Gab Links Up With Fringe Gun Rights Site Amid Backlash To Users’ Rhetoric

|
February 4, 2019 11:39 a.m.
JOIN TPM FOR JUST $1

Troubles continue to pile up for Gab, the social media platform that pitches itself as the anti-politically correct alternative to Twitter.

Dropped by mainstream companies like GoDaddy.com and Stripe after law enforcement discovered that Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers nurtured anti-Semitic hatred on his Gab account, the site has been driven to stranger corners of the online world. Gab recently contracted with 2nd Amendment Processing, a little-known Michigan-based payment processing site. The site is urging people to sign up for its paid GabPro service, even as it blocks all new signups due to a wave of bot attacks.

In an unsigned statement over the weekend, Gab praised 2nd Amendment Processing for working with companies who have “difficulty securing payment processing services for political reasons.”

“Companies like our own, like our DNS hosting provider epik.com, and our new payment processor, 2nd Amendment Processing, recognize both the danger of kowtowing to online mobs and the significant upside potential of serving as the backbone of the free and open Internet,” the statement read.

High-minded rhetoric aside, Gab is best known for its refusal to moderate its content in any way, making it home to a toxic stew of racism, anti-Semitism, gore and misogyny. Many prominent white nationalists maintain Gab accounts, and neo-Nazi terrorist organization Atomwaffen has tried to recruit members on the site.

Asked for comment on its decision to link up with Gab, 2nd Amendment Processing said in an email: “We’re in the business of getting businesses signed up for credit card processing. If that business is doing business legally, we will try to help them. Our provision of services is not an indication that we either agree or disagree with their views.”

The company is providing a much-needed service for the flailing platform. Gab reported a 90 percent drop in subscription revenue from premium services on its December Securities and Exchange Commission filing after PayPal and Stripe cut ties following the Oct. 2018 synagogue massacre. Payments for those services could only come in via checks, money orders, and cryptocurrency, as the Southern Poverty Law Center first reported. With 2nd Amendment Processing’s help, Gab will now be able to accept credit card payments again.

The processing firm describes itself as a “veteran owned company that fights for your 2nd Amendment rights.”

“Tyranny can be imposed by more than just a government and recently we have witnessed businesses entering the political arena and using the power of their dollars and branding to attack freedom like never before,” the site reads. “If you are a business who has been under attack and finding it harder and harder to work with other companies than we would be proud to help you.”

Based out of a low-slung building in the small town of Adrian, Michigan, 2nd Amendment Processing shares space with a Postal Plus facility and operates a sparse website that looks like it was designed in the late 1990s.

The company’s LinkedIn says it was founded in 2018, though a domain search says the site was only registered in January 2019 by Epik, Gab’s web hosting provider.

Though Gab has regained the ability to receive payments from subscribers, it is currently unable to attract new users. The site locked down its membership registration last week, saying it will operate on an invite-only basis as it grapples with outages caused by bot attacks.

“Gab has made the decision to do a total and complete shutdown of open user registration and move to an invite-only system until we can figure out what is going on with the flood of spam and bot accounts attacking our community and put measures in place to stop it,” the company said, claiming that over 50,000 bots joined the site in the past week.

The SPLC recently reported that Gab may be misleading investors by padding their user numbers with likely bot or duplicate accounts. As the SPLC found, the company claimed in December statements to investors that the site has over 850,000 users, though SPLC investigators were only able to document some 20,000 unique, active users on the site.

Comments
Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporter:
Senior Newswriters:
Newswriters:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: