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Social media website linked in violence by suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue goes offline

Author: Abby Ohlheiser & Ian Shapira, The Washington Post, Published on: 29 October 2018

"Gab, the white supremacist sanctuary linked to the Pittsburgh suspect, goes offline (for now)," 29 October 2018

There was a blue check mark next to Robert Bowers’s name, meaning that the social media account was verified. His bio said that “jews are the children of satan,” his banner image a clear reference to a white supremacist meme... The account is believed to belong to the same Robert Bowers who is suspected of opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people and wounding six others. The profile, which has since been removed, lived on Gab, a social media platform that has become a haven for white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other adherents to extreme ideologies that have found themselves increasingly unwelcome on Twitter and Facebook... Founder Andrew Torba has long said Gab is simply a “free speech” platform for anyone who wants to join, and has responded aggressively to characterizations otherwise.

Medium, the publishing platform, has suspended Gab’s account there, according to Gab. And GoDaddy informed Gabthat they had violated their terms of service, giving them 24 hours to move their domain to another provider. “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 GoDaddy spokesperson said in an emailed statement... Gab has positioned itself as a key figure in the right-wing response to online crackdowns of extremist views, and has benefited directly from the white supremacists who flocked to Gab on the promise that their views would not be censored, according to Joan Donovan, the media manipulation and platform accountability research lead at Data and Society, who has followed the site’s growth... Gab “rode the wave of attention to white nationalists after Charlottesville to populate its social media platform,” Donovan said in an interview Sunday. In the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protests in 2017, major companies such as Apple, PayPal and Squarespace began removing white nationalists from their platforms, leaving them with fewer options for making money and hosting their views online.

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