Donald Trump

Online News Challenge: Social Network Gab Takes Aim at Drudge Report With ‘Trends'

It’s been a go-to chronicle of news for conservatives since breaking news on the Lewinsky scandal more than 20 years ago.

But now, some conservative knives are coming out for the Drudge Report.

Long an ally of President Donald Trump, Drudge recently quoted Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, calling Trump’s behavior “criminal and impeachable.”

He also quoted NBC’s Chuck Todd calling the current climate a “national nightmare.”


What’s going on?

It wasn’t that long ago that Drudge was firmly in Trump’s corner.

Now, not so much, and some conservatives are wondering whether or not Matt Drudge has sold out.

Meanwhile, another social network, with roots here in Silicon Valley, is offering up an another place to gather your news.

Enter Gab.

Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba will tell you a big chunk of its users are conservative. But his pitch is to any Twitter and Facebook user fed up with inconsistent messaging about what constitutes free speech, and concerns about being banned for posting the wrong things. He calls his social network “the only platform in the world which doesn’t censor legal speech.”

Its newest offering is called “Gab Trends,” a chronicle of what’s happening online.

“Using data from from our software products,” says Torba, who started Gab back in 2016 (and has since moved out of the Bay Area), “Gab Trends provides a real time pulse on what the internet is discussing right now.”

In other words, an alternative (albeit still much smaller) to Drudge.

Gab has, almost since its inception, come under fire for hosting right wing posters who launch controversial posts. And, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, it has had to deal with ugly threats made by users.

But glance at the latest “Trends,” and you’ll see an article on Republican Lawmaker Dan Crenshaw alongside a post on the college admission scandal. Scroll a bit and there’s a post on “GOP Lawmakers Storming the Impeachment Chamber,” very near articles on LeBron James, Selena Gomez, and Tesla.

In other words, a potpourri of social talkers, all in one place. Torba calls it ”A level playing field for mainstream, alternative, and citizen journalists to share their story with the world.”

Will it keep organizations like Vice from calling Gab “An online cesspool?” I doubt it.

But it may give busy people (yes, largely conservatives, at least at first) a new place to curate the news of the day.

Scott tracks social networking on Twitter: @scottbudman

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