In a recent video, CEO of Gab Andrew Torba claimed that he and his family are receiving death threats because of his controversial work. It remains to be seen how other right-wing websites will come out after the massacre at The Tree of Life Synagogue.
The threats were highlighted by famous right-wing politics sight Infowars. The sight claimed that mainstream media was stalking Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba. The subheadline read “Alternative social media platform targeted by the establishment for supporting free speech.”
This headline has to be taken with a grain of salt as InfoWars founder, and political commentator Alex Jones is known to make extremely absurd statements. He previously claimed the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was a hoax, which it wasn’t.
And who can forget his famous quote that Pentagon has a “gay bomb,” chemicals from which it has allowed to leak into the water supply turning “the friggin’ frogs gay!”
The validity of his claims needs to be checked and verified.
Following the shooting, domain hosting company GoDaddy told Gab to find another domain, as it refused to host the far-right network on its servers. GoDaddy had given Gab 24 hours to find a new domain host. Gab didn’t comply, so the website went offline.
GoDaddy followed other tech companies, Joyent, Stripe, Paypal, and Medium who refused to provide service to Gab. Paypal also blocked Gab from its payment platform. The Tree of Life synagogue shooting is considered to be the worst attack on Jews in US history.
GoDaddy and other companies came to this decision due to recent horrific events that left 11 people dead. The massacre occurred at a Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Synagogue. The shooter, Robert Bowers, aged 46 left hate messages on Gab’s social network.
Bowers who will most likely face the death penalty, repeatedly wrote Anti-Semitic posts on Gab’s social network. The 46 year old Pittsburgh resident had written “Jews are the children of Satan” in his Gab bio. Bowers had also written, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
HIAS is a non-profit organization that helped Jews escape from Russia and eastern Europe. Since 2000, the organization has expanded to help refugees of all beliefs.
Gab has been shoved into the limelight because of the mass shooting that occurred on Saturday. Tech companies alleged that Gab could have intervened but it turned the other cheek.
It leaves a gray area into the whole freedom of speech argument. Although right-wing sites do showcase many racist and violent ideologies, not acting upon them or putting anyone’s life in danger is what prevents them from being taken down.
But unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case this time around. Bowers knew what he was doing, and he stood behind his words. He went to the Synagogue, with a clear goal in his mind, to kill all Jews.
GoDaddy told news outlets that Gab broke their terms of service, by inciting violence.
A spokesperson from GoDaddy said: “We have informed Gab.com that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another registrar, as they have violated our terms of service. In response to complaints received over the weekend, GoDaddy investigated and discovered numerous instances of content on the site that both promotes and encourages violence against people.”
Gab now has a lengthy angst-filled letter displayed on its homepage, written by Torba. It features dramatic lines such as “we are a threat to the media and the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.”
Other over the top lines include: “No-platform us all you want. Ban us all you want. Smear us all you want. You can’t stop an idea.”
Torba claims that Gab has been working hand in hand with the Department of Justice and FBI to bring the terrorist to justice, but feels his platform was unjustly banned. As I mentioned earlier, this again brings up the matter of freedom of speech.
I do believe one person’s actions shouldn’t make an entire community suffer, but since this isn’t a one-time thing, Torba is playing the victim here. Gab was banned from App Store and Google Play Store in 2017, over the content violation.
Gab also came in trouble with Microsoft. The Silicon Valley giant refused to provide services to the social network until it removed two anti-Semitic posts. Gab complied, so the services resumed, but Microsoft Azure terminated the deal with Gab last month.
There’s also the murky area of whether the shooter had still performed this act if he had not made such a big announcement. If it were the case, then Gab wouldn’t be connected to the shootings at all. Then there is the issue of gun legalization, which is another debate.
Torba also wrote that Gab isn’t going anywhere.
Infowars has also gotten in trouble with the law in the past.
It remains to be seen how US legislators will deal with this and how right-wing websites will be affected going in the future.
It’s a wrap for now!