JOHN CURLEY AND SHARI ELLIKER

Social media site Gab returns with help from Seattle-area startup, after Pittsburgh shooting

Nov 6, 2018, 5:31 AM

Social-media site Gab found itself the subject of heavy criticism after Pittsburgh shooting suspect Robert Bowers used it for anti-Semitic rants, including a post that appeared shortly before he killed 11 people at a synagogue. It was capped by domain registrar GoDaddy, taking Gab off their platform as a result of what they claimed are numerous posts encouraging violence.

As of this past week, however, Gab returned online with the help of Epik.com, a domain registrar based out of Sammamish, reports The Seattle Times. Gab will now be hosted on Epik’s platform.

While it emphasizes free speech, Gab reportedly prohibits threats, illegal pornography, terrorism, and the posting of confidential information. They’ve long disavowed violence and have been working with law enforcement in the wake of the shooting.

On Sunday, the company announced their return, writing: “Can’t stop us, won’t stop us. Free Speech LIVES!,” despite what co-founder Andrew Torba terms the “coordinated smear by the mainstream media.”

While social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have been criticized for sometimes banning users for less than clear reasons, Gab errs in the opposite direction, allowing a virtual free-for-all in the purist vein of free speech.

For KIRO Radio’s John Curley, a line should be established with regards to threats and the like, but sometimes bad ideas should be kept in the light so they can be exposed as bad, instead of being de-platformed.

“The best illustration of it is: A guy stands up on a box, and says, ‘Hey everybody, let’s go down to Market Street, and go get Bob.’ That’s inciting a crowd into violence against Bob,” Curley said.

“That’s the stuff that’s prohibited. But I think allowing him to have his stuff said maybe makes society richer by having everyone take him down, explaining things and teaching him,” Curley added.

Founded in 2009, Epik describes themselves as “a one-stop shop for their entire web presence: domain name, hosting, monetization, and web development services,” and is currently exploring international expansion.

In an email to Geekwire, Epik said it has not seen any mass departures as a result of their decision to work with Gab, and has seen an uptick in support and customer signups.

RELATED: UW College Republicans president says liberal students try to eliminate free speech

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Social media site Gab returns with help from Seattle-area startup, after Pittsburgh shooting