On October 27th, 2018 there were reports that a shooting had taken place at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The suspect had apparently made comments across social media beforehand, specifically statements on GAB.com. This led media outlets to name GAB specifically in their reports when discussing the Pittsburg shooting, as noted in the New York Times piece.
The comment that most outlets are referring to specifically is one where the suspect claimed that he was no longer going to sit by while invaders “kill our people”.
This comment being referenced across multiple media outlets led to GAB’s cloud hosting provider, Joyent, giving them until October 29th, 2018 to find another provider. This was revealed through a tweet that GAB sent out via Twitter.
Breaking: @joyent, 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. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people. pic.twitter.com/YvnBOFoQQn
— Gab.com (@getongab) October 28, 2018
GAB has also been cut off from payment processors such as Paypal, as reported by Yahoo, forcing them to have to seek other means of financial support. This is all despite the fact that GAB has been working deligently with law enforcement agencies and turning over all necessary material related to the case.
But GAB has been under attack since its inception back in 2016, where it was an alternative social media platform to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, all of whom had begun censoring conservative speech. However, just a year after going online it was forced to censor posts after being threatened to be dropped by its registrar.
The company has been struggling to maintain a free speech platform, and even while it has played host to refugees fleeing Twitter due to censorship, the company has also been on the receiving end of censorship that has resulted in them suing companies like Google for anti-trust violations.
However, in recent times GAB also came under fire for not necessarily upholding their stance on being a truly free speech platform. While they allow for all sorts of speech, including hate speech, the social media platform banned lolicon material, calling it “demonic garbage” and citing the Protect Act of 2003 as the reason why they don’t allow lewd loli material on the social network anymore, even though lewd loli content is still allowed on Twitter.
Some people are torn about GAB’s predicament because while the CEO of the platform, Andrew Torba, touts the value of free speech, they were quick to censor content that they personally didn’t like.
(Thanks for the news tip Quickshooter)