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Swedes Move To Gab
'Everybody look what's going down.'
STOCKHOLM/GOTHENBURG/PHILADELPHIA (Rixstep) — Something happened in July.
4 July is of course the US national holiday, and also the day Andrew Torba migrated his Gab.com code, now completely open source and based on Mastodon, part of the so-called 'Fediverse'. The move, although shaky at first, immediately established Andrew's Gab as the biggest player there.
One week later, another migration began - of Swedes who were sick and tired of Twitter.
Sweden's in a rough place today. It's more like a train wreck in slow motion. The violence, the gang wars, the looting, the beatings, the gang rapes of both preteen children of both sexes and also of elderly ladies in wheelchairs: it's out of control. The government's done what they can to keep a lid on it all, but the word does get out.
Sweden's government today (specifically Morgan Johansson) has direct hotlines to social media offices in the country. To both Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Accounts on those sites are shut down in a Stockholm heartbeat. Lots of little old ladies, terrified to go outdoors at all, turn to acquaintances on those platforms for support and find themselves suddenly summoned to the police, end up in court, get convicted, and spend months in a real prison.
Yes, it's crazy.
Across the pond, in Pennsylvania, Andrew Torba's been at work on diversifying his free speech movement. Long castigated as being a haven for unsavoury elements, Andrew's sites are anything but - it's just that those unsavoury elements are welcome so long as they don't break the law. The only censorship Andrew attests to is US legislation, and he's very adamant about that.
There's a lot of work still to be done on the 'New Gab'. Andrew also has the disruptive site Dissenter which makes it possible to talk about any article published anywhere, and he also has his own web browser, forked from Brave. As Tim Pool pointed out the other say, Gab today is unstoppable - there's literally no way that freedom of speech can be thwarted again.
Following is an account by 'Micke K', a real Swedish trouper, who almost singlehandedly effected a huge migration of Swedish Twitter users to Gab over the past week. It's been hectic and it's been exciting, he says. It's also been a lot of fun. 'Darko' points this out several times in his greetings to the newcomers. The atmosphere has been giddy at times. And all they really want, at the end of the day, is a safe Sweden again.
The Birth of Gab (in Sweden)
Wednesday 10 July 2019 - the birth of Gab in Sweden.
'Micke K' was already there long before - he joined back on 11 August 2017. A few others were as well. Micke can't remember how or why he opened the account, but he does remember that the site felt a bit strange: the interface wasn't like Twitter's, and there wasn't a lot of activity.
The first user he recognised was @rixstep. There were others but none he remembers today. And then of course there was Darko (@daccraft). The Bonnier empire got Darko booted off Twitter (quite literally after writing to them a number of times) because he made fun of one of their reporters, Lars Lindström.
[Darko noticed that Lindström was putting up video clips every Friday on his Facebook page, and he thought they were hilarious. Twitter had a 2:20 rule (two minutes twenty seconds) on uploaded videos, so he tried speeding them up a bit, and even more hilarity ensued, Lindström complained to his bosses, the rest is history. Ed.]
Anyway: Micke had been temporarily booted from Twitter for an altercation with one Leo Erenmalm. Micke remembers responding to Erenmalm in the same way Erenmalm attacked, Erenmalm (and perhaps others - Twitter admitted on JRE 1258 that their system can be 'gamed') filed a complaint against Micke, and Micke was put in Twitter jail: his account was locked and he was forced to delete a few 'tweets' to regain access.
Micke could also see that his number of followers was not growing as before. (Despite having only some 10,000 followers, Micke's account was one of the most accessed in the Swedish online community.) Now he was getting a net growth in followers of 20-30 where it'd previously been 200-300. (The dreaded shadow-banning?)
Then a well-known account, known both on the political left and the political right, disappeared - just disappeared. Completely. That of Roger 'Salle' Sahlström. Micke checked Salle's blog - http://www.fnurra.se - and found that Salle had also been removed from both Facebook and Google, with twelve years of accumulated work removed with him.
At the same time this was happening, 10 July 2019, the online news site Samhällsnytt reported a heightened level of censorship coming to Twitter - and this time they were going to forbid criticism of religion. (Not a good way to start for secular down-to-earth Sweden, to say the least.)
Micke then checked several 'establishment' (left-wing) accounts on Twitter, and he noticed many of them were 'subtweeting' him (a way to draw attention to an account). Micke got worried that they were again after him. Micke had worked hard for seven years, trying to establish himself online, amassing 11,800 followers on Twitter. He began to understand the risks, how much he could lose, and how easy it was for hostile groups to make him vanish.
So he went back to Gab. He hadn't been back in a year. And he saw, to his surprise, that the Gab crew had just begun their transition to the new code base, this time completely open source and with a new slick interface. He could even notice an 'app feel' already in Safari on his iPhone!
So Micke posted on Twitter, hinting on a possible purge coming to that platform.
Already the following day, people started pouring in. Estimates a week later hint at several thousand who've made the move.
Darko no longer lives in Sweden - he migrated his family years earlier. He's a very busy man, but he does find time to greet the new arrivals and tell them a bit about the 'score'.
Hey all new users! Welcome to GAB.
If you come from Twitter/FB etc you must now reprogram your mind a bit. You see... free speech is very real on GAB and that's something you probably don't truly understand after being so long on the old platforms.
So... when you no longer feel that anxiety over how people will react to your opinion when you press the publish button you've acclimatized. You're now normal again.
And then... you're finally free.
Yes, you will find things offensive here. And you can't demand people to be silenced. But since you're a grown up person you can just ignore them. Or debate them. Do whatever you like. It's up to you. Once again. You're free.
Try not to be an asshole. Or be one. I don't really care.
Welcome to free speech! It's both terrifying and awesome.
Send some love to @a and GAB for making this possible.
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away