Far-Right Social Media Site Comes Close To Losing Platform Over Anti-Semitic Posts

August 10, 2018 11:29 a.m.

It appears some posts are too anti-Semitic even for Gab, the social media platform that positions itself as the “politically incorrect” alternative to Twitter.

A pair of messages posted on Gab calling for the “ritual death by torture” and “complete eradication” of Jews nearly got the site shut down. Microsoft, which hosts Gab on its cloud service Azure, on Thursday threatened to drop the site over the inciteful posts before backing down after the user agreed to remove them voluntarily.

The 24-hour saga was the latest in an uncomfortable dance between web platforms trying to restrict hate speech and far-right actors like Alex Jones, who claim they’re being censored for sharing conspiracy theories and denigrating people on the basis of their gender or religion.

Gab celebrated its momentary victory by posting a stream of blatantly anti-Semitic—but not violent—messages on its Twitter feed.

The back-and-forth began Thursday, when Microsoft told Gab it had 48 hours to remove the posts for violating its acceptable use policy. Gab posted all of its back-and-forths with Microsoft publicly.

The user, a California neo-Nazi who challenged Sen. Dianna Feinstein (D-CA) for her Senate seat, agreed to take them down in order to keep the site active.

“We will have no rights until the jews are expelled,” Patrick Little wrote in a message lamenting that he was forced to “self-censor.”

Microsoft responded with an email saying that the matter was now “closed” but that they would monitor and act on complaints “about similar content that seeks to incite violence against others.”

Gab’s Twitter account responded with a stream of messages that exemplified the site’s definition of free speech: having permission to disparage Jewish people and minorities without consequences.

“Let’s get this through our heads: anti-white ‘hate speech’ and calls for violence/genocide of whites= allowed on the internet,” read one post. “Say anything about Jews or minorities though and you’re screwed.”

“’Hate speech’ is free speech. Retweet if you agree,” read another.

The account also directed several anti-Semitic messages at #Resistance Twitter figure Brian Krassenstein, urging him to “move to Israel” and citing a Bible verse that refers to some Jews as belonging to “the synagogue of Satan.”

Gab didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s question about who runs the account.

But these comments are rather milquetoast compared to much of what can be found on Gab, a hub for the misogynists, racists and anti-Semites who compose the alt-right.

Many of those individuals flocked to Gab when web hosting and social media companies deplatformed prominent white nationalists after last August’s violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A new wave of deplatforming is currently underway as that event’s one-year anniversary approaches. Apple, Spotify and Facebook have all removed content posted by Infowars’ Jones for promoting hate speech and harassment.

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