Payment processors such as GoDaddy, Paypal and Stripe immediately cut ties with Gab as soon as the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting broke in the news. These companies as well as the site’s host are not wrong for no longer supporting a platform that caters to racists and xenophobes.
In the midst of the controversy surrounding Gab, the site continued to fight for their right of free speech, and managed to keep their site available online. They are often compared to Twitter, but there is a significant difference between the two: A higher proportion of Gab’s audience steers into far right politics.
According to Reuters, Paypal found it necessary to take immediate action when “a site is allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance.”
Gab calls itself the home of free speech, but the online platform has made itself a safe space for imbeciles who offer their help to white supremacist doxxers, like the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, Robert Bowers. Deservedly, Gab has received a lot of backlash due to Bowers using the site to broadcast his anti-Semitic views and his intention to initiate life threatening action.
Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab, claims that the site is censorship-free and has a “zero tolerance” policy to violence. Funnily enough, the people who are banned from Twitter are the people that immediately revert to this site.
According to Huffington Post, white nationalists and neo-fascists have been recruited to the site as it is the “Twitter alternative.” Andrew Anglin, Carl Benjamin, Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones — who are all considered alt right members — were active on Gab. And they all share a commonality of practicing hate speech.
“We want everyone to feel safe on Gab, but we’re not going to police what is hate speech and what isn’t,” Torba said.
Ironically, Gab’s posted guidelines include no doxxing, no threats of violence, no illegal porn and no terrorism. Gab’s statement is that “free speech will always win,” but at what point are boundaries implemented to “letting off steam” on a web platform? The site allows for hatred to be heard and spread, which is part of America’s problem.
America holds a never ending debate of who belongs to this country. Websites like Gab only trigger this prejudice and bigotry. Racist Americans love to blame others for the country’s racial struggles and Donald Trump has only fortified this American policy by projecting his infamous “build the wall” quote.
It is clear that beneath the surface of American public policy, platforms such as Gab or the Daily Stormer take advantage of their civil liberties and discard the meaning of civil rights. They allow for people to address their concerns, but in a vile way.
Perhaps Torba, an active Twitter and Facebook user, should take notes from these platforms and consider how diligently they watch over them.