Gab’s Torba Talks To VDARE.com’s Brimelow
01/23/2021
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Above, Andrew Torba and family visiting the VDARE.com Castle in Berkeley Springs

VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow writes: Since we posted this interview with Gab’s Andrew Torba on June 24, 2020, the sitting President of the United States has been Cancelled by the Tech Totalitarians and they’ve inflicted more unpleasant things on VDARE.com. But Gab is surging, although the usual suspects have reportedly prevented Trump from moving to it, thus leaving him without a social media voice [Kushner Halts Trump Move to New Social Media After Twitter Ban, by Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg News, January 13, 2021]. The Network Solutions deplatforming threat to our domain registration was averted, but theblack lady lawyer who inspired it is reportedly beingappointed by Biden to the US DOJ “Civil Rights” enforcement arm.

PB: Hello, everyone! I'm Peter Brimelow, I'm the Editor of VDARE.com.

And first, a word from our sponsors: it’s actually likely, I'm afraid, that within the next 24 hours or so, that VDARE.com is going to go dark. That's because these swinish Tech Totalitarians at Network Solutions, our domain registrar, have suddenly nuked us, and they've only given us a short period of time to migrate to another domain registrar. And we're not sure that we're going to be able to make it.

We do expect to get back online. But I should say that, in the interim, we have a mirror site on the Dark Web, it is possible to get to us with the Tor Browser [VDARE’s Tor handle is f2vfjp3jc37gxgn4hum4uf2bhi2w3kp4jbzdwegrn6bvtezbhminobid.onion]

And there are other ways you can follow us if we actually are down: one of them is, is Parler. We have a Parler account [PB 2021: Amazon has since cut Parler off its web hosting service, so this is inoperative at the time of this transcript]. We’re on BitChute. We have a YouTube channel [PB: Also nowpurgedour account due to “hate speech,” unknown in American law.] We’re on minds.com. We're also on VK, which is a Russian equivalent of Facebook. Facebook of course blocked us about a month ago, again on completely specious lying grounds. And also, we have an email bulletin, which I urge everyone to get on while they can [sign up here!].

And finally, of course, we are on Gab.com which is a sort of righteous equivalent of Twitter. And in fact, I have the proprietor of Gab.com with me now,  Andrew Torba. How are you, Andrew?

Andrew Torba: I’m doing well, Peter. How are you?

PB: Terrible, awful! We could do with a revolution. Or. more accurately, a counter-revolution.

AT: Listen, I've been where you are right now. You will get through this. And you know, this is the reason that I started Gab back in 2016. I saw this stuff coming. I was living and working in Silicon Valley. I know these people very well. And I know what they're capable of. And I've seen it firsthand.

Just this past week alone, Peter, we see what's happened to you guys. We ourselves were blacklisted by Visa for “hate speech.” Gavin McInnes was banned from YouTube. E. Michael Jones has his books censored by Amazon. Katie Hopkins is banned by Twitter. Carpe Donktum was banned by Twitter. And of course, the President himself had his tweets censored.

So, my question is: where are our leaders? What are they doing? This is happening to U.S. citizens. This is happening to U.S. corporations. Where are our leaders? Why are they allowing this Tech Tyranny to happen?

And you know what? What I've realized over the past four years is that no one is coming to save us. Right? No one is coming to save us. We must save ourselves. And I believe the way to save ourselves is by building. And that's exactly what we've been doing at Gab.

We've built our own web browser. We've built our own hosting infrastructure. We've built our own payment processing infrastructure. Our own email infrastructure. You name it, we've been banned from it; and I've had to build it.

But that has made us very resilient to attacks. And we don't really have many dependencies on Third Party providers. We're only dependent on ourselves.

PB: For the benefit of the Boomers who are watching this, can you explain exactly what Gab is?

AT: Gab is a free speech social network. We welcome all people and we have millions of users from around the world of all different creeds, beliefs, backgrounds, etc. And you can say what you want, as long as it is protected by the First Amendment of the United States of America.

So you can't make threats of violence, you can't post illegal content like child pornography, common sense basic stuff, the way that the internet really has been for the past 20 or 30 years, this laissez faire kind of Wild West where the best ideas thrive.

An actual debate of ideas versus this controlled atmosphere that is artificial and props up some ideas while silencing other ideas (which is what we're seeing happen on Big Tech right now). I mean, just this week—and not a lot of people are talking about this—Project Veritas and James O'Keefe: they have a Facebook content moderator on camera—multiple people from Facebook's content moderation team that are saying things like, “If someone's wearing a MAGA hat, I'm going to delete their content, or I'm going to suspend them for terrorism.”

Right? So you know, these companies are loaded with far-Left lunatics who think that just wearing a MAGA makes you a terrorist. This is insanity!

PB: This is in fact what they genuinely think, isn’t it?

AT: Oh, absolutely. And they believe that they are the righteous ones—that they are literally stopping terrorists, just because people have a different political opinion than them. It's absolutely insane.

And what people on the Right, conservatives, libertarians, even people on the Center Left need to realize is: this is not going to stop. And they will come for you.

The censorship is not just on the extremes anymore. It's also going for people in the center, anybody who doesn't toe the line when it comes to Woke, Progressive orthodoxy.

And that's why Gab exists. And that's why Gab is growing—because we don't get in the way.

We let you say what you want to say if it's not illegal. And by the way, we're applying U.S. law—because in many parts of the world, “Hate Speech” (which I believe, personally, does not exist, it's not a real thing) is illegal.

So, we have people from all over the world that can't speak freely, because they don't have the liberties that we have as U.S. citizens with the First Amendment. And we're exporting that, as a U.S. company, to those people.

So we have a very big international userbase as well, that comes to Gab specifically for that reason, because they can't say what they're thinking about to their family, to their friends at work, and now they can't say it online either without getting thrown in jail for posting something on Facebook or for sending a tweet. They come to Gab to speak their mind.

PB: You also have kind of a parallel commenting device. How does that work?

AT: We have something called the Dissenter web browser. It allows you to comment on any URL on the internet without permission from the website owner. So you can go to CNN.com, which doesn't have a comment section, and leave a comment on any article over there. You can do the same on FOX or on any of these websites that are now purging their comments sections, really to stifle any form of dissent. And you can see what other people are commenting on as well. You can get the Dissenter Web Browser for Windows or Mac.

PB: So it's essentially (I’m trying to get my Boomer brain around this) it's essentially like a website that people can go to, and they see comments on articles?

AT: It's a browser extension actually. Like, an ad blocker is a browser extension, right? It blocks the ads. (And by the way, our browser has one of those as well—it will block big tech trackers, big tech ads, etc.) There's a little icon up in the browser on every URL. And you can click that and leave a comment, and then see the other comments that people have left on that particular URL.

PB: How is that going?

AT: Fantastic! That's one of our most popular products. Our browser has millions of installs. We actually don't even know how many people use it because, unlike other web browsers, we don't track it. We just know how many people have downloaded it. It's been downloaded millions of times across all different browsers.

And as people are commenting on these different URLs across the internet, that feeds into one of our other products, which is called Gab Trends, which is basically a people-powered Drudge Report.

Instead of us sitting there and deciding What's the news? like Matt Drudge does, our users are doing it. As people leave comments across the web, things start to trend throughout the day. So you can visit here in the morning and see what people are commenting on, and then come back later at night and see what people were commenting then. So, this page is constantly evolving as people. And it's really a great way of surfacing news that otherwise gets buried by the Main Stream Media.

PB: I have to refer back to my financial journalism days and ask uncouth questions: how are you making money at this?

AT: We have a subscription service called Gab Pro that unlocks additional features on Gab: the ability to schedule content, the ability to create and moderate and manage groups, etc. We also accept donations. And we also sell merchandise like this “Make Speech Free Again” hat.

Our business model is not to have our users be the product that we're selling. Rather, these folks are our customers. And we have many thousands of people that support us in this way.

Gab is 100% funded and always has been fully funded by our users.

They are our customers. They are our investors. They are our donors. They are our shareholders, right? So, we're fully funded and always have been by the people in the same way that you guys are. So, you know, we're not beholden to special interests, or to venture capitalists or to big corporate advertisers.

We see Facebook is dealing with this right now. All these big corporate advertisers are threatening to pull out, and many of them are, because Facebook's customer is the advertiser, and you are the product that they're selling. That's not how it works on Gab.

On Gab, you are the customer and not the product being sold.

PB: Now, just go over again, how people get money to you. You've lost Visa. So, go ahead.

AT: We have been banned from PayPal, we have been banned from Stripe, and now we've been blacklisted by Visa. So, people are using e-check, which is basically like writing us a check except doing it over the internet. They are physically mailing in checks to our PO box. Believe it or not, people are doing this. And they're using Bitcoin as well. And, we're totally self-sufficient on revenue from those sources.

And those are really sources that we can't be banned from, right? Like, they can't prevent us from accepting Bitcoin. They can't prevent you from writing a check and mailing it to us in the mail. Right?

PB: They're working on it.

AT: Yeah, they're gonna try to get us banned from the from the post office next. That's the next step.

PB: It's not a joke, actually. When I was in Canada in the 1970s, I actually knew people who had had that happen because they wrote nasty letters to their MPs. So they were forbidden to use the post office [PB 2021: This still happens in Canada: Men banned from using Canada Post over controversial publication challenge minister's order, by Alison Crawford, CBC News, March 3, 2017].

VDARE.com of course is a 501c3, which means anybody who gives us money can deduct it from their taxes—at least until the Democrats get hold of the executive branch when they will certainly try and strip that from us. But you’re not a 501c3 are you?

AT: No, no, we're a corporation. Yes. We’re a for-profit corporation.

Something that I would be worried about if I were you guys: we've seen the IRS crack down on the Tea Party movement, when Obama was in power. And it's a concern for us as well because they can come after us in different ways.

Like you said, it's totalitarianism. It's a revolution. And a lot of people are sleepwalking through history right now, as it's happening. I refuse to do so. I'm going to stand up and fight. I'm going to stand up and build. And I'm going to stand up and talk about this stuff, because I really, I don't see the Main Stream Media talking about it.

You see a lot of these commentators who whine about free speech on Twitter. Only when it happens to them, though. It's very interesting, right? Most people only care about it when it's happening to them.

But you know, I haven't seen too many people talking about what's happening to you right now, Peter. I haven't seen too many people talking about Visa blacklisting Gab last week, right?

So, it's very interesting how these people who claim to support free speech, claim to stand up for liberty for all people, you know, they don't do so when certain people, certain companies get censored.

PB: So you can't access any credit cards at the moment. Is that right?

AT: No, we can't accept any credit cards at the moment unfortunately. It's happening on an increased scale now. It's their biggest attack vector against anyone who's speaking truth to power. Any form of dissent—first they come for your domain registrar then they come for your hosting provider.

PB: Losing your domain registrar, that’s a really unusual, isn't it? I mean, I think it's just you, now us, and I guess Andrew Anglin at The Daily Stormer?

AT: Those are the three that I can think of. It is very unusual. And it's very, very concerning. It's a basic level of infrastructure of access technology on the internet. And, you know, to have the domain pulled out from under you and to be forced the dark web or to be forced to all these obscure random domains like the Daily Stormer has had to deal with. This is madness. This is really crazy.

I mean, you don't have to accept what people are saying on Gab, or what people are writing about on VDARE.com to support people’s right to speak about things. You're not doing anything illegal, as far as I know, Peter, you're just talking about ideas. But, you know, ideas are dangerous.

PB: What gets me is that VDARE.com is a rather boring site compared to the Daily Stormer, or even to Gab because of the various imaginative and wild people you have on Gab.  I did a cover story questioning immigration for National Review in 1992, and published a book on it in 1995. And I haven't essentially altered my positions for 25 years—we’ve been on Network Solutions for 20 years! So what's happening is the censorship is really intensifying. And they're coming after, you know, essentially boring Boomers like me. Which means they really are capable of anything.

AT: The reason the reason they're coming after you is because you're a threat, right? And the things that you're talking about are threatening to Establishment’s power, and the Establishment’s order, and the Establishment’s control. It's the same thing that Gab has faced, right?

PB: Well in our case, I think it’s all Donald Trump's fault. He got elected, and then he’s running for reelection. And that really upset them! That's when the crackdown really started.

AT: Yes, because it's an election year. Absolutely.

PB: You said, where the political leaders? What would you have them say?

AT: So, the biggest attack vector right now is antitrust, right? And we see the DOJ looking at antitrust, but they're looking at it from the wrong angle. They're saying, “Google, you have a monopoly on advertising on the internet,” which actually isn't true. Facebook has a very large share. There are a number of Third-Party ad networks and all sorts of options for advertising on the internet.

Where they should be going after is the app stores. Because the app stores are 100% a duopoly. Apple and Google own and control 98% of mobile app distribution. That is not a free market. That is a duopoly. So, I don't know why the DOJ and why our leaders are ignoring this.

The other kabuki theater is going after Section 230, which is a massive mistake. And I really feel like a lot of these congressmen and people that are talking about revoking Section 230 don't understand how fundamental it is to protecting free speech online.

Section 230 does not prevent Twitter, or Google or Facebook, from exercising their own free speech. In fact, section 230 doesn't apply to their speech. What Section 230 does is protect them from your speech, from my speech. If you go on Facebook, and you defame someone, or if you post illegal content, Facebook is not held liable for that content and for what you said, which should be common sense. This is actually a good thing, because now it protects startups like us as well. It protects Gab from being held liable and having all sorts of lawsuits for whatever anybody's saying on the site. So you know, going after section 230 is absolutely the wrong approach.

PB: But it’s rational to the extent that Twitter and Facebook always claimed they were just neutral platforms. And now, they’re clearly not neutral platforms.

AT: Well, here's the thing: Section 230, if you actually read it, says, “no provider or a user of internet Computer services shall be treated as the Publisher or speaker of any information provided by another content provider.”

Now, the solution that members of Congress—and by the way, this is Republicans that are saying this— “Go after Section 230” (which blows my mind, because conservatives are supposed to be, you know, against more government, against more regulation), they're saying that we should have some sort of neutrality.

Section 230 says nothing about political neutrality, because, Peter who enforces that neutrality? Are you going to have the government, or some government agency, come in to Gab? Come into Twitter? Come into Facebook? And like, look over our shoulder and say, “Oh, this is wrong,” or, “You did this wrong”? Who's gonna police neutrality? And what does neutrality look like? Right?

Going after Section 230 won’t work, if for no other reason than that Big Tech has poured half a billion dollars in lobbying over the past decade. They have funneled money and contributed to both sides of the aisle. More or less, they own Congress. So, if anything is going to happen to Section 230, it's going to be pro-Big Tech, and it's going to solidify their monopoly power over certain verticals.

PB: But in principle, there's no reason why Facebook shouldn't operate like a newspaper. If you're a newspaper, and you run a Letter to the Editor, and its libelous, you're liable for that.

AT: Well, Peter, here’s the thing: they are liable for it. Because when Facebook is speaking, so when Facebook is doing these “fact checks,” and we see Twitter doing this to the President's tweets, that is them speaking. So, if they say something libelous, if they say something defamatory, they can absolutely be sued for that speech. Section 230 does not apply to their speech. It only applies to the speech of the users who are on the site.

PB: But what I mean is: newspapers are liable for what they publish, even if it’s a Letter the Editor. So, absent Section 230, Facebook and Twitter could be sued. And the result of this will be, of course, to paralyze them. So it seems to me that repealing Section 230 is a threat. It’s like a gun held to their head. It’s telling them, if you don't behave responsibly, which means don’t censor the President of the United States, we will pull this trigger.

AT: Well, Section 230 protects the comment sections on the newspapers. The newspapers are not held liable for what people commenting on their articles. They're held liable for what they publish because that is when they are speaking.

PB: So, tell me what the internet would look like if the antitrust law was prosecuted the way you want to see it prosecuted.

AT: Well, I think that specifically with the app stores, there should be neutrality as long as application developers are not breaking the law—as long as there's not illegal content on the applications. Apple is a prime example of this this gated community where, if you are not on their app stores, there's absolutely no way to distribute an application to iOS devices.

At least with Android, you can do something called sideloading. So, we can still develop an Android app. And you can at least install it on your phone. Not through the app store, but you can kind of sideload it.

Google makes this very difficult on purpose, for the same reason that Apple doesn't allow it at all: they want control. They don't want any applications that they don't approve of getting access to people's phones.

But you know, this is my device, I paid for this device. Who is Apple to tell me that I can't have this app or that app, or go to this website or that website?

PB: Now you don't have an app that I can use my iPhone, but you say you could have one on Lydia’s Android phone?

AT: Right. And there is a workaround, thankfully, on iOS devices as well, something called a Progressive Web App, a PWA. (I hate the name of it, right?!) It allows you to open up Gab in the Safari browser, click the “share” button and click a feature called “Add to Homescreen.” And this will actually add a Gab app icon onto your iOS device.

Now, it's not an iOS app. It's technically a shortcut to Gab. But it opens up full screen just like an app does. It looks and feels and performs just like an app would.

And the only downside is: we don't have push notifications. And that's because Apple doesn't allow it.

PB: What do you mean by “push notification”?

AT: So you know, if someone mentions you on Gab [sic], and you have the Twitter app, you get a push notification to let you know immediately that that happened without actually being in the app.

So, we can't do that because Apple doesn't allow the Progressive Web Apps to do push notifications. But otherwise, it's very simple to add.

And we're not beholden to Apple. We're not beholden to Google. When we got banned from Google, when we were rejected by Apple the ten-plus times that we tried getting in the App Store--Apple called me up and said, “If you remove this objectionable and offensive content, we'll allow you on the store.” And I said, “What does that mean? Have you been on Twitter? Have you been on Facebook? Have you been on Reddit? Like why are they allowed to have all this offensive content in millions and millions and millions of posts? And we're not for some reason? I’m not doing it. Because I don't know what that means. I don't know what your standards for that are because it's ambiguous. I'm not doing it. I'm not bending the knee.”

 So they banned us from the App Store.

And actually, when we were on the Google Play Store, our App was trending number one, the day that they removed us.

So again, we're a threat. That's why. We refuse to bend the knee. I refuse to answer and submit to Apple and Google. I refuse to submit to Visa. I'm not going to bend the knee to the Establishment Woke Progressives.

PB: Somewhere on your website you have an explanation of that work around?

AT: Yeah,  help.gab.com; and there's a walkthrough guide listed on there for how to get it on your phone. Even though we're not in the app stores. It's very easy. It takes just a couple of seconds to get it up and running. And then once it's installed, it's there.

PB: I’m afraid to say I’ve not done it. But I'm a Boomer. I have to ask Lydia to do it for me. [PB 2021: Now done!]

I'm very fond of Gab and it irritates me that even people I like and respect will say that they don't want to use Gab because it's just it's just a right-wing ghetto.

That doesn't matter to me generally, because I think we’re in a state here in American politics where we have to run the flag up and see who salutes. But what's your answer?

AT: Well, there've actually been several academic studies. Academics love studying Gab. And every time they analyze the data, they find the exact opposite.

We were included in a study recently out of Italy that looked at over a billion posts from Gab, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. It concluded that Gab was not an Echo Chamber, and that different ideas associated freely and came into contact with one another.

In contrast to Twitter, where you see very distinct Echo Chambers. Everybody on the Left over here. Everybody on the right over here. And they very rarely cross. Same thing with Facebook. Versus Gab, where we have a free flow of information.

Big Tech has very deliberately separated the Left and the Right into their own little echo chambers to keep them entertained.

I love hearing this from people: “I'm on Twitter, because that's where the fight is!” They think that they're fighting the Left, trying to win the hearts and minds. But most of the fighting is actually with people who agree with them 95%. The Left has either blocked them, or is over in their own little Echo Chamber and is not seeing any of their content.

So that's my answer. It's just not true. And the science is there to prove that that is just not the fact.

PB: The other thing is that Twitter has so systematically blocked all the interesting people. People say it’s just become boring.

AT: Yeah, they're all on Gab now!

PB: This morning you put out an email discussing the extent to which this Cancel Culture is specifically anti-Christian. And I gather you felt the same thing about Silicon Valley—the hostility to you as a Christian?

AT:  Yes, absolutely. Communism inevitably comes for Christians, right? And we're seeing it happen at a much faster pace than I expected. And that is one of the big reasons, Peter, why I started Gab: because, as a Christian, I felt that there wasn't going to be a place online very soon where you can talk about Christ, or you can talk about the Gospel. And we're seeing that unfold now.

We're seeing people being fired for sharing their beliefs. We're seeing people call the Bible “hate speech,” and “homophobic” and “anti-Semitic” and all this nonsense. And I wouldn't be surprised if this stuff starts to accelerate.

Just in the past week, we've seen the Left call for statues and artwork depicting Jesus to be torn down and destroyed, because they’re symbols of “white supremacy.” All sorts of nonsense is going on, and it's only going to accelerate.

So, I hope Christians wake up and realize that they are not welcome on these Big Tech platforms. And they are welcome on Gab.

Gab is not a Christian company. But it is run by a Christian. And we welcome everybody. We have atheists on Gab who troll me all the time. And pagans on Gab who troll me all the time. And that's fine. They can speak freely, they needn’t agree with me. And that's the point of free speech: to come into contact with different ideas and with people who don't necessarily agree with you. I actually enjoy going back and forth with these folks and seeing their ideas and seeing what they have to say.

But I feel Christians need to realize what's happening. because this is only going to get worse. And especially as the Left consolidates cultural and corporate power. We see these corporations acting in unison with these rioters who are burning down our cities. They're raising money for them. It's lunacy!

So, hopefully Christians are waking up. I think they are. And hopefully they'll start speaking up about this stuff like I am.

PB: Well, let's make sure everybody listening knows how to get to you. It’s Gab.com?

AT: Gab.com. You can sign up for free. All you need is an email address and a password and a username. And you can find me on there. I'm @A. You know, one of the benefits of starting a site is you get a single letter username. So I'm @A on the site. Or you can just search for Andrew Torba up at the top.

And we welcome everybody to join, and it's free!

Like I said earlier, you can support us by going Gab Pro. That's how we pay for the site. We're not selling your data like Facebook and Twitter. You're not the product on Gab; you're the customer. And we welcome everybody to join the site and escape Big Tech tyranny.

We're actually doing something about this. We're building a solution.

Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in Kindle format.

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