Gab.ai, designed as a free-speech alternative to Twitter, is proof that advocating free speech elicits outrage from the left. Since its founding, it has been subject to left-wing efforts to shut it down.
Tech companies, payment processors and more have worked to prevent Gab’s operation. Google Play removed the Gab app from the store. Tech infrastructure companies including GoDaddy, and financial platforms PayPal, Stripe, Medium, credit card companies and Coinbase also dumped Gab after a massacre in Pittsburgh. The alleged shooter had posted anti-Semitic rants on the platform.
In 2018, Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba wrote, “We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.”
Torba, who calls himself a conservative, Christian and Republican, created Gab in 2016 to be a “free speech social network.” Although he didn’t design it to be an alt-right or far-right network, many people with those views turned to Gab after being blocked or banned by what Torba called the “iron fist of censorship.” While welcoming all speech in accordance with the First Amendment, Gab does impose limits. It bans threats of terror, violence, pornography, child pornography and doxxing.
- Visa blacklisted Gab in 2020. Gab claimed Visa banned it for “promoting hate speech.” The company responded saying it “does no such thing. This is like saying Google ‘promotes hate speech’ because you can search racial slurs on their search engine and get results.”
- After PayPal and others cut ties, Gab was forced “to innovate and create an alternative version of the entire internet that is beyond Silicon Valley and the media’s control,” Torba told The Wall Street Journal in 2019.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase banned Torba’s personal account and Gab in 2019, making it difficult for it to exchange bitcoin — which it had been driven to after other payment processors refused service.
- When it was learned the Tree of Life synagogue shooter had previously posted anti-Semitic rhetoric on Gab, GoDaddy, PayPal, Stripe, Medium and Joyent all stopped working with the platform. The New York Times criticized the site for not prohibiting “hateful speech.”
- Shortly after allowing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Gab, Gab said the platform received threats from PayPal and Stripe they might discontinue service.
- Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store both removed the Gab.ai app in 2017. Google said Gab’s approach to moderating users’ speech violated its hate speech policy.
- Torba’s own profanity and use of “build a wall” was considered “harassment” by Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator community. He was kicked out of the group in 2016.
Contact Gab: (650) 477-5525, Facebook or mail 700 North State Street, Clark Summit, PA, 18411.