“Let’s colonise MySpace!”: inside the alt-right’s internet

A screenshot from an alt-right MySpace page

An echo chamber of hate is being created as the far-right flee Facebook and Twitter.

On 8 January 2018, the alternativesocial network Gab set its 300,000 users a challenge. “Write a haiku!” prompted the year-old site, and many merrily responded with poems about cats, university and snow. The most popular haikus, however, were a little different. “Saving refugees/Is like helping rattlesnakes/enter a daycare,” read one of the most shared haikus on the site. Another user, seemingly misunderstanding the ancient Japanese art form, began their poem: “While attending a torch lit rally/I walked by a kike and a tranny…”

Gab is a social media platform just like Facebook or Twitter – except in the crucial ways it is not. Founded to take on “the left-leaning Big Social monopoly”, Gab prides itself on its dedication to free speech. As a result, much of the far-right is attracted to the site, with many migrating there after Twitter banned neo-Nazis from its platform in December.

On Gab, anything goes. Unlike traditional social media sites, Gab has no policies against hate speech, meaning both Google and Apple have banned the app from their phones. Particularly fond of this free-speech premise are the alt-right and the British National Party’s Nottingham branch (“ability to talk with other nats is vital to the Resistance. Numbers will follow as libtard intolerance grows”, it tweeted about its move to Gab in December). Although the social network is ostensibly more than just a home for extremist views – one of its selling points is that it is free of advertisements – again and again Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist content is the most popular on the site.

“We are not alt-right,” retorts Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, when I contact him. Since it was founded in August 2016, Gab’s logo has been the cartoon …read more

Source:: New Statesman

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