Gab get’s Censored

Updated: Dec 1, 2018

Back in August The free-speech focused social media site was pressured to self-censor by Microsoft. According to a Tweet posted by the company’s official Twitter account, Gab had been threatened with having their hosting service suspended if they do not delete postings made by one of the site’s users.

What makes things even more odd is that the threat from Microsoft claimed the offending poster shared “phishing URLs”.

In a subsequent post, Gab denied the presence of phishing URLs. They showed the offending posts were text only and contained no links of any kind.

The banning Gab very likely does not have anything to do with these individual posts, or phishing URL at all. Youtube and Twitter allows phishing URLs until they are reported as well. They on youtube those comments are held for review but youtube still allows them to be approved by the channel owner. It’s far more likely that Microsoft is joining with the rest of silicon valley in their campaign to shut down right wing opinions. Gab AI has been vilified in the media for providing a platform for Andrew Anglin editor of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer (Who’s website site was also removed by Internet companies who refused to service the site) The site also hosts controversial people like Milo Yiannopoulos and Andrew "weev" Auernheimer.

On Thursday, Gab said that Google had banned its Android app from the Google Play Store for violating Google's ban on hate speech. Google explained the removal in an email to Gab. "In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people," the statement read. "This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. Developers always have the opportunity to appeal a suspension and may have their apps reinstated if they've addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies."

Gab describes itself as a "social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online." As part of that commitment to free speech, Gab's content rules are more permissive than most major social media networks. The rules ban threats and child pornography, but unlike other major social networks, it doesn't ban content that attacks people based on their race, gender, or other protected category. That has made the site popular with non-politically correct opinions

An argument could be made that Microsoft is a private company and can do business with whomever they choose. Unfortunately, things become a little less clear when major Internet companies get involved. Companies like Microsoft and Google hold virtual monopolies in their respective domains. As such, if they choose to censor someone for their ideas, there could be widespread consequences.

The company is currently in the process of raising funds to move to their own servers. But that is likely a process that could take a long time to complete. However it a decentralized internet is likely the best solution to curbing the internet censorship. Competition is healthy for the market and prevents only a few countries from being able to control public discourse.

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