It’s probably not the best policy to bet your tech investments on platforms getting banned for promoting hate speech.
But that’s what North Carolina state Sen. Dan Bishop (R) appeared to do on Aug. 17, 2017. On the same day that Google Play booted social media site Gab from the app store for allowing white nationalists and anti-Semites unfettered use of its platform, Bishop announced on Twitter that he was “about done with SF thought police tech giants.”
The North Carolina Republican was taking a stand, he said. He was investing in Gab.
— Sen. Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) August 17, 2017
That investment is coming back to haunt Bishop this week, following reports that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter actively spread threatening, anti-Semitic content on his Gab account. Gab was cut loose by its web hosting and payment providers, and its chief technology officer, Ekrem Buyukkaya has stepped down.
On Wednesday, after Bishop’s investment was surfaced by the Daily Mail, North Carolina Democratic Party executive director Kimberly Reynolds called on Bishop to “disavow the hateful rhetoric” promoted on the site.
“From funding a hate-speech fueled social media platform riddled with anti-Semitic and white nationalist content to legislating discrimination, Bishop continues to embarrass our state,” Reynolds said.
Bishop was a leading force behind House Bill 2, the notorious legislation to bar transgender people from using bathrooms of their choice.
Within minutes of the statement’s release, Bishop sent out a tweet saying he only gave the site $500 via a crowdfunding effort.
“I don’t use Gab, but if its management allows its users to promote violence, anti-Semitism, and racism on the platform, they certainly have misled investors and they will be gone quickly, and rightfully so,” he wrote.
Per Gab’s fundraising site, the $500 Bishop gave wasn’t even enough to earn him a branded coffee mug.