In recent years, there have been great advancements in technology. With the new electronics and internet becoming accessible to more people, social media has taken a big role in our world. From FaceBook, to Instagram, to TikTok, to Twitter, people have been able to create more connections than they ever could before. With all of these new connections and easier ways to spread information, there is also a lot of false information that appears on social media. A new social media platform was brought to the surface in 2016 called Gab. Gab was founded by Andrew Torba right before the 2016 election. This social network was created to “defend, protect, and preserve” your freedom of speech (Goodwin, 2021) . Torba realized the amount of censorship on all social media platforms so he created one where you can speak whatever you want without being stopped. With that comes a lot of false information that is being spread. Right away this social media platform became an issue around the elections. Gab is an American microblogging and social networking service known for its far-right user base. Many comments that were posted had a major effect on people's emotions that later resulted in a tamper with the elections from false information.
Gab is a social media site that has links to a Russian agency. This Russian agency disguised as fake American users who would post comments that later would interfere in the presidential election (Myers, 2022). Since there were no guidelines or supervision over this network, people are able to speak freely with no consequences. False information started spreading like wildfire creating angry and passionate Americans. This continued and fueled people as years went on. In 2018, a gunman used the network to threaten and target Jewish people. He then later went to kill eleven Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue (Goodwin, 2021). Gab is seen to have no boundaries with no right or wrongs like any other social media platforms have. Gab disappeared, laying low for a few years, and then once again resurfaced when the 2020 elections came around. The fake users from the Russian agency once again started spreading false information to cause issues in the election. Users on Gab became so infuriated that it built up to the storming of the capitol. Gab intentionally aided and conspired with the attack on the Capitol by creating a space for like minded people to come together to fuel their anger. People posted to gain “followers” who grew angry throughout the posts that triggered people to storm the Capitol.
Gab has become a network full of like minded people with no supervision. It is known as a safe haven for neo-Nazi, racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, antisemites, conservatives, right-libertarians, and believers in conspiracy theories (Goodwin, 2021). This caused people who were banned from social media platforms to be attracted to it. This social media platform was created to cause chaos.
In recent months, the Russian agency that has been disguised as users has made posts undermining President Biden and the US tax dollars going into Ukraine against the Rusissians (Goodwin, 2021). With peoples strong opinions, a lot of havoc arose between Americans. The Russians goal is to ignite anger amongst conservative voters and to undermine the trust in the American electoral system. They are able to do this because of Gab.
|Founder Andrew Torba|
Individualism is when the businesses main goal is to profit within the law. Milton Friedman, an economist, formed an idea around individualism. This idea stated that the only goal of a business is to profit. That means that they would stop at nothing until they maximize their profit for the owners or stakeholders. Many people have attempted to take down Gab, but have been unsuccessful due to them following the law. Gab's main goal is to be a social media site where you can post and comment on any opinion you have without any backlash. They were able to profit this by targeting a specific audience that was drawn to this social media idea. A lot of negative aspects came from this platform; people were commenting awful statements and were targeting specific people based on religion or political beliefs. But even though this platform generated a lot of hate and anger, there was nothing anyone could truly do because it was protected under the law. Gab is protected under the law of freedom of speech, leaving it hard for people to truly shut down this site. They were able to maximize their “profit” for the stakeholders; Andrew Torba and users, while also following the law.
Although Gab was able to achieve individualism, this concept of individualism does not take into account the identity of the company and leaders or the motivation of investors to invest in socially responsible businesses. In terms of Gab, the business strived to be successful and was able to be successful but with the price of their image. Their main goal was to be a social media site where you can post and comment whatever opinion you have. The users who posted on this platform did receive quite a lot of backlash. They were seen as “neo-Nazi, racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, antisemites, conservatives, right-libertarians, and believers in conspiracy theories” (Goodwin, 2021). These types of people are not kindly welcomed into our world because of their ruthless and unfair opinions. Along with that, creator Andrew Torba received a lot of publicity in a bad way. Right away, after Gab was published, it created a lot of public enemies. This type of social media was banned from Apple and Android app stores. The only way to access it was through the Internet.
|Gab is Reliant on Their Users to Function|
Utilitarianism is the theory of how actions affect one's emotions. It’s how you can maximize happiness in yourself and others through decisions and actions. This also means how decisions can maximize sadness. These actions and decisions are made up of doing what's right and what's wrong. In terms of Gab, a lot of wrong has been done from users and the posts they have created.
Stakeholders of Gab had a lot of responsibility with maximizing users and outsiders emotions. It is seen that information from comments on Gab have caused conflict and infuriated many people. It has fueled anger. Conflict and controversy is unavoidable on social media platforms. That is why companies like Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook, and YouTube step in to set guidelines. Their actions and decisions are made to maximize the happiness of their users. Of course not everyone will be happy, but they base their decisions on the majority of users. Gab was created to target the unsatisfied users on those platforms. Andrew Torba was looking to maximize happiness for those unsatisfied users. He was able to do that because of the lack of guidelines. With that came consequences, such as, fueling and maximizing anger from users clashing with outside people.
There are around 100,000 users on Gab. That is a small portion of people considering other social media platforms estimated in the billions for users. Even though it is a small number, these users have a great impact. The users on Gab tend to fuel each other, they maximize their emotions in an angry way. For example, they were convinced that the 2020 elections were rigged and then later conspired to storm the Capitol. They fueled one another. But it’s not just the user's actions that affect other users, they also affect the outside people. On average, there are 4 million outside views on Gab, that means nonusers go and look on the social media platform. What users comment and post has maximized anger in outside users. Their actions have put a negative effect on everyday people.
Gab is full of unethical decisions. They set out to create a platform that was different from everything else. Their targeted audience are the misfits on popular social media sites. This is where people were able to spread misinformation and be able to target topics and people with no consequences. Gab has a major effect on everyone's emotions due to their decisions and actions that were made.
Kantianism is an obligation of respect to all autonomous beings. It consists of principle formulas, one being the formula of humanity. It states that, “You treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means” ( Kant 1785: 429, italics removed). In a business aspect, this concept is for businesses and business people to follow. It implies for them to treat all persons with respect and morally right. It is an ethical theory that is in place for people to act rational towards one another. It allows and helps people to make rational decisions in an individual and business sense. Business people are motivated to do what is best because it is the right thing to do. From recent research it has come to light that Gab has different views than other social media platforms. The world sees them as morally wrong but what Andrew Torba has created he believes is the right thing.
In recent years, social media platforms have taken steps to decrease hate and misinformation on their platforms. Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook, and YouTube have taken precautions surrounding users and the posts they make. They have done this because it is the right thing to do in society. They have realized that disinformation can cause a lot of conflict worldwide and the root of the spread of this information are their platforms. Each site has a sensor system and takes action in eliminating misinformation. If users are consistently posting misinformation and bad comments, these social media sites have a duty and power to ban these users. But with these users being banned, they are led to other social media sites where they are allowed; Gab.
Gab is a social media site that is the opposite of Kantianism. There is a lack of morals and doing the right thing on this site. Gab provides a space for people to say whatever they please without being controlled. They granted these users freedom of speech on a social media platform where anyone can see it. In a sense, freedom of speech is a good thing, but only when used morally right. The posts and comments made in the name of freedom of speech have caused damage to others. These actions go against the concept of kantianism and the duty we have to one another. Misinformation has been spread throughout the site and continues to spread targeting people based on race, political and religious beliefs. Other social media platforms do their best to keep their platforms morally fair out of respect for other people. Gab is a social media site that does not follow Kantianism in an ethical world. They lack morals and kindness towards other beings.
The users of Gab are quite questionable. There are rights and wrongs of basic human behaviors. We understand that crimes are bad and hurting others is bad. We also understand that helping others and doing the right thing is good. These rights and wrongs are taught and learned as we grow. Virtues are the characteristics that allow things to function properly. These characteristics include; courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. They have to be learned. Virtues doesn’t focus on the rules but rather on what kind of person you should be. The opposite of virtues are vises, which are the wrongs. People have both. The users of Gab don't care for others feelings, these actions lead to poor actions. Those actions have been murder, rioting, targeting certain people because of their political and religious beliefs. They lack virtues. But it’s not just the users but also Gab as a company.
Gab also lacks virtues. Virtues in a business aspect are guidelines for the company to be honest, have compassion, to be fair, have generosity, serve justice, etc. Since Gab does not have guidelines for their users, they do not help keep a balance of rights and wrongs. Breaking down the virtues of a business; courage, honesty, temperance, justice, it is seen how Gab lacks some of them. In a way, Gab does have courage. Just creating this app was a riskful task. Andrew Torba knew this site would not be acceptable in others eyes but still took the risk. But even though there was courage involved it was not courage related to doing the right thing. By creating this site, a lot of damage has been done. On the other hand, Gab lacks honesty. This social media site allows misinformation to be posted on their page and labels it freedom of speech which makes it “acceptable”. Since they do not have honesty on their platform it reflects back on the company and creator regarding their virtues and what they prioritize . Along with that, Gab lacks temperance. Temperance is known as self-restraint or self-regulation. Businesses complying with the law is an example of temperance. Gab consists of users who do not possess self-restraint. They post and display absurd comments for the public eye to see without thinking of the consequences, it causes conflict. The final virtue is justice. A user of Gab targeted Jewish people and stated he was going to shoot them. Later on he ended up shooting and killing eleven jewish people. Gab was not held accountable for what had happened. There was no justice for what this social media site led to. There is a lack of accountability which leads to a lack of justice. Users have a free range of everything meaning they can say and do whatever they please without consequence. Along with that, Gab is also not held accountable for what their users comment and do. Social media sites like Twitter and FaceBook keep a strict guideline of virtues for their users. Companies like FaceBook have also been held accountable for the false information that is posted on the platform. Gab does not have responsibility like these companies which causes a lack of virtues of doing the right thing from Gab and their users.
|Gab Post Made By Torba In 2021|
Gab has been on the internet since 2016. This social media platform is not going anywhere anytime soon. The longer the site is around the more users it gains making it have more influence on the misinformation being spread. Gab is an unethical company that looks to further their philosophies. To stop this from happening people need to become aware of the damages that are made from Gab. Strict guidelines need to be set for this social media site. That includes holding the users and creator accountable for what they say and do. There needs to be consequences for their actions.
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Myers, S.L. (2022) Russia reactivates its trolls and bots ahead of Tuesday's midterms, The New York Times. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/06/technology/russia-misinformation-midterms.html (Accessed: December 2, 2022).
Special to the Capital-Star, P.C.-S.A.4 (2022) What is Gab? A look at the far-right social media platform backing Doug Mastriano - Pennsylvania capital, Star. Available at:
https://www.penncapital-star.com/campaigns-elections/what-is-gab-a-look-at-the-far-righ t-social-media-platform-backing-doug-mastriano/ (Accessed: December 1, 2022).