Several companies are distancing themselves from the social network Gab after it was discovered that Robert Bowers, the suspect in the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting that resulted in the deaths of 11 people, used the site to voice anti-Semitic viewpoints.
Shortly after the shooting, GoDaddy gave gab.com 24 hours to remove itself from the service. Other companies like Medium, Stripe, Joyent, and Paypal have also severed ties with the social network.
According to the New York Times, Bowers created his Gab profile in January, and although he had other accounts Gab was where his anti-Semitic messaging were most prominent. Here’s more from the New York Times’ Kevin Roose:
Gab’s reputation for accommodating extremism may have been what drew Mr. Bowers to the site. In January, he signed up for an account, and began sharing anti-Jewish images, conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world, and criticism of President Trump — whom, he implied, was too accommodating of Jewish influence.
According to the Times, Bowers’ Gab account bio read “I hate Jews” and contained several posts criticizing President Trump. According to CNN, Bowers’ last post on the platform read:
“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Right now, anybody looking to go to gab.com won’t be able to. There’s just a message where the site claims it is “under attack” and that it has been “smeared” by the media.
Gab was founded in 2016 by Andrew Torba and boasts a user base of over 700,000. It’s small in comparison to social media giants like Facebook and Twitter.
As bigger social media networks crack down on hate speech, one of Gab’s biggest draws is that it encourages freedom of speech — hateful or not — as long as it’s not violent.
Social media companies have been under fire over the past few weeks. Cesar Sayoc Jr, the suspect in the mailing of several pipe bombs to elected officials and former presidents, had a long history of posting hateful messages to social media as well.
On Twitter, Gab said they would be transferring the website to a new host.