The internet is dominated by a handful of global giants who control almost all the search facilities, social media and most visited web retail destinations. Facebook, Google (now called Alphabet), Twitter, Amazon, ebay and the likes of Apple Store are behemoths which make billions in profit each year and have strict guidelines on the content they each publish. Users violating those guidelines may receive a warning, have their accounts temporarily suspended or completely terminated without warning.
Former EDL leader, Tommy Robinson, now an adviser to UKIP faced such summary action last week when Facebook and its sister channel Instagram pulled the plug on his accounts claiming that his material incited hatred against Muslims, something which is strongly denied by Tommy who added “…This has to show people the levels they’re gonna go to silence any opposition to mass migration and the Islamisation of this nation.”
Local and national newspapers often prevent comments being made, understandably in those stories of ongoing court trials where comments may lead to miscarriages of justice, but heavy-handed editors also use their power to stifle comments on news articles where there is a significant groundswell of popular opinion against the established point of view.
Archant Media, a private limited company publishing about 50 weekly newspapers and four dailies in East Anglia regularly disable comments on stories which editors suspect will lead to an avalanche of comments at odds with the multi-culti propaganda such as this recent piece which completely fails to educate readers that Islam is ultimately a proselytising religion.
Stepping into the fray between the tight grip of the media censors and those who champion free speech is a new tool from GAB, a social media platform which is open to all. It’s a browser plug-in which allows users to bypass “rampant corporate censorship” and comment on almost anything.
Called Dissenter, the new service lets users comment on news articles, YouTube videos and even individual social media posts — even if those sites don’t have comment sections or have comments switched off.
Dissenter is a free to download add-on for popular browsers including Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox and allows users to log in and leave comments on any post, product, web page. When the add-on is installed a new icon will appear on the browser menu bar. Fire up a webpage, any webpage, click on the icon and see if any Dissenter users have left comments.
On the face of it this app sounds like a good idea but a few things Civil Liberty readers should note
1. You need to sign up to Dissenter and be logged in to be able to make a comment. That also means only those handful of other Dissenter users will be able to see comments from others. It is not a visible overlay which all visitors to e.g. the Daily Mail or Guardian web sites will see. It’s more like a hidden page of content relating to a particular news page, product or service which only the small but faithful Dissenter users can see, which is still a very small audience.
2. While logged in to Dissenter the GAB platform will be able to follow every move of its app’s users and it will know every web page you have ever visited, from your banking web site, which online retailers you shop, any dating sites you may visit. That is absolutely fine if you trust Andrew Torba, the founder and CEO of GAB and his team to keep your data safe and secure. The GAB team are highly professional and of course they will do everything possible to ensure the integrity of their services as well as all their user’s details. However the GAB platform is a very high profile target in the gun-sights of extreme left wing agitators and anarchist hackers so there should be some understandable concern that some or all of each and every Dissenter users’ web visiting histories could be stolen and who knows what use they could be put to? That might set alarm bells ringing.
Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages the Dissenter tool promises to disrupt the way the mainstream media and social media giants control their comments. It is a work in progress and may prove to be a significant game-changer as its ambitious developers expect. The caveat being to only log in and use Dissenter on those web pages where you genuinely want to make a comment and log out when you want to keep the rest of your online activity private.