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Gab.com Vows To Fight Internet, Social Media Blocks.

Gab.com, a social networking site that claims to provide a platform for free speech, was blocked after it was revealed that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers posted anti-Semitic slurs on the website before carrying out the attack Saturday. Now, the website has vowed to fight against those trying to stop its services.

"Pull every provider we have. Run 24/7 smear campaigns on us. Ban us everywhere. You can't ban an idea. You can't stop millions of people defending that idea. Ideas are ban and bullet proof. Bring it on," a (https://twitter.com/getongab/status/1056736656131158016) post on the website's Twitter account, which is still active read. 

Gab's website went offline Sunday night, and was replaced with a statement saying that its service would be temporarily inaccessible.

"We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers and several payment processors," the statement read. The suspect in the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 people died Saturday was reported to be a user of Gab. 

An account linked to Bowers wrote on Gab on Saturday morning: "HIAS 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." HIAS is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish nonprofit group that has the goal of helping refugees.

Bowers said he had a "desire to kill Jewish people," U.S. attorney Scott Brady told reporters Sunday morning.

In a statement Saturday, Gab said it was "saddened and disgusted" by the Pittsburgh attack. "Gab took swift and proactive action to contact law enforcement immediately," the service said in a statement. "We first backed up all user data from the account and then proceeded to suspend the account."

However, Bowers' affiliation with Gab has cost the company dearly as it was banned from its web hosting provider, Joyent. The payment processing platform Stripe, which Gab has used to receive fees for its paid Gab Pro membership level, said it suspended transfers to the company's bank account pending an investigation, according to another email posted to Twitter by Gab. PayPal, another payment processor, canceled Gab's account, saying it had been closely monitoring the site even before Saturday's massacre.

"When a site is allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action," a PayPal spokesman said.

In a post late Sunday, Gab took a jab at Joyent and others who have banned the site.

"There are like 3-4 total companies who decide if you exist on the internet or not. In the future that will mean they decide if you ever existed at all. Ponder that," a (https://twitter.com/getongab/status/1056763491711733760) Twitter message read.

Since its launch in 2016, the social media site has become a haven for white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other extremists. Several messages on Gab has anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism and sexism running through its messages, along with conspiracy theories.

Bowers made several postings on Gab, including using the common white supremacist slogan "1488" in his profile, combining the classic white supremacist "14 words" with 88, which is code for "Heil Hitler."

Andrew Torba, who co-founded Gab, has said the network was made to "step up and defend free speech, defend individual liberty, defend the free flow of information that I saw under attack."

In an email interview Saturday with the New York Times, Torba wrote: "Because he was on Gab, law enforcement now have definitive evidence for a motive... They would not have had this evidence without Gab. We are proud to work with and support law enforcement in order to bring justice to this alleged terrorist."
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U2PA
Date:Oct 29, 2018
Words:630
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