Queensland MP George Christensen is using the alt-right social media network Gab, the go-to social media platform for neo-Nazis, QAnon conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists.

Mr Christensen, the LNP member for Dawson in far north Queensland, appears to have been a member of Gab since 2016 but only began posting this week, highlighting complaints about Big Tech censorship including the de-platforming of US President Donald Trump.

The spotlight has turned on Gab, a self-proclaimed free speech platform developed in 2016 by young conservative Christian tech entrepreneur Andrew Torba, since mainstream sites including Twitter and Facebook purged tens of thousands of accounts, including Mr Trump's, following last week's attack on the Capitol building.

Users of another right-wing site, Parler, which was effectively shut down last week, were also heading to Gab.

The site, which has featured a cartoon character strikingly similar to Pepe the frog - co-opted by neo-Nazis as a mascot - as its corporate logo, and still sells merchandise featuring "Gabby the frog,'' has claimed it was getting 10,000 new users signing up every hour.

Queensland MP George Christensen. Picture: Matt Taylor
Queensland MP George Christensen. Picture: Matt Taylor

Mr Christensen does not mention his LNP affiliation on his Gab profile and instead calls himself a conservative, with links to his podcast.

"Gab has established itself as a free speech social media platform that adequately moderates unlawful content, and for these reasons I am happy to support it as a Member of Parliament," he told News Corp.

Other Australians using the site include far-Right figure Blair Cottrell. There is an inactive account under the name of the former One Nation Senator Fraser Anning.

QAnon conspiracy theorist Tim Stewart, prominent for his years-long friendship with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is also on Gab after being booted off Twitter.

Senior politics lecturer at the University of Sydney, Peter Chen, said while there was much talk of "mass migration'' to sites such as Gab, it remained to be seen if the new users would stay around.

Dr Peter Chen, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Sydney. Picture: Supplied
Dr Peter Chen, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Sydney. Picture: Supplied

Dr Chen said Gab had fewer than one million accounts and it was not yet clear how many were active.

By comparison, Twitter has more than 340 million accounts and more than 186 million daily active users.

Dr Chen said claims by Gab that it was signing up 10,000 people an hour were "totally unverifiable.''

"The question is how many will stay around,'' he said.

"Gab is far more unashamedly aligned with the far Right - the neo-Nazis, white supremacists.

"There are common threads, at the moment QAnon is the major theme.

"Once Trump fades from the public eye with the loss of his position … how long will people be attracted to the Q thing when Trump is out of office?''

Dr Chen said he thought Gab would be less popular in Australia than in the US, where it appealed strongly to those involved in the US militia culture.

Efforts were made in 2018 to shut down Gab after a man posted his thoughts there before murdering 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Mr Torba, who was just 27 when he founded Gab, posted on Friday that the site had "zero tolerance for threats of violence or illegal activity on our platform.

"The soaring demand of our service is not from extremists joining the platform, but rather from everyday people joining who are tired of the Silicon Valley tyrants controlling speech on the internet,'' he wrote.

Originally published as Questions over MP using alt-right social media


Shed 'totally destroyed' in blaze outside Warwick

Premium Content Shed 'totally destroyed' in blaze outside Warwick

Crews have now been battling the blaze for nearly three hours, with reports of...

Music legend Shannon Noll to star in region’s epic new festival

Premium Content Music legend Shannon Noll to star in region’s epic new...

Former Australian Idol icon to perform along Stanthorpe duo Nine Year Sister and...

Race to track travellers linked to ‘superspreader’

Premium Content Race to track travellers linked to ‘superspreader’

Explained: Race to track travellers linked to ‘superspreader’