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Amid ongoing disputes about free speech and hate speech, “alternative” social network Gab says it has raised $4.8 million and is planning a $10 million initial coin offering (ICO).
Gab, which has become popular among extreme-right and ultra-conservative figures who have been banned from other platforms, held a second round of fundraising on StartEngine that attracted more than 1,000 investors. Last year, Gab raised $1.1 million during a similar campaign that was boosted by a crackdown on hate speech on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
The founders of the site insist it’s a neutral, free-speech platform that is trying to build an advertising-free business. In its fundraising material, Gab highlights the fact that 50 percent of the top social networking apps are owned by Facebook and that a handful of Silicon Valley companies wield enormous control over content on the internet.
While the site claims to be politically neutral, it was started by Andrew Torba, an outspoken Trump supporter who was kicked off the Y Combinator alumni network for “speaking in a threatening, harassing way toward other YC founders.”
Posting on Gab, Torba said he’s excited about the platform’s momentum and noted that his plans over the next year include a $10 million ICO, hiring more engineers, and redesigning the site, along with marketing campaign across such sites as DrudgeReport, Breitbart, ZeroHedge, and Facebook. He noted that Gab had been banned from advertising on Twitter.
His other plans include: “Buy ads in San Francisco just to troll Big Tech.”
He also wants to bring over “red-pilled” content creators, a term that has come to refer to those who express extremely conservative, often anti-feminist views.
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