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Gab, site where synagogue shooting suspect posted, is suspended

Author: James Doubeck, NPR, Published on: 30 October 2018

The alternative social media network that was reportedly used by the suspect in the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue is now down. Gab.com is a social network that touts itself as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook to give conservatives a platform for free speech. But it also has been criticized for providing a platform for anti-Semitism and white nationalism... The platform's future is newly in doubt because an account linked to Robert Bowers, the 46-year-old Pittsburgh resident charged in the shootings, wrote on Gab 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 a Jewish nonprofit that has the goal of helping immigrant refugees. In an interview with NPR, Gab CEO and founder Andrew Torba defended his website and condemned the shooting in Pittsburgh. He said the site has a rule about removing direct threats, but he suggested that Bowers' post didn't sound like a concrete threat... PayPal confirmed to NPR that it had cut off the website from its payment system, and two Web-hosting sites also severed ties with Gab over the weekend. 

... A casual scroll through Gab's message boards while it was up over the weekend revealed plenty of anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism and sexism running through its messages, along with conspiracy theories... As NPR's Alina Selyukh reported last year, "many members of the far right and others who feel their views are stifled by mainstream sites like Twitter and Facebook" have gravitated toward Gab, with its promise of few restrictions on speech... Bowers used anti-Semitic slurs on Gab and called Jews an "infestation" and a "problem," according to the Anti-Defamation League.  

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