A website i frequent often, a so called christian endeavor, sent me an email asking for me to upgrade to a paid account. Reading this left more questions than answers. Who actually pays for the operations of a domain and do privacy rights really exist?

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The email that started the question. The purpose of illuminating this is because our policy is to keep records private period. Our users pay to post items and services and their private information is not for sale. We are proud to be a Christian company and if people are offended they probably should not be visiting a MAGA website. The email sites Jewish activist group the ADL, that’s just to funny, GAB a christian company crying because jews would boycott them, take it as a badge of honor and let them go, why did you get into bed with them in the first place?

EMAIL:  In the world of free social networks the user is the product rather than the customer.

This is because these platforms generate revenue primarily through advertising and the users’ data is the currency that drives this model. Instead of simply paying for the privilege of getting access to your attention advertisers also demand that these platforms silence you from saying anything they don’t like or they will threaten to pull their ad dollars.

They do this because they themselves are pressured by activist groups, primarily the Jewish activist group the ADL, for running ads next to speech the ADL doesn’t like. By the nature of this relationship the ADL has de facto control over the social networks and thus they also control free speech online. The entire business model is toxic from top to bottom and it’s time for it to end if you want free speech to exist.

When a user signs up for a free social network, they are asked to provide personal information such as their name, email address, and other demographic data. This information is then used to build a profile of the user, which can be used to target them with relevant ads. Every click, website, photo, like, comment, share, and message is tracked. The more information a user provides, the more valuable their profile becomes to advertisers, who are willing to pay for access to this data.

With this model the user is the product being sold to advertisers, rather than the customer being served by the platform. The platform’s goal is to maximize the value of each user by collecting as much data as possible, which can then be used to target them with increasingly relevant ads.

As a result, free social networks prioritize the needs of advertisers and activists over those of their actual users. They also collect and share user data with third-party partners without the user’s knowledge or consent, or they may use intrusive tracking methods to gather even more information about their users.

In contrast, subscription-based social networks like Gab offer an alternative model where the user is the customer, rather than the product. By paying a fee to access parts of the platform, users can enjoy a more private and secure online experience, without the need to share their personal data with advertisers. This shift in focus from monetizing user data to serving the needs of paying customers can create a more equitable relationship between the platform and its users.

The advertising market, once seen as a savior for these platforms, has continued on a downward trend over the past year. With the rise of AI, the competition for advertising dollars has become even more fierce. This has led to a situation where social media platforms and media companies are struggling to find ways to create sustainable business models that can support their operations.

Google and Facebook more or less have a duopoly on online advertising precisely because of the vast amounts of data they have collected and continue to collect on their users. Media companies like VICE, Buzzfeed, and many others simply cannot compete for ad dollars and are being forced to shut down or layoff a significant portion of their staff. Similarly, alternative platforms like Gab, Rumble, Truth Social, and others can’t compete for ad dollars in any meaningful way without compromising their core values.

Gab, a social media platform known for its commitment to free speech, has been at the forefront of this challenge since 2016. Gab was the first to successfully implement a subscription-based model, GabPRO, that allowed users to enjoy an ad-free experience while supporting the platform’s growth.

Today Gab is taking a radical move forward with this concept. Starting now in order to upload media files on the platform users will need to be a GabPRO subscriber, donor, or verified account. This shift reflects the reality that advertising is no longer enough to subsidize the costs of operating a free speech social media platform.

We simply can’t afford to host and endless stream of media files being uploaded from free users anymore and unless we do something now Gab Social will never have a sustainable business. Free users will still be able to share text, links, polls, and engage in other ways, but media uploads are by far the largest expense on our infrastructure and they will be reserved for the people who help us pay to keep that infrastructure online.

This sounds like a drastic measure and it is. Far too many people assume that Gab and other alternative platforms have the same business models as big tech platforms. We do not. You can either have total free speech on a subscription-based platform or you can have a censored social network that offers all features for free on an ads-based platform. You cannot have both. So you must choose which you prefer to use. The platform that dictates what you can say and see that allows you to use every feature they have for free or the platform that allows you to say whatever you want and distribute that message to everyone, but has a small fee for some costly features. The choice is yours.


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