Have you ever said or done something that no matter how much backlash and disapproval you received as a result, you knew you were right? This is probably a common feeling we all have, especially considering the present PC culture. We must be cautious in our words and actions because anything we do or state can be taken out of context and used against us.
Unfortunately, it seems that unrestricted speech is under threat from social media corporations. As the internet becomes increasingly centralized, the abuse of power by tech monopolies and governments is becoming more probable. With those concerns in mind, a group of developers at Gab decided to develop Dissenter, a commenting tool created for the purpose of improving users’ ability to speak openly on the internet.
Despite their best efforts, their attempts of gaining approval by the MSM were futile, as their platform got labeled as an “Alt-Right” social network. As a result, their extension got banned from Mozilla and Chrome extension stores. But was it fair for the MSM and Big Tech to end up labeling and ostracizing Gab’s social platform like that?
Dissenter: The Champion of Free Speech
According to its FAQ section, Dissenter is a software built by GAB.com with the goal of bringing back free speech. The creators state, “Dissenter is designed to extend American civil liberties protections for political speech to every corner of the planet, and allows people to express themselves on any subject, at any time, on any URL, in a manner which is or would be permissible under U.S. law.”
Cryptocurrency wants to decentralize the control that bankers and governments have over our money. Similarly, Dissenter was created with the intention of trying to remove the power from Silicon Valley giants and governments of controlling what we are allowed to criticize over the internet.
Launched with the motto of championing free speech, Dissenter works as a small browser extension that allows you to make comments about anything you want over the internet. Functioning as a simple social network for commenting on any URL, users are able to pick any URL across the internet to share and comment on it without the website owner having any control over what is posted on it. Dissenter’s commenting system is fully outside of the scope of the website’s owners. This means that theoretically speaking, they can’t ban, censor, or filter users.
Backlash by the MSM and Big Tech
It’s been more than a month since the launch of Gab Dissenter. As expected, the platform thrived at the cost of attracting negative attention from the likes of MSM and Big Tech due to the free nature of the platform and its radical philosophy of zero-censorship. This hasn’t pleased many tech giants, with some in the MSM going as far as calling the platform virtual graffiti by vandals.
Despite Gab’s best efforts to create a platform with the goal of giving a voice to everyone “no matter how radical or unsophisticated their ideas may sound,” it didn’t take too long for the platform to garner heat. After all, it was only a matter of time before someone would post something polemic into it which would cause major outrage and attract unwanted individuals and, as a result, become labeled as a hate-speech propagator.
This isn’t the first time one of Gab’s free speech platforms suffers a major backlash by the MSM conglomerates and big tech. Minds, another one of Gab’s platform with a policy of little to no moderation in the community’s posts, got labeled as a “hate-speecher’s dream coming true” last year after it started to attract people from the far-right and pejorative comments without anyone enforcing bans.
Are the MSM and Big Tech Justified?
The major backlash the platform received shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, we live in a society obsessed with political correctness and social justice. People live in fear of losing their jobs, reputation, and career due to accusations of holding some kind of prejudice. In short, everyone tries to be careful with what they say and who they associate with.
As the old saying goes, “a few bad apples may spoil the whole bunch.” Dissenter is paying for the sins of its users. There is no denying the fact that Gab’s social media services have attracted a handful of controversial figures such as Stefan Molyneux, Sargon of Akkad, Lauren Southern, and many more. Nevertheless, blaming the platform for how it’s used and what kind of people it attracts is wrong. It is like blaming gun manufacturers for the deaths caused by people using their weapons. In the end, Dissenter is only a tool and Gab can’t be held liable for how it was used. One could argue that Gab as a company is still responsible for moderating what people say and do in it. However, it can be argued that due to the way the platform was built, which was using blockchain’s decentralized nature and philosophy of little to no moderation, the platform should be treated as a public space where people can come and go as they please.
Although the platform does attract a few troublemakers, we can’t also forget the other side of the coin. Dissenter really does pose a threat to corporations and the standard narrative preached by the establishment. After all, Dissenter does allow people to comment about any URL on the internet with little-to-no-moderation. In the eyes of many MSM conglomerates and corporations, this can ruin their reputation since someone can use Gab’s Dissenter to defame and vilify businesses, famous people, and governments.
The Rise of Deplatforming
The rise of deplatforming is a sign of the times to come. Deplatforming people just because you don’t agree with their views is simply wrong and seems like a childish move that would only be made by third-world dictators desperately trying to stay in power. Free speech is all about allowing people to voice their opinions no matter how much you disagree with them. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop tech giants from taking the other side. You may have noticed that Silicon Valley is currently on their biggest witch hunt in history by censoring and deplatforming anyone that doesn’t fit their political agenda.
Will They Prevail?
The future of Gab’s Dissenter remains largely unknown. It will rely mostly on what kind of discussions it will attract to its community. It’s very unlikely that the platform will ever be accepted by society as a typical social media network. Thanks to its policy of minimum-to-no moderation, Dissenter is sometimes used to promote radical ideas. Some have also used it with ill intentions of promoting hate-speech. But, as stated before, that doesn’t mean the platform was made to be used as a propagator of hate-speech. The platform is being misused. Yet, it is also bringing a free speech revolution the internet is in desperate need of.
Nevertheless, with the ever-growing resentment over the lack of freedom of speech on the internet, it seems that Dissenter was launched in a favorable period, fueled by the disapproval of recent actions taken by tech companies and politicians. It is highly likely that the adoption of Dissenter by the internet community will be strong in the years to come. But how long is it until tech companies or governments find an excuse to entirely shut the service down?
Originally published on 71Republic