| Frogs, clowns and swastikas|
|Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time|
|Buzzwords and dogwhistles|
“”Free speech for everyone.
Gab.com is a social network website founded in Austin, Texas in August 2016 by CEO Andrew Torba as a "free speech" alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Apparently, the website was founded in response to Facebook employees suppressing conservative™ articles (according to Torba, though those in the reality-based community might disagree) and the "entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly" by mainstream social media platforms. Despite its initially innocuous appearance and good intentions such as its "people and free speech first" policy, the website has unsurprisingly (see 8chan, another free speech Internet experiment) become a refuge for cranks, conspiracy theorists, alt-righters, white supremacists, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, internet trolls, Islamophobes, terrorists/extremists, denialists (Holocaust, Obama birther and climate change), and other unsavory creatures of the web. Gab has since become the dumping ground for all things banned from Twitter, and not in a good way. Until 2018, the logo of the website was a frog (which screamed Pepe the Frog, though Torba denies the connection, claiming that it was inspired from Bible verses Exodus 8:1–12 and Psalms 78:45.). The website is one of the several outlets that form the alt-tech.
The website has over 835,000 users. However, on the bright side, as of 2019, it only has 19,526 active user accounts. The site lacks a full-text search feature but supports searching by hashtags.
Dissenter by Gab, aka introducing hate speech on news sites' comments sections
In February 2019, Andrew Torba introduced Dissenter, a new project that claimed to be "the comments section of the internet". It is a browser add-on that allows people to comment on news websites. Not so surprisingly, it has been blocked by Mozilla and Google for attracting the same audience that Gab brings in. Dissenter has been called "the (browser) extension of the far right." Gab also offers a web browser also called "Dissenter" (a fork of Brave Browser) to respond to being blocked by Mozilla and Google. The Windows and Linux versions of the browser (v1.5.114) was last updated March 2020, whereas the macOS version (0.70.122) was last updated on November 2019, meaning the browser is functionally abandonware (or at the very least, concerningly old).
In July 2019, Gab was relaunched after struggling from the fallout of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. The relaunched site was built on the free software Mastodon, but not in affiliation with its developers. The nature of the free AGPL3 license that Mastodon is licensed under prevents its team from doing anything about Gab's fork. Thankfully, Gab's viewership has been plummeting since the updates.
Because of its content, Gab.com has been banned from several outlets. Apple banned Gab due to its pornographic content, while Twitter blocked it for its feature that shares posts from the site on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, Google Play also banned the website for violating its hate speech policy. In response, Gab.com sued Google for violating antitrust laws.
On September 5, 2017, Gab.com was forced to censor a post deemed offensive by Instra Corporation in 48 hours. The next day, the company got embroiled in another censorship controversy when domain company AsiaRegistry demanded that Andrew Anglin's offensive post about Heather Heyer's killing at the Unite the Right rally be removed; the company complied by removing his post.
On October 27, 2018, crazed anti-semite Robert Bowers killed 11 people at the Tree of Life, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The suspect was found to be an active user of Gab, and used the platform as an echo chamber for racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted ideology. Bowers blamed Jews for bringing in Central American migrants into the United States, claiming "HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in," and "Why Hello there HIAS! You like to bring hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided." He believed that there was a white genocide, writing "Daily Reminder: Diversity means chasing down the last white person," featured the neo-Nazi catchphrase 1488 on his profile at least twice (on his account picture and the other in a post titled "Make Ovens 1488 F Again"), and reposted other anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial/Holocaust-related content from other users such as Patrick Little and Daily Stormer writer "Grandpa Lampshade". Shortly thereafter, Paypal suspended Gab from their service, and Gab's hosting provider gave them the boot.
- PewTube, a failed "free speech", alt-right alternative to YouTube that was rife with the same type of content as Gab.
- 8chan, another example of what normally happens when you don't set speech limits.
- Feeling Sidelined By Mainstream Social Media, Far-Right Users Jump To Gab by Alina Selyukh (May 21, 2017 at 6:46 AM ET) All Tech Considered: NPR.
- Frequently Asked Questions. Archived from dissenter.com, 15 April 2021.
- Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele and Sabrina Tavernise, 11 Killed in Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts. The New York Times, 27 October 2018.
- Robert Bowers · @onedingo Gab (archived from 27 Oct 2018 15:30:05 UTC).
- What's Gab, the social platform used by the Pittsburgh shooting suspect? CNN, 27 October 2018.
- Andrew Liptak, Paypal bans Gab following Pittsburgh shooting. The Verge, 27 October 2018.
- Gab.com on Twitter, 27 October 2018.
Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this.
- Alan Pyke, Gab, the hate-breeding social network Robert Bowers used, is going dark for now. Think Progress, 28 October 2018.