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Days after an anti-Semitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 congregation members dead, far-right social media service Gab is facing intense scrutiny after reports revealed shooter Robert Bowers regularly posted on the site.
Now, companies are pulling support from the service left and right, and Gab isn’t handling it too well. After Gab’s domain registrar GoDaddy threatened to pull the plug on the website after discovering “numerous instances of content on your site that both promotes and encourages violence against people,” Gab has since tweeted over 60 times in an existential panic and taken down its website.
“Gab.com is under attack,” Gab writes on its homepage. “We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors.”
The site says that it is transitioning to “a new hosting provider” and that the service “will be inaccessible for a period of time.” It remains unclear how long that will be—one tweet suggests Gab will “likely be down for weeks,” another claims it is working on the transfer “today/tomorrow”—but until then, the right-wing service has hinted that it will move hosting services to a location outside the U.S.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped Gab from acting as if it’s on a gradual death march.
“There are like 3-4 total companies who decide if you exist on the internet or not,” Gab said while tweeting from its uncensored and verified Twitter account. “In the future that will mean they decide if you ever existed at all. Ponder that.”
GoDaddy isn’t the first company to pull support from Gab, hence the site’s erratic tweets. In the past two days, four other organizations have either stopped working with the service or are set to do so: Joyent, PayPal, Stripe, and Medium.
PayPal removed Gab’s accounts on Saturday, and shortly after that, hosting service Joyent announced that it would shut down Gab’s account by Oct. 29 at 9am ET, Gizmodo reports. Meanwhile, payment service Stripe reportedly suspended Gab bank account transfers “effective immediately” as the service conducts an investigation into whether the site “actually prevents violations of our policies” in Gab’s monetization offers. Gab also claims the service is “banned” from Medium, which removed the site’s response post to the Pittsburgh shooting.
The Daily Dot has since reached out to Medium and Stripe but has not received a response as of this article’s publication.
Meanwhile, Gab is struggling to hold itself together. The site is flooding its users’ timelines with alt-right memes, including one that superimposes Gab onto John Wick as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and “Fake News” point guns at him. Another compares verified Twitter users to NPCs, the alt-right’s latest dehumanizing meme. This is despite the fact that Gab is also a verified Twitter user, but facts over feels, right?
Gab also left their cap locks on for multiple tweets, including one where it warns users to “GET TO THE POLLS” because the U.S. is at risk of “LOSING THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES TO LITERAL COMMUNISTS.”
“THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the account screamed into cyberspace.
Meanwhile, Twitter is enjoying Gab’s salty tweets, especially because the entire alt-right social media sphere is on fire right now.
Gab couldn’t control Gab and people are dead.— scarinscafe (@erinscafe) October 29, 2018
But sure, keep whining about censorship on your *checks notes* not suspended twitter account. pic.twitter.com/bTNGu8ptxk
Gab be like pic.twitter.com/i8woxVldAF— Forabetterus (@Forabetterus1) October 29, 2018
Using twitter to claim you are censored has to be up there with "The MSM won't cover this <link to NYT>"— Matt (@drasticinaction) October 29, 2018
The worst thing about sites like Gab is that they don’t understand how the first amendment works.— Reality Sandwiches (@PoleNordPoleSud) October 29, 2018
A couple of nazis were encouraging Gab users to switch to "Wrongthink", an even crappier platform than Gab, but with similar goals. They happen to be down right now, but no worries, you can get updates on their maintenance on...... Gab. pic.twitter.com/2MjlNHpwb5— Stop the Next 'Unite the Right' (@stopthenextutr) October 29, 2018
Others are using this as an opportunity to criticize Gab, reveal how the site encourages bigotry, and point out how Gab is being disingenuous with its right-wing intentions by touting itself as a “free speech” platform.
Gab existed only because a weak, scared man wanted to hurt people, and wanted to be among others who wanted to hurt people, and they wanted to hurt people without consequences for themselves.— Emily G (@EmilyGorcenski) October 29, 2018
I question this frequent assumption I see that Gab is rooted in “free speech” radicalism, instead of being quite clearly meant specifically to host hate speech.— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) October 29, 2018
Since Gab is thirsty af and searching their name on twitter because they can’t currently use their own platform to whine about white genocide, my mentions will now be an illuminating list of people we should all keep an eye out for.— scarinscafe (@erinscafe) October 29, 2018
Gab,,,,thank you. pic.twitter.com/DEAFj6DcBG
The answer to "bad" speech will never be to create a sheltered hub for hate groups to connect and influence each other.— Catz the Vampurrr (@Emilinalala) October 29, 2018
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Gab, meanwhile, is also trying to save face with a new tactic by saying it “took the site down early on purpose” because “we knew the media would take the bait.”
“So much whining, so little hosting,” a critic responded.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.