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How 'Gab' Is Connected To The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

The suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was an active, verified user of Gab, a social media site that markets "free speech."
Posted at 4:32 PM, Oct 29, 2018

The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is facing 29 charges — including multiple counts of two hate crimes — after committing what the Anti-Defamation League says is the "deadliest attack" against the Jewish community in U.S. history.

Online, the suspect's targeting of Jews was well-documented on Gab, an alternative social media platform that marketed "free speech" and attracted white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

Following the Pittsburgh shooting, the website — which claims to have more than 700,000 users — has been "no-platformed" by online hosting providers like GoDaddy and payment processors like PayPal. At the time this story was published, the website was inaccessible, but working to get back online.

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

Even before the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue, the social network had been rejected by the iOS App Store and removed from Google Play store for violating hate speech policy.

Gab dismissed these ideas, arguing it doesn't allow terrorists on its platform and that its users' rhetoric isn't dangerous. The New York Times noted that the site did prohibit threats of violence, but it also allowed hateful speech.

Other prominent users on the site included Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer and the founder of the neo-Nazi publication Daily Stormer.

Wired called the website a "a haven for the far right," and a researcher told The New York Times: "Gab became their safe haven because it was actively recruiting the worst of the worst."

As a "verified" user on Gab, the suspected synagogue shooter frequently shared anti-Semitic images and conspiracy theories. CNN described his account as "a trail of hate" and noted that four hours before the shooting, the suspect had posted: "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered ... I'm going in."

Following the attack, Gab suspended the suspect's account and contacted the FBI. The founder of the website said it would not change its policies in response to the shooting.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.