He was canceled before the cancel culture. And looking back, maybe that was a blessing. Andrew Torba had a three-year head start to build his mob-proof business. Now, Gab is one of the only free speech havens still standing, giving tens of millions of oppressed Americans a social media platform to call home.
"When I first started this," he explained on "Washington Watch," "the goal was just to build an alternative social network. But really what we've become is an alternative to Silicon Valley." And not a moment too soon. With companies like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google banning users, dropping accounts, and slapping warning labels on proven facts, Americans needed a place to speak truth without fear. This Christian entrepreneur gave them one.
"The Lord put it on my heart about five years ago to start this company. And when I started it, everybody thought I was crazy." He said it was like building a "digital Noah's Ark." Other people said, ‘You're going to take on Facebook, you're going to take on Twitter, and you're going to take on Google? You're insane." And it probably felt that way in 2018 when one user gave the corporate world a reason to come after him. After an attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue, companies started blaming Torba -- using the mere fact that the shooter had a Gab profile as an excuse to shut him down. (Nevermind that Facebook users have been implicated in murder, domestic terrorism, child trafficking, the January 6 riot at the Capitol and a whole host of other crimes.)
Suddenly, he started getting notices from his vendors -- all announcing they were cutting services. "We've been banned from both app stores. We've been banned from hosting providers, from payment processors, from -- you name it -- 25-plus service providers that you need to operate a website on the internet." So, Andrew did what conservatives are scrambling to do now: he built his own infrastructure completely from scratch. "We have our own servers. We have our own web browser. We have our own payment processing solution... And I believe that that is the future," he insisted. "We can't look [to the] failing system of Big Tech oligarchs and Silicon Valley. They're not going to change their ways. They're wicked. And they're going to continue to come after Christians."
Just look at where we've come in five years, Andrew shook his head. "Things are escalat[ing] to the point where they're calling the Bible hate speech. They're calling the words of Christ hateful and bigoted. And things are escalating. And Gab is going to be the last place on the internet where people can speak freely and share the gospel and share opinions and ideas. And it doesn't even have to be about Christianity. Just in general. People are going to be able to speak freely on Gab."
Now, those hard years have paid off. Gab is getting more page views than some of the major mainstream media outlets -- and adding about 30 million users a month. At that pace, they'll be impossible to stop. "People are finally getting access to the free flow of information and truth that they can't find anywhere else, Andrew pointed out. "So I don't think that growth is going to slow down."
Obviously, in a community with tens of millions of users, not everyone will share our faith and values. But, as I told Andrew, I'm fine with that. I don't mind having a vigorous debate or conversation with people who disagree. That doesn't scare me. What scares me is what the Left is doing in shutting down the debate.
And yet, as Andrew points out, despite the censorship and silencing, "God always wins." "And I believe right now, in this moment in time, He's calling us to [think creatively] and build... And I pray that other Christians are inspired by the work that we're doing and start to build themselves, because if we're going to escape this cancer culture, I really feel like we need to build our own economy, build our own banks, our own business infrastructure, our own internet. I mean, that's where things are going."
We're called to stand for truth and proclaim it. God never intended for us to voluntarily silence ourselves. Andrew, by refusing to give up or surrender, has given Christians a platform that's virtually cancel-proof. And that's not -- he's quick to tell you -- by his own power. "All the glory goes to God. I'm just a vessel. I don't want anyone to remember my name. I want them to remember what Christ did for me, because He saved me. He saved Gab. The only reason I'm online right now is because God has blessed us and humbled me and helped our team persevere through the persecution that we faced over the past five years."
So join FRC in supporting Andrew and giving free speech a platform. Go to Gab.com and sign up. Also, check out our conversation for more details about what's available and how the community works. You can follow me on Gab @tony_perkins