Social network Gab back online after shooting
Social network Gab is back after a finding a new web host.
The network, which describes itself as championing free speech, went offline after it was revealed that the man accused of a gun attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh was an active member.
Its previous host GoDaddy withdrew its support along with other tech firms.
Gab has been criticised for giving a platform to far-right commentators who have been banned from other networks. It says it does not tolerate terrorism.
Rob Monster, the founder and CEO of Gab’s new host Epik, wrote a blog post defending his firm’s decision.
He acknowledged that Gab had a duty to “monitor and lightly curate, keeping content within the bounds of the law”.
However, he also said he felt that Gab’s founder Andrew Torba was “doing something that looks useful” and described Gab’s removal from the internet as “digital censorship”.
Five things to know about Gab
- Critics have described the site as a “haven” for the far-right, since many controversial figures have moved there after being banned from Twitter and Facebook. Among them are conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; the founder of the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin; and the far-right group Britain First. Gab says it welcomes all speech and members should mute accounts they do not want to see
- Not everything is allowed on Gab. Its terms and conditions do not allow direct threats of violence. And Mr Torba has previously blogged disavowing political violence. Posts that break US laws – such as copyright content and images of child abuse – are also not allowed. A small number of Gab users have complained that the platform does not allow cartoon depictions of children in sexual situations. The company has told those people to go “somewhere else”
- Gab does not carry advertising. Instead, members can pay for a Pro membership that unlocks several features, including video live-streaming
- Apple has never allowed Gab on its App Store, citing pornographic content and hate speech. Gab was available on the Google Play store until August 2017, when Google removed it citing hate speech. The company has produced versions of its app with content filters switched on by default but Apple and Google have not allowed this on their app stores. Gab has described this as Silicon Valley censorship
- Gab has faced censorship accusations of its own. In 2017, its web domain registrar ordered it to delete a post mocking Heather Heyer, a woman killed in protest-related violence in Charlottesville. Faced with the threat of losing its web domain, Gab deleted the post and sought a new domain registrar. Its cloud service provider, Microsoft, also ordered it to delete two anti-Semitic posts. However, these were subsequently removed by the writer himself. Gab has said it wants to develop its own decentralised infrastructure so that it can avoid censorship