Gab dot com: free speech at a cost

Wired editor Nicholas Thompson questioned whether the moral case for shutting down Gab, and other sites like it, should override the free speech argument for keeping it around — and whether the tech companies who have the power to make such decisions are using it wisely.

“Should Gab have been knocked away? If your first principle is free speech, of course not,” Thompson wrote Monday. “Anti-Semitism is not illegal, and providing a platform where anti-Semites post is not illegal either. Threats of violence are illegal, but Gab says that it does its best to remove them.”


We know in the US that the First Amendment doesn't grant an unbridled right to speak anything anywhere in the US. We also know that private organizations can ban speech that the government cannot under that amendment.

I believe there are rightly limits on free speech. One is free to speak up to the limits.

Racism is illegal in government and even illegal in some private organizations. Many private organizations can't legally discriminate in employment against legally protected groups. There are many other examples.

Am I sorry Gab was taken down? No. I would not run, nor would I condone, a site that does not take down racist speech. The only exception concerns a fair debate on the merits between racism and anti-racism. I believe racism is indefensible and has, and will, always lose any such debate. Open, proper (rules-based) debate is a good thing. That's not what Gab was or aspired to be.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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