Social Saturday – March 2, 2024 Edition – Gab

Gab was rocked by changes in policy this week and many people are still reeling. The range of emotions goes from “It’s about time!” to “I’m leaving, goodBYE!” and everything in between. But many people are hurting, believing that they have been betrayed, and it is for these people that my heart hurts.

This big change in policy affects a huge number of users, and a huge number of groups. And media. Gab has had enormous storage requirements for the amounts of media that they host from their users, and has been feeling the strain for quite a while now. In addition, there have been “subversives” (not sure who that would be?) posting so much that it uses up a lot of storage, in addition to Bots. So Andrew Torba has been forced to take action.

And this is the action that he took:

Starting in March, Gab will be introducing a new policy for media uploads on our platform.

We have made this decision to ensure the sustainability and growth of our services. As you may know, Gab operates its own in-house infrastructure due to being banned from other cloud hosting providers for protecting free speech on the site. Over the past year, we have experienced a significant increase in data uploads, mainly from free users. This has led to the need to purchase more storage and allocate our engineering resources to expand our infrastructure.

In addition, we have noticed a surge in bot accounts that seem to be deliberately uploading large amounts of media files to exhaust our storage space. The cost of maintaining this data is becoming unsustainable. Every month it costs Gab six figures to keep Gab Social online.

We are rely on the users of the platform to help us cover these costs. We don’t have the luxury of being propped up by the endless money printing of the banker class like Silcion Valley companies do. We depend on support from people like you. Gab Social needs to become a sustainable business to survive as a service longterm. So in order to continue providing our users with a high-quality platform, we have decided to make media uploads a feature reserved for GabPRO, Verified, Donor, and Investor users. All free users will still be able to like, react, comment, post text, polls, send dms, join groups, etc. 

This change will allow us to allocate resources more efficiently and maintain a stable and secure environment for all our users. Existing GabPRO, Verified, Donor, and Investor users will not experience any changes, and their media upload experience will remain uninterrupted. All other users will need to upgrade to GabPRO to enjoy the feature of posting media files on Gab. You can learn more about GabPRO and its features here. We appreciate your understanding and support in this transition, as we work towards providing the best possible service for our community. If you recieve value from Gab and the Gab community we humbly request that you consider ugprading to GabPRO to support the longevity of the service. 

The Gab Team

Many people feel betrayed because they believe their content helped build this extremely successful platform into what it is today…or because it has always been free – and about true free speech – it should stay free…or that they will lose a huge part of their experience on gab due to tight finances…or that Andrew is “in it for the money, just like everyone else!” That sense of betrayal is understandable.

Though, as a Pro user already, this change doesn’t affect my ability to continue posting (which didn’t even occur to me at first), it DOES affect my enjoyment of the platform. I am a heavy user of the “groups” feed which shows all posts to the groups to which I belong. And the majority of these revolve around photos. And many MANY of the members have spoken up about how, with so many other members unable to post photos anymore, the groups will be a shadow of their former selves.

This is just too big of an issue, with way too many opinions and facts and reasons and sides to explain it all in a single post. Gab, being Andrew’s site, can do what he believes he has to do to ensure it’s survival and success, which he has explained in subsequent communications with the users. And Chia.Owly.Net, being my site, means that I can share whatever thoughts and opinions I have on the situation (or anything else). And those are these, in no particular order:

  • The Gab Team, headed by Andrew, has to make tough decisions sometimes; gab has been struggling as its expenses – led by this media storage issue – have grown fast and high. This was something to stop this. Quickly.
  • I’m not sure how it could have been done, but it seems to me there should be a way to know who these “subversives” and bots are, and eliminate THEIR ability to post media and use up valuable storage space – but I don’t run gab and don’t know even 1% of the behind-the-scenes details.
  • I would love to see longtime, loyal users maintain their ability to post as they always have. This shows respect for their contribution to gab’s growth and success. If necessary, allow 90-day (or whatever) storage, rather than just cutting people off.
  • There are options. The original communique above says that media posting would continue for verified users, among others; it costs nothing to verify, or at least it didn’t when I joined and verified.
  • Donors can continue posting media with as little as $25. Yes, that is still a lot of many people…but less than a Pro account,
  • Another option is to share links to one’s media in their posts rather than the media itself; nobody has have to use – or support – gab’s storage.
  • Some members are gifting Pro accounts to others whose content they enjoy; this is bringing out the best in so many people!
  • Any good business, especially one making a decision with such an enormous impact on its “customers”, needs to review the results throughout the process and periodically afterward. Whether gab will lose Pro users and take a financial hit as a result, or whether free users will pony up and go Pro, or at least donate, remains to be seen; however it appears in these early days – at least according to what Andrew has shared with us, that it is the latter.
  • Last thought: I hate that this has to happen at all. I hate that the site is contributing to the divisions in our society – the haves from the have-nots – and starting a class war within the community (judging by some of the discussions I’m seeing). I hate that everyone can’t participate equally as we always have. I hate this change. But how we FEEL doesn’t equal what are the FACTS.

Andrew has posted a podcast just today about this. If you are interested in hearing the truth about what’s going on as opposed to partial truths, opinions, slants, and flat-out lies, please listen to this. It will be well worth your time. Andrew lays it all out and shares the bare facts. Give it a listen if this is something that you, too, care about.

I love gab. I have loved gab since I first set foot there. I have carefully curated my own feed, and spend much of my time in carefully selected groups. So it is a beautiful, fun, and lovely place to spend time, especially with other believers, and I prefer it over any other platform I have ever used (though the fediverse is such a close second that I couldn’t slide a hair between them!). It is my happy place. I want to see it survive this storm with as little damage as possible, and no casualties. It is easy to sit and judge and throw opinions around when I – none of us, really – don’t know that majority of the facts. “What I would do” has absolutely no importance, given that. In the end it will come down to how the gab experience changes, for me, and for all of the people I have come to enjoy, respect, and even love there.

2 thoughts on “Social Saturday – March 2, 2024 Edition – Gab

  1. It is a blessing to those who can Pay It Forward to others who want to continue using Gab but are financially unable.
    Those abusing Gab were/are taking the food out of Andrew’s children’s mouths. Shame on them (and don’t think God doesn’t know who you are! He does and you will answer to God for your nastiness to others! )

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