Gab Offline and Forced To Find New Registrar

Gab, the fringe right wing version of Twitter, has been forced offline after several technology companies including their domain name registrar, GoDaddy, abandoned them. The move quickly followed reports that Robert Bowers, who allegedly shot and killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday, frequented the social media service posting anti-Semitic rants and conspiracies.

While Gab took down Bowers’ account shortly after the shooting, it has now found itself struggling to stay online after several technology companies abandoned them.

Two hours before the shooting, Bowers posted in Gab that “HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

It was reported that Gab said that upon learning of the shooting suspect’s profile they immediately took “swift and proactive” action to contact law enforcement.

Gab’s domain name registrar GoDaddy gave them 24 hours to find a new host and the site is currently down.

“In response to complaints received over the weekend, GoDaddy investigated and discovered numerous instances of content on the site that both promotes and encourages violence against people,” a spokesman told BBC News.

But the social media service hopes to be back online this weekend. In a statement on Twitter, Gab says:
Spoke with our engineering team and new hosting provider. A conservative estimate is getting back online by this weekend. Our goal is to do so earlier. Our number one priority right now is helping the DOJ/FBI ensure that justice is served for this tragedy.

Another company to withdraw their services from Gab were PayPal which banned them from using their money transfer services.

“When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action,” PayPal said in a statement.

The BBC reported a further 3 technology companies, which have not publicly commented, had also banned or suspended it:

  • Samsung-owned Joyent, which provides web-hosting services
  • Stripe, an online payments processor
  • Medium, the blogging platform, which Gab had used to publish a statement about the synagogue attack.

Additionally according to the BBC “Apple and Google have both banned its app from their stores and Microsoft stopped hosting the platform on its Azure cloud computing platform in September.”

And will Gab change? When the New York Times asked if Gab would be changing any of its policies in response to the mass shooting, Gab’s founder Andrew Torba gave an unequivocal answer.

“Absolutely not.”