Gab, for those who don’t know, is where banned Twitter accounts go when they die. If someone gets removed from the social media site they probably end up there. In an email posted by creator Andrew Torba, Microsoft gave the creators just two business days to remove posts made by a user that strongly reference anti-Semitic sentiment. If Gab did not comply, Microsoft would have ceased hosting the website, which could have taken months to return.
The posts were deleted by the user, but not before Torba was reduced to pleading with his own audience to not ruin it for the rest of them. The post can be viewed below (content warning for anti-Semitic language):
You’ve got to hand it to Torba — he’s not exactly got it easy. Little may have felt as though he was filling a much-needed niche- a bastion of free speech, but Torba has clearly laid out his stall when it comes to protecting the website.
In the scramble to avoid being accused of the very censorship that they claim to stand against, Gab has weakened the authority of its admin teams and has drawn attention to the fact that their community remains reactive and disorganized.
The issue with creating a ‘safe space’ for those that flout the T&C’s of service providers and show little interest in preserving a positive community is obvious. Gab looked (temporary) death in the eye and risked the platform before banning a user for violating user guidelines that Gab itself has listed on its website.
As Twitter continues to face pressure for the refusal to ban several high-profile incendiary figures, other big names such as Facebook and Microsoft are buckling down on hate speech and other anti-social behavior, with one clear message; do what you want, you just can’t do it here.