Gab Ends the Cult of Free

Andrew Torba makes a wise and long-overdue business decision, which I support 100 percent:

Starting in March, media uploads on Gab will be a privilege reserved for GabPRO, Verified, Donor, and Investor users. We will no longer be supporting free media uploads and hosting huge amounts of data for free. Let me explain why.

As you all know Gab has to maintain our own in-house infrastructure because we have been banned from all cloud hosting providers. Over the past year we’ve had so much data uploaded, largely from free users, that we have to purchase more storage and spend our precious and limited engineering resources trying to expand our infrastructure storage. We’ve also faced an onslaught of bot accounts over the past few months that we believe are purposely uploading tons of media files on purpose to flood our storage space.

Finally, there are many real users who have been here for years and posted tens of thousands of times and have 10-100GB+ of media stored on Gab’s drives for free. Add those all up and it becomes extremely costly to maintain.

We can’t do it anymore. Every user will be able to speak freely with words, but if you want the privilege of Gab hosting and an endless stream of large images and videos you’ll need to help support the service. It’s just that simple. PRO, Verified, Donor, and Investor users will notice no change when this happens, things will continue as normal for you. Everyone else will need to upgrade to PRO to unlock the privilege of posting media files on Gab.

Freeloaders have nothing to offer a community except drama, expense, and trouble. Their uselessness is highlighted by their reaction to the news that they won’t be able to make use of Gab’s infrastructure any longer for their own purposes, which in many cases are directly in opposition to Torba’s own objectives.

One of the reasons this community is strong is that everyone has an amount of skin in the game. Everyone is willing to contribute time, energy, and resources toward our collective vision, toward advancing the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. And any resources that are diverted to those who are unwilling to even contribute the modern equivalent of the widow’s mite are almost certainly wasted.

It’s not about greed. Right now, UATV is operating without having a single subscriber, advertiser, or revenue stream. And that’s fine, because it’s part of the mission and it’s important to the community that it carry on without interruption. It never occurred to a single member of the team to reduce access or temporarily shut things down until subscriptions are opened again in March. We aren’t even going to bother with a crowdfund or anything else, because we never operate anywhere close to the edge.

But you can’t run an operation without resources, and you have to be wise about where you devote those resources. Spending them on people who are unwilling to make even the smallest commitment to the operation is a fool’s game, which is why I have been predicting the end of the cult of free for some time now, and why we never set up any operation on that model.

In fact, Torba will probably see a bonus effect of eradicating the larger part of the trolls and paid propagandists, because the former won’t pay to play and he just increased the cost of doing business for the latter. So, it’s a very smart decision on his part.

If you care more about a Macchiato Grande from Starbucks than supporting the platform on which you spend hours every day, you don’t deserve to have access to it.