Andrew Torba: Five Things to Know | ADL

Posted By on November 23, 2022

1. Torba is the founder and CEO of Gab, a social media platform and haven for hate and disinformation

Andrew Torba is the founder and CEO of Gab, an online hub for extremist and conspiratorial content. Since Gabs inception in 2016, Torba has positioned the platform as a free speech alternative to Twitter and other popular social media websites. Because of the platforms lax policies around content moderation, Gab quickly became known as a platform used by conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, members of militias and influential figures among the alt right.

The platform also has welcomed extremist and other problematic content, including verified accounts that share posts praising National Socialism, posts espousing QAnon conspiracy theories and hateful posts towards marginalized groups such as minorities, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ+ community. ADLs Center on Extremism (COE) has also found examples of extremist and harmful content, including the antisemitic and anti-immigrant rants Robert Bowers posted prior to his 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in which he killed 11 people.

Conspiracy theories and antisemitism are rife on Gab, including misinformation about COVID-19 and the 2020 Presidential electionas well as comments suggesting Jewish people control financial institutions like the U.S. Federal Reserve and have orchestrated violent global events such as the Russian revolution.

A number of online services have removed Gab based on concerns about content. In the days following the Tree of Life massacre, Gab was banned from using the blog posting site Medium, hosting provider Joyent, website domain provider GoDaddy and the payment providers Stripe and PayPal. When asked why they pulled their support, PayPal stated that Gab was explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence, or discriminatory tolerance. Meanwhile, Torba has continued to build and expand the platform.

2. Torba regularly uses Gab to promote antisemitism, right-wing extremist ideologies and conspiracy theories

Torba himself espouses much of the same hateful and extremist rhetoric that his platform is known for. In July 2022, Torba came under fire for antisemitic comments made on the Gab tv platform: This is a Christian nation. Christians outnumber you, by a lot. A lot. And were not gonna listen to 2%. You represent 2% of the country, ok? Were not bending the knee to the 2% anymore. Torba uses 2% to allude to Americas Jewish community, which makes up approximately two percent of the U.S. population. Torba has also shared the antisemitic belief that Jews control world institutions and governments, writing on Gab, The Judaic and pagan age of rule in America is over and that [w]e have seen the fruits...of our nation being led by Godless pagans, nonbelievers, Jews, and fake Christians-in-name-only.

COE has highlighted past examples of Torbas antisemitism

On August 18, 2022, Torba re-posted a comment from Gab user Josh Waller, which reads, in part: "So, should we subject our children to Jewish propaganda on television, music, or movies? Uh, no. Should we act like the nation of Israel is not in rebellion against God? Uh, no. Should we ignore that Talmudic zionists want to crush the Gentiles? Uh, no."

Josh Waller is a verified Gab account holder who regularly shares posts about his interpretation of Christianity. Waller also wrote an anti-Muslim Gab on August 16, 2022, claiming that Muslims "worship a demon." According to his Gab bio, Waller is currently developing a Presbyterian church in Tallahassee, Florida, and was banned from Twitter on July 13th, 2022.

Torba has also nodded to right-wing extremist ideologies such as accelerationism. In April 2021, in a response to general discourse discussing political elections, Torba commented, Dems win either way. Accelerate the decline so we can start rebuilding from the ashes. Torbas overall message mirrors accelerationism, a term used by white supremacists that expresses their desire to intensify societal conflicts and collapse.

While Torba differs from accelerationists in that he does not emphasize that this rebuilt society should be exclusively for white people, he has shared other conspiracy theories that are heavily promoted by white supremacists such as The Great Replacement theory. This theory suggests that people of color are replacing white people through immigration, birth rates and other economic, social and political means. Some versions of the conspiracy theory allege that Jewish people are orchestrating this Great Replacement in order to weaken white culture and values. In 2021, Torba posted on his personal Gab account that he supported Tucker Carlson and his promotion of the replacement theory, writing, Now today the ADL is trying to cancel Tucker Carlson for daring to speak the truth about the reality of demographic replacement that is absolutely and unequivocally going on in The West. These are not hateful statements, they [sic] objective facts that can no longer be ignored.

Torba has also frequently posted content in support of the January 6th insurrection as an acceptable response to political grievances, namely that the 2020 U.S. Presidential election was rigged in favor of President Biden. In an open letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, COE highlighted that Torba sent a message to Gab News subscribers prior to the January 6th Insurrection, saying: If you are heading to DC tomorrow remember to record video footage in landscape mode while filming. Document as much as you can and please know that your content is safe on Gab and Gab TV. Big Tech will undoubtably [sic] be censoring any and all footage to downplay the massive turnout and hide any communist violence that arises. Torba also posted on the day of the attack, In a system with rigged elections there are no longer any viable political solutions, and, would be a real shame if the people outside stormed the Senate.

Torba also shares COVID-19 and election misinformation, going so far as to publish an article on Gab with instructions on how to create a religious exemption document to prevent Gab users from getting injected with a potentially deadly experimental substance. Regarding election misinformation, Torba has shared conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 U.S. Presidential election and encouraged Gab users to share this misinformation with their peers and families. In a recent article, Torba claims that if more people were on Gab, then they would know much more about the rigged and stolen 2020 election. They would know about the January 6th hoax and see the video footage of Capitol police literally opening the doors and allowing the crowd into the Capitol. They would know about the Great replacement and who is doing it.

3. Torba has long promoted the concept of Christian nationalism, encouraging his followers to help build an independent Christian economy

While Torba only recently began using the specific phrase Christian nationalism, he has long argued that Christians should be building a parallel Christian economy and distancing themselves from mainstream institutions, creating their own social media platforms, banks and other resources. Using his influence as Gabs founder and CEO, Torba regularly publishes content that underscores this message.

In February 2021, Torba published an article asserting that the only way to push back against globalism and the corruption of public and private institutions is to leave the current system and build new infrastructures founded on Torbas concept of Christianity.

On August 23, 2021, in response to the Talibans takeover of Afghanistan, Torba wrote on Gab, If a bunch of dudes who hid in caves for twenty years can take their country back from the Globalist American Empire then theres no reason we cant too. All we have to do is exit their system and build our own.

While livestreaming on Nick Fuentes platform in July 2022, Torba shared that his ultimate goal is to build a coalition of Christian nationalists...and were gonna take this country back for the glory of God. He added, this is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country.

4. Torba has allied himself with extremists and far-right influencers

Torbas position as the head of an alternative social media platform has given him opportunities to connect with other prominent figures who have been banned from mainstream platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

On February 25, 2022, Torba was a guest speaker at an annual event founded by white supremacist Nick Fuentes. The America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC III) consistently brings over 1,000 attendees, with thousands of viewers watching the conference live on Fuentes streaming platform. Torbas speech highlighted his Christian nationalist beliefs; he said, America is a Christian nation and encouraged the audience to act to protect the countrys religious integrity.

This is not the first time Torba has collaborated with Fuentes. The two platform founders appear to view each other as integral to creating an alternative technology ecosystem that allows online users to share their content without fear of being banned. Fuentes, who is active on Gab, has highlighted his admiration for Torba, saying, I trust Gab because Gab is run by a faithful Christian. And not some Judeo-Christian either, a Christian. Likewise, Torba is active on Fuentes livestreaming platform, where he is a verified content creator.

Torba has both interviewed and been interviewed by several other extremists, conspiracy theorists and far-right influencers.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has praised Torba for his work. In a 2021 interview between Jones and Torba, Jones tells his audience that we should all rally behind Gab, we should empower [Torba].

In 2021, the far-right conspiracy theorist Stew Peters interviewed Torba and praised Gab, sharing that he believes Gab is going to be the Alamo of free speech. Peters also appeared at Fuentes AFPAC III, where he highlighted that Americas enemy is Satan himself, who is flooding our schools with blood libel against white people and allowing an Islamic insurgency.

In June 2020, Torba was interviewed by Peter Brimelow the founder of the racist and conspiratorial website VDare, during which Torba claimed that hate speech does not exist.

Finally, Torba has been interviewed multiple times by the far-right influencer Steve Bannon on his online show Bannons War Room. During these interviews, Torba shares his beliefs on election conspiracies and transhumanism, a conspiracy theory that governments are modifying bodies and DNA via secretly inserted chips.

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Andrew Torba: Five Things to Know | ADL

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