Just recently, the internet world and the technology politics have been met with a buzz concerning the coordinated efforts of hosting providers and payment platforms to disservice GAB website which is a social media network that is known to champion free speech as a universal right. The series of unfortunate events for the GAB site occurred right after the shooting incident that transpired on October 27 at the Pittsburgh synagogue which killed 11 people and injured several others. Although GAB was not directly related to the shooting incident, it has been seen as an avenue for the Pittsburgh shooter to express anti-Semitic views and put forward extremist ideas.
Various internet infrastructure providers have decided to cut off their ties and services to GAB site with claims that the latter has violated their terms of services. Among those that have severed their technological infrastructure services from gab.com are GoDaddy which is their hosting provider and PayPal which is their key payment system utilized.
If all the gab website’s internet platforms could easily be removed from them, what else could we expect as individual citizens or small business owners? Gab has been established by Andrew Torba in 2016 to provide a safe haven to all kinds of people who would like to express their ideas, concerns, and thoughts without the fear of excessive and unreasonable censorship. It is a free speech and social media platform that has around half a million active users. If such a technological and social media institution with a wide user database could be easily banished from the supposedly free world of the internet, how else could individual citizens be able to protect themselves from threats to freedom of expression, democracy, and personal liberty?
Even Bobby C. Lee, a respected name in the crypto industry, has asserted his own concerns over the closure of the Gab website as a bad sign for the freedom and liberty of our society. According to him, security has been constantly used as an excuse to erode personal freedom all throughout the history of mankind and the account of world politics.
Can you just imagine being suddenly banned by all online payment platforms from conducting your businesses? How do you think would you be able to sustain your operations and carry out your cause? That’s exactly the problem with the internet and the financial infrastructures that we presently have. There is no certainty to almost anything because everything has been so centralized by the big players. It’s almost the same thing as those people in the developing countries who are refused to be given access to banking services simply because of their lack of certain documents and proof of identity. If you come to think of it, why should any institution be even concerned about how you specifically use your money?
The problems of extreme censorship, personal freedom violation, and business operation hindrances can definitely be resolved by the blockchain technology and the utilization of cryptocurrency. By using crypto such as Bitcoin through the distributed ledger, the sanctity of financial anonymity can be protected yet the security of the entire society could also be strengthened. Although there is no more need to expose your personal identity when transacting using cryptocurrencies, terrorist activities could still be prevented because the entire transactions are recorded in the distributed ledger with public witnesses all over the world.
There is no reason that we should continually tolerate the excessive censorship by our government and even the major players in the financial sector, the internet world, and the media industry.
As Andrew Torba, CEO of gab.com asserts,
“The internet is not reality. TV is not reality. 80% of normal everyday people agree with Gab and support free expression and liberty. The online outrage mob and mainstream media spin machine are the minority opinion. People are waking up, so please keep pointing the finger at a social network instead of pointing the finger at the alleged shooter who holds sole responsibility for his actions.”
Definitely, it is not right to say that Gab was the culprit for the Pittsburgh shooting incident. Although the alleged shooter was an active user on the Gab website, there is no justifiable reason to remove the hosting services and the payment systems from Gab. Shall the entire user database suffer from the action of one person? If that’s the case, then we could expect more obstructions to personal liberty, ease of business operation, and freedom of expression in the near future.