, they were suppressing everything.  They were just shutting us up completely, blacklisting anything that we were posting, hiding it from any accessible view, and this was happening as breaking news is happening, they're trying to shut it down and suppress it. 

Another perfect example, I mean, it's no surprise to any of us that Silicon Valley leaders are extremely progressive and support Democratic candidates.  Well, President Obama decided to do an "ask me anything" on Twitter, and Twitter's CEO at the time, Dick Costolo, decided that he would start censoring and suppressing any controversial questions or tweets that were aimed at the president, just because. 

This is actually from last night.  I found this in my feed last night, and this is from Poland, where they are burning Facebook flags because they were banned for "hate speech."  And what these companies do is they have these very vague and ambiguous guidelines, where they can decide what is hate speech and what isn't, and what is harassment and what isn't, and these terms have become very subjective online, and they've really become defined as anything that does not fit their agenda. 

Here's another great example.  It's not only news.  It's not only conservative sources.  It's art, it's journalism, it's a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, one of the most iconic photos of all time that they're censoring, and this is just a few months ago.  I actually read this morning, right before I got on stage, of a burn victim who had his own personal photos suppressed and banned and censored from Facebook because they felt that it was too graphic, and that's very sad. 

So I've seen all of these things happening, and my tipping point was when I saw this.  So when I saw a whistle-blower come forward from Facebook's trending topics team, and for those of you who don't know, trending topics is this little product down here, and you can see I pulled this actually this weekend, this screenshot, and you can see a little bit of the agenda at work here with Trump University as one of the top talked about, according to Facebook, subjects.  So what had happened is a whistle-blower came forward from the trending topics team and said listen, we are actively suppressing conservative news, conservative sources, and conservative ideas from this product that is being used every month by over a billion people around the world.  So you have people like my younger brothers, who think that Facebook is the Internet, who think that Facebook is news.  And you also have, on the other end of the spectrum, my grandmother, who just came online for the first time, who thinks that Facebook is also the Internet and what is news.  And what they're doing is they're pushing their agendas and suppressing our ideas and our thoughts and our leaders and our sources from the news feed, so that they just get completely shut out.  This is what pushed me over the edge to take action.  I said you know what?  Conservatives have been complaining about these things, about the left owning media, and two great things that we've heard this weekend is that social media helped win this election.  I mean, 6 percent of people trust the news media.  Social media is the future.  It is new media, but the problem is that the left also owns that, and what I want to do is help us take it back and put it in control of the people, really, not just to control for conservatives, but for everybody, for everybody to speak freely and for truth to surface and not just political agendas of the person in charge of the network. 

So I took action, and I built something.  This is Gab.  Gab is the answer to the question that I asked Ann Coulter the other day.  I said Ann, conservatives are being suppressed online.  What can we do about it?  And she said we need to build our own network.  Well, that's what I did 90 days ago, and we launched on August 15, and now we have over 120,000 users from around the world.  We're a top 7,000 web site within 90 days.  That tells you how much demand there is out there for free speech and free expression and free thought on the Internet.  People are so sick and tired of being suppressed and shut up and censored that they're willing to move completely to a new network just to be able to speak freely. 

So Gab works functionally similar to Twitter in that it's short, microblogging-type posts.  We have 300 characters.  Unlike Twitter, you can edit your content, and unlike Twitter, we're not censoring trending topics.  Whatever people are talking about on Gab, that's what is going to trend, and instead of us enforcing what should or should not be seen by the user, we give you, the user, total control over your experience.  So what we do is we allow you to mute users that you don't want to see in your feed, and not only users, but also words, phrases, hashtags or topics.  So people can mute "hate words" or words that they deem to be harassing, or this could be something simple like I don't really like sports, so I'm going to block the NFL and a bunch of NFL teams, so that I still see your content on Sunday, but I don't see you talking about the game for 6 hours.  And the reason that we don't have blocking is because blocking actually encourages the harassment behavior that we're seeing on Twitter, on Facebook, et cetera.  Blocking serves as a trophy or a badge of honor for the trolls, and I would know because I had a lot of them myself.  So here's some of the top Silicon Valley people and VCs that have blocked me from me calling them out on what they're doing. 

And one of the ways that we've innovated is, okay, so how do you prevent harassment?  Say someone is, you can't block them, so how do you prevent this harassment?  Well, if you mute a user on Gab, we then created what's called a spam folder, and similar to the spam folder in your email inbox, it's something that you're probably not going to check that often, but you still have the option to check it.  So if someone's bothering you, you just simply mute them, and any of their engagement with you will go into the spam folder, and you won't be bothered anymore. 

So like I said, we launched actually August 15, believe it or not.  We have 120,000 users within under 90 days, and this is all across the globe.  You can see some of our top ten countries here.  We have a global rank.  We're a top 33,000 web site in the world within 90 days.  We're a top 7,000 web site in the United States within 90 days, and our growth is exploding.  This has all been through word of mouth.  We are completely bootstrapped.  We haven't taken a dime in funding.  We are completely supported by our community and by the people, and our mission is to put people first and promote free speech and expression, and we have some of the top conservative influencers and new media thinkers already on Gab.  So Milo's already on Gab, Michelle Malkin.  I just talked to Ann yesterday.  She's going to get on Gab.  A lot of the people that have been speaking, I've been speaking to this weekend, we're going to get them on Gab.  But I want to really, it's really important for me to express that Gab is not a conservative network.  We've had VICE and Salon and the mainstream media try to label us, actually, believe it or not, as the racist Twitter alternative simply for having a lot of prominent conservatives on the site.  Gab is for everybody.  All are welcome.  We welcome everybody, and we're trying to protect and promote free speech on the Internet and take it back from the censorious Big Brother progressives in Silicon Valley. 

So thank you so much for your time, and if you want to learn more, you can find me after.  Thank you.


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