Gab

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Gab's current logo is really green and boring, though it is fashioned from freshly skinned frogs. At least with the previous logo, you can make Pepe jokes about it.
Frogs, clowns and swastikas
Alt-right
Icon altright.svg
Chuds
Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time
Buzzwords and dogwhistles
Free speech for everyone.
—Official slogan[1]

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)[2] and the "entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly" by mainstream social media platforms.[3] 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, homophobes/transphobes, 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.[4] The site lacks a full-text search feature but supports searching by hashtags.

Torba's ultimate goal with Gab is to create a full-fledged right-wing tech ecosystem dedicated to his militant version of "Christianity", which is based on radical white nationalist pique toward non-Christians, QAnon conspiratorial thinking, and outrage at everything "elite". [5]

Dissenter by Gab, aka introducing hate speech on news sites' comments sections[edit]

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.[6] 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).

Relaunch[edit]

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.[7] The nature of the free AGPL3 license that Mastodon is licensed under prevents its team from doing anything about Gab's fork.[8] Thankfully, Gab's viewership has been plummeting since the updates.[9]

Controversies[edit]

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.[10] Unsurprisingly, Google Play also banned the website for violating its hate speech policy.[11] In response, Gab.com sued Google for violating antitrust laws.[12]

On September 5, 2017, Gab.com was forced to censor a post deemed offensive by Instra Corporation in 48 hours.[13] 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.[14]

On October 27, 2018, crazed anti-semite Robert Bowers killed 11 people at the Tree of Life, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[15] 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,"[16] and "Why Hello there HIAS! You like to bring hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided."[16] 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.[17][18][19][20]

The hate flows down from the top[edit]

Unsurprisingly, Andrew Torba, Gab's CEO, is antisemitic like much of Gab's userbase is. In October 29 2021, he tweeted a tirade regarding his desire to create a "parallel Christian society" due to being "fed up and done with the Judeo-BolshevikWikipedia one", and supported this with antisemitic comics from StoneToss. [21][22] On his social feed on Gab, Torbin has even fewer problems whipping out anti-Semitic tropes in his posts, such as "Zionists" being responsible for creating the Federal Reserve (which for some reason is a "subversion of American Christianity") [23], or "Jews control the media". [24]

Unsurprisingly, Torba is against the COVID-19 vaccine, and has used quackery like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to "treat" the bouts of COVID-19 he caught. [25]

In late January 2022, Torba announced that Gab would sponsor as well as give a speech [26] at the America First Political Action Conference, the neo-Nazi alternative political conference to CPACWikipedia run by neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes. In the announcement, Torba declared that he wanted "unity on the right", then proceeded to trash-talk CPAC for supposedly being "sponsored by Facebook and Google" and Turning Point USA for being "sponsored by atheist libertarian billionaires". This announcement actually was extreme enough to piss off many Gab members. [27][28][29]

See also[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 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.
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/arts/the-far-right-has-a-new-digital-safe-space.html
  3. https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/new-social-network-gab-growing-fast-free-speech
  4. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/02/14/no-way-gab-has-800000-users-web-host-says
  5. "The CEO Trying to Build a White, Christian, Secessionist Tech Industry" by Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 2021 August 23
  6. Frequently Asked Questions. Archived from dissenter.com, 15 April 2021.
  7. https://blog.joinmastodon.org/2019/07/statement-on-gabs-fork-of-mastodon/
  8. https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/blob/master/LICENSE
  9. https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/gab.com
  10. https://www.inc.com/salvador-rodriguez/gab-apple-twitter.html
  11. https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/17/alt-social-network-gab-booted-from-google-play-store-for-hate-speech/
  12. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/twitter-rival-gab-sues-google-over-app-store-rejection/
  13. https://www.oneangrygamer.net/2017/09/gab-ai-forced-to-censor-post-after-registrar-company-issues-threat/38824/
  14. https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/6/16259150/gab-ai-registrar-andrew-anglin-daily-stormer-crackdown
  15. 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.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Robert Bowers · @onedingo Gab (archived from 27 Oct 2018 15:30:05 UTC).
  17. What's Gab, the social platform used by the Pittsburgh shooting suspect? CNN, 27 October 2018.
  18. Andrew Liptak, Paypal bans Gab following Pittsburgh shooting. The Verge, 27 October 2018.
  19. 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.

  20. Alan Pyke, Gab, the hate-breeding social network Robert Bowers used, is going dark for now. Think Progress, 28 October 2018.
  21. "Gab’s CEO deactivates Twitter account after wildly antisemitic tirade"
  22. "Gab CEO Andrew Torba Broadcasts His Antisemitism Across Social Media Platforms", ADL, 2021 December 15
  23. "Gab CEO Andrew Torba Broadcasts His Antisemitism Across Social Media Platforms", ADL, 2021 December 15
  24. "The ADL attacked President Trump and I in the same week. Because the things we are saying are true!", Andrew Torba, Gab, 2021 December 20, archived on 2021 December 20
  25. "So I had "Covid" again. Was nothing at all like the first time which was only a few months ago. 48 hours of Ivermectin, Hydroxy, and a Z pack and I am testing negative now. It seriously felt like a 24 hour head cold. I don't trust these covid tests at all. I don't trust a single thing we have been told by "the experts" at all either. All I know is I am thankful that God gave me a glorious immune system and that I remain unvaxxed from Big Pharma's clot shot.", Andrew Torba, Gab, 2022 January 30, archived on 2022 January 30
  26. "Tonight I will be giving a speech live at AFPAC. I hope you can tune in. Shortly before I give my speech I will be publishing the transcript on Gab News. My goal with this speech is to inspire the next generation to build the Parallel Economy for the Glory of God. The title of the speech is GAB: Go And Build.", Andrew Torba, GAB, 2022 February 25, archived on 2022 February 25
  27. "The growing links between Gab CEO Andrew Torba and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes" by Alex Kaplan, Media Matters, 2022 February 18
  28. "Gab users are furious after its CEO announces partnership with notorious white nationalist" by Claire Goforth, Daily Dot, 2022 January 25
  29. "Gab is glad to be sponsoring AFPAC 3.", Andrew Torba, post on Gab, 2022 January 25, archived on 2022 March 1