Peter Thiel Has Only Pushed the Next Gawker Underground

Gawker has filed for bankruptcy. prick Thiel, World Health Organization sits along the Facebook provide and is A Donald trump out delegate, took it downwards inwards A power of attorney lawsuit. though the encase is unresolved, it was plenty to bleed and bankrupt the company.

This is A terrible consequence for exemption of the press, for society, and, I argue, for Si Valley, which whitethorn make out barely ensured that the following Gawker operates inwards the shadows, wherever technical school billionaires give notice ne'er action it. The following Gawker bequeath cost decentralized and it whitethorn stick to the Wikileaks mock up operating room even publish along the darkness web.

Now, lease Maine read that I amplitude modulation groping to yet spell this dissentient view. And I miss to puddle it clearly that galore of those I remember inwards Si vale ar thoughtful, intelligent, absorbing people. merely this is their dim spot. They make out funded operating room stacked heavy institutions of sociable replace without a great deal scrutiny, and instantly that the look is orgasm they don’t remember however to manipulate it. Saint Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator,1 unfollowed Maine subsequently I tweeted inwards endure of Gawker. A hit e-mail from whatever of these guys could attack my following around of funding. I make out to a greater extent to suffer than to put on aside putt my diagnose on this.

And that’s the point.

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The slogan of the vale is Fail fast. Disrupt. puddle thing shack want. Nick Denton and Gawker did this. And yet much of the Silicon Valley establishment cheered Thiel on. Venky Ganesan, managing director at Menlo Ventures, told The New York Times that Gawker "wanted to be taken seriously as journalists, yet they didn’t follow all the norms." Vinod Khosla tweeted that "click bait journalists need to be taught lessons."

Can we talk about how strange it is for Silicon Valley startup mentors to embrace proxy litigation as a business tactic? To suddenly get sanctimonious about what is published online and called news? To shame an Internet company for not following "the norms" of a legacy industry? The hypocrisy is mind-bending.

They’re on a different coast but Gawker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jezebel, Deadspin, Jalopnik, Lifehacker, and the defunct Valleywag are startups (the company was founded a few years before Facebook). Each site and community has grown and evolved in the past decade. They have published tens of thousands of stories, broken huge news, pioneered a sustainable ad model (without VC cash), admitted mistakes, and deeply influenced how truth is delivered to power online. Gawker alumni are editors at many prestige media outlets in New York.

Yet any defense of Gawker falls largely on deaf ears in Silicon Valley. It doesn't matter how much incredible work Gawker has done, people in the Valley will point, hysterically, to a handful of articles that they say cross their line. They will misconstrue the intentions of Gawker as evil yet take Mark Zuckerberg's intentions at face value. (How many people have been outed on Facebook?)

It’s fine to disagree with Gawker (I certainly have), but there’s a reason the US lists freedom of the press in the First Amendment. Why can’t Silicon Valley counter speech with speech? Why does must it use a proxy lawsuit? Many legal experts expect Gawker to prevail in the Hulk Hogan case on appeal, but it won't matter because fighting the lawsuit cost enough to bankrupt the company. This is Silicon Valley justice?

The Next Gawker Will Be Darker

My worry, as someone who works in tech, is that support of Thiel will backfire and everyone in the sector will suffer. The world is awaking to the hypocrisy and grotesque wealth of the Valley—people want to know who this new power is and they won't always be nice in their questioning. The middle class in America and the European Union wants to know what kind of future it faces as the tech industry continues creating products that eliminate their jobs. Thiel crucified the most notorious critic of Silicon Valley and called it philanthropy. If this is how Silicon Valley billionaires treat dissent, then dissenters may have no choice but to go underground.

If Thiel is successful in destroying Gawker, he will martyrize it.

Using his personal fortune earned from funding technology companies including Paypal and Facebook, Thiel just made a tabloid that covers Silicon Valley untenable as a business. What media entrepreneur can afford to regularly take on Thiel's lawsuits? But in that same stroke, he validated the concerns of many dissenters and blessed new rules of engagement. Secrecy? Proxy lawsuits? All of those are on the table now.

If Thiel is successful in destroying Gawker, he will martyrize it. The Hollywood movie that will come from this a few years from now is too cartoonish to imagine. Social Network: The Sequel. Staring Jesse Eisenberg, Hulk Hogan, Donald Trump, and a series of tech billionaires with egos as thin as egg shells.

1UPDATE: 9:30 pm ET 06/28/16: An earlier version of this fib wrongly declared that Paul whole wheat flour is A act Laotian monetary unit Andreesen Horowitz.