PayPal Bans Gab for Hate Speech Following the Pittsburgh Shooting
Gab, a social networking service created as an alternative to Twitter, has reportedly been banned from using PayPal (PYPL) as a payment processor following the shooting that took place early Saturday morning at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 11 people were killed and at least 6 were injured.
The suspect, now charged with 29 criminal counts, has been identified by authorities as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, who has had a history of racially-charged, anti-Semitic speech on Gab without repercussions on the platform.
In response to Saturday’s events, Gab released a statement defending its anti-terrorism and violence policy, while highlighting similar issues that occurred on other social media platforms.
“We refuse to be defined by the media’s narratives about Gab and our community. Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people. Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. From live streamed murders on Facebook to threats of violence by bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. that went unaddressed by Twitter, and more. Criminals and criminal behavior exist on every social media platform,” said Gab in the statement.
However, in a statement provided to The Verge, PayPal asserts that Gab shows a clear history of not regulating hate speech and other violent behavior.
“The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action,” said PayPal.
PayPal isn’t the first payment processor to ban Gab in recent months, as Coinbase reportedly barred Gab from leveraging its cryptocurrency payment platform. Gab had even previously considered launching its own cryptocurrency to bypass the need of third-party payment systems.
This news comes just a month after PayPal PayPal banned Infowars.com, the controversial media platform for far-right American conspiracy theories and fake news ran by Alex Jones. PayPal had cited alleged incidents of hate speech and discriminatory content as its basis for banning Infowars.
UPDATE (11:00 PM): A recent post on Gab by CEO Andrew Torba claims the website’s hosting provider, Joyent, has pulled the plug, giving the company till Monday to find a solution. According to Torba, “Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this.”
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