The social networking website Gab is now facing an uncertain future because of the Pittsburgh shooter, who was was a user of the site.
The site, which markets itself as a free speech alternative to Facebook and Twitter, has faced criticism for creating a forum for white nationalism, anti-Semitism and other hate speech.
On Saturday morning, the shooter posted: "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 advocates for refugees.) The CEO of Gab defended the site in an NPR interview, saying that it removes direct threats but that the shooter’s post didn’t violate any rules. On Monday, Gab was “no-platformed” by its hosting providers, pay sites like PayPal and App stores.
Gab touted itself as a platform for anyone, but should there truly be a platform for anyone? Would hate speech on a site like Twitter provide a platform or allow for engagement and discourse to break down such speech? Is that speech better off in a siloed space like Gab? Is a site like Gab the price to pay for freedom of speech?