Gab (social network)

Gab is a far-right microblogging and social networking website based in the United States. Gab was formed in 2016 and went public in May of 2017. Gab, a microblogging network, has been compared to Twitter. Gab also offers an email service, a text messaging service, a news aggregate website, a news website, a video sharing platform, an advertising platform, and a web browser and browser plugin that allows users to comment on third-party websites.

The majority of the information on Gab is political in nature. Gab has been regarded as a refuge for neo-Nazis, racists, white supremacists, white nationalists, the alt-right, antisemites, Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, right-libertarians, and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. Gab has attracted people and groups barred from other social media sites, as well as those looking for alternatives to major social media platforms.

Gab claims to encourage free speech, individual liberty, and the "open flow of information online," however experts have questioned these claims as a cover-up for its alt-right and extremist ecology. According to Gab, it also supports "technology that enables a parallel Christian economy." Antisemitism is prevalent in the site's content, and the corporation has made antisemitic remarks. 

According to the researchers, Gab has been "repeatedly connected to radicalization leading to real-world violent occurrences." Gab converted its software architecture to a Mastodon fork, a free and open-source social network platform, in July 2019. In response, Mastodon issued a statement condemning Gab for attempting to "monetize and platform racist content while hiding under the banner of free expression."

Following the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, it was discovered that the lone suspect in the incident, Robert Gregory Bowers, had written a message on Gab suggesting an imminent desire to inflict damage prior to the shooting. Bowers has a history of expressing anti-Semitic comments on the site. Gab momentarily went offline after the massacre because its server provider abandoned it and some payment processors refused to serve it. Gab was one of the sites utilized to coordinate the January 6th attack of the United States Capitol in 2021.

Estimates of the userbase

Torba reacted in an email to The Washington Post on November 8, 2021, when questioned about Gab's Brazilian user base "My reaction is, 'God bless Jair Bolsonaro, and Jesus Christ is King.' There are no further comments."

Gab has 4 million registered users as of March 2021. According to Micah Lee, writing for The Intercept, the "vast majority" of registered Gab accounts are dormant, with less than 100,000 active users. Torba said that Gab had 15 million unique monthly visitors in 2021. Torba has over 3 million followers on Gab as of August 2021, with all Gab users following him by default.

Data breaches and hacks

Gab's website suddenly went offline on the evening of February 19, initially without explanation. In response, numerous Twitter users shared screenshots of Gab accounts established by right-wing media outfits including The Gateway Pundit and National File requesting donations to a dubious URL. Torba reacted in a blog post after the site was restored, stating that Gab had taken the site offline at roughly 6:25 p.m. EST, sixteen minutes after they "got aware of many accounts that were publishing bitcoin wallet spam and associated information."

Torba offered Elon Musk a board position as well as ownership in Gab in April 2022 in return for Musk surrendering his Twitter shares and investing $2 billion in Gab. This happened after Musk made a bid to purchase Twitter for $43 billion.  Torba also made another offer to Musk in April, adding, "What we are missing at the moment is an ISP." I fear that the next significant step in censorship will be at the ISP level, with ISPs barring access. With Starlink, you overcome that problem. We can construct infrastructure for a free speech internet together.

Gab Revenue

Gab generates money through premium memberships, donations, and affiliate relationships. Gab has been rejected service by many payment processors, including PayPal and Stripe, forcing the site to rely on postal mail, bitcoin, and "obscure" payment processors to obtain money for its subscription service at various periods. Gab raised $2 million via the sale of speculative securities through the crowdfunding website StartEngine between 2017 and 2018.

Gab requested SEC permission for a $10 million Regulation A exempt offering in 2017, but it remained pending until March 2019, when Gab withdrew the proposal. Gab stated in a 2020 SEC filing that "we may not be able to acquire enough finance to continue our operations" and that the firm had not "to produce a meaningful profit or considerable operational revenue," calling the company's "business prospects" into doubt.

Gab Design

Gab's color scheme in 2016 was a minimalist mix of black text on white panels with pink hashtags and usernames. Pro users received a dark blue contrasting top bar. The UI presented messages in a vertical scroll timeline similar to Twitter, with the ability to upvote or downvote each item. The website also compiled a list of popular posts and hot subject hashtags. Users could categorize comments and postings in a subject by time or score as of 2017.

The default biography for new users showed a randomly selected phrase about the value of free speech. Users might also choose to "mute" other users and phrases. Gab's user interface was similar to Twitter's as of July 2020, with a dashboard in the centre of the page, trending material on the left, and options on the right. Gab postings are limited to 3,000 characters as of 2021.

Gab's logo from 2016 to 2018 was a frog dubbed "Gabby." The emblem has been linked to Pepe the Frog, an alt-right cartoon figure. Torba disputed that the frog emblem was a reference to Pepe, instead claiming that it was inspired by Bible scriptures (Exodus 8:1–12 and Psalm 78:45) and other conventional symbolic connotations. According to Sanduja, the frog was supposed to represent "revenge against individuals who went against mainstream conservative voices on the internet." The frog logo is no longer used as of September 2018.

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