Gab, B2B, B2C, and the Battle of Values

B2B platforms are taking stands, while B2C platforms remain craven

Gab, B2B, B2C, and the Battle of Values

The right-wing social media site Gab has been in the news after the tragic shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh which killed nearly a dozen worshipers. Gab hides its right-wing genetics behind “free speech” rhetoric.

It’s not working, and many platforms refuse to do business with Gab, including Microsoft Azure, PayPal, Stripe, and now even GoDaddy, which has a reputation for little shame in its advertising or discretion in its customer base.

You can read more in an excellent article in the Columbia Journalism Review about Gab and its well-deserved travails.

What’s really interesting is the nascent trend for B2B platforms to take a stand about who they will and won’t do business with. I’ve done that at the various companies I’ve worked at over the years, and it’s every business owner’s right to decide who they will and won’t work with.

B2C companies have it harder, because they are public-facing and open to criticism from various groups. These criticisms are usually bogus — arguing that I have a right to a Twitter account because of the First Amendment is arguing that Twitter is an arm of the government, which it is not — but the criticisms do get people hot under the collar, and controversy can tip stock prices downward if the noise gets too loud. And with a hair-trigger President ready to stir any pot presented to him, the risk of taking a stand has so far been deemed too great. You also have technology heads at Twitter and Facebook who have no solid editorial experience, so decisions about acceptable and unacceptable are foreign to them.

Tides shift slowly. Gab represents a low in social media, but it may help to show how far the other platforms have sunk, as well. Until Facebook, Twitter, and others take a stand — kudos to Snap so far, by the way — we are going to have to rely on the B2B platforms to remind us of the difference between right and wrong, I suppose.

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