Gab (social network)

Gab (social network)

Gab is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based social networking service formerly based in Austin, Texas. It was created as an alternative to Twitter and promotes itself as supporting free speech. It allows its users to read and write messages of up to 3,000 characters, called "gabs". The site also offers multimedia functionality.

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Timeline

April 2019

In April 2019, Gab tweeted that StartEngine had banned it from its crowdfunding platform in March and refused to return $150,000 in fees Gab had paid. In response, Gab announced its intention to sue StartEngine.

March 2019

Gab removed SAP's credit card payment functionalities in March 2019, only accepting payment via cryptocurrency or check. The same month the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published an investigation that found that SAP's founder had been convicted of financial crimes in 2007. Gab has not said why it removed the payment processor.

February 14, 2019

On February 14, 2019, a software engineer for Sibyl Systems told the SPLC that, contrary to Gab's claim in SEC filings that it has more than 835,000 users, "Based on what they are getting through us services-wise there is no way they have 800,000 users, or it would be very odd if they did. I would say they probably have a few thousand or a few tens of thousands." Sibyl Systems responded to the statement in a tweet, calling it 'categorically false' and saying the "employee claimed to leak information that she could not have had access to, due to Sibyl's robust security features designed to protect customer data. We have dismissed the employee."

January 30, 2019

Shortly after the SPLC published its January report on Gab's misleading statements and financial struggles, the site made its Twitter account private until January 30, 2019, and switched to an invitation-only mode for new user registrations on January 30. Gab stated that switching to an invitation-only mode was an experiment to improve user experience. Gab previously had intermittent service outages for a week. Gab claimed that the outages were caused by bot attacks and suggested the outages were possibly caused by state actors or a paid team, referring to the latter as 'activist bloggers'. Torba shared a post from another user that suggested that the 'deep state' was responsible.

January 24, 2019

The SPLC reported on January 24, 2019, that Gab has misrepresented its services and bloated its user count in its filings and promotional materials. The GabTV service advertised on its StartEngine crowdfunding page as of January 2019 was only active very briefly in early 2018, and also as of January 2019, the dedicated page for the service is blank. Unlike other social media companies, Gab did not publish the count of its active users in 2018, and only reported registered accounts. Social media intelligence company Storyful found 19,526 unique usernames had posted content during a seven-day period between January 9 and January 16, 2019, far lower than Gab's claimed 850,000 registered users. Users of the site commonly mocked Torba for the site's emptiness, with some accused him of inflating user numbers. In a December 2018 filing, the company reported that 5,000 users were paying for its subscription services.

January 22, 2019

On January 22, 2019, Gab announced that it had partnered with Second Amendment Processing (SAP), a Michigan-based payment processor.

January 2019

The company turned to cryptocurrency payment processing services after being rejected from PayPal and Stripe in the aftermath of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. In January 2019, Coinbase and Square, Inc.'s Cash App closed the accounts held by Gab and Andrew Torba.

January 2019

As of January 2019, Gab pays Sibyl Systems Ltd. $1,175 a month for web hosting.

December 2018

In December 2018, Gab sponsored Turning Point USA's "Student Action Summit" in Palm Beach, Florida. Days before the event, Turning Point USA removed Gab from the list of sponsors without explanation. Gab posted a press statement in protest.

November 2018

Little was suspended indefinitely from Gab in late-November 2018 for encouraging harassment of private individuals; Gab stressed that although Little's account had posted hate speech, it was not the cause of the ban.

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