Gab CEO defends social media platform after synagogue massacre

The CEO of Gab.com is defending the social media platform after it was revealed that the suspected shooter in Saturday’s massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue posted anti-Semitic messages on the site

“It disgusted me. This is a clear act of terror, 11 people are dead, and I was horrified to find that this terrorist, this alleged terrorist, was on our site,” Andrew Tobra told WBRE-TV in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

"I fundamentally believe in the free expression and individual liberty and fundamental human rights for everyone to speak freely. Obviously threats of violence are not included in that and there are other regulations around freedom of speech and the First Amendment, of course, but I do think that more speech is always going to be the answer to combat bad speech or hate speech," he added.

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The website, which describes itself as “The Home Of Free Speech Online,” rejected claims that it bore any responsibility for the shooting, saying in a statement, “Gab.com’s policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we a have zero tolerance policy for it. Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence. This has always been our policy. We are saddened and disgusted by the news of violence in Pittsburgh and are keeping the families and friends of all victims in our thoughts and prayers.” 

The suspected shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, posted on his Gab page that “jews are the children of satan.” He also reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before allegedly opening fire Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The website noted that Bowers had accounts on other social media platforms.

Gab has long had to defend itself from claims that its platform allowed hate speech as white supremacists have been banned from other websites. 

Tobra, however, slammed the media’s focus on Gab, calling it a “double standard.” 

“I think there’s a clear double standard because every single day we read about livestream murder on Facebook, we read about human trafficking on Facebook and Instagram, we read about pedophiles exchanging child pornography on these websites, on these social media platforms on much higher scales. This is happening every single day," he told the TV station.

"There are bad people in the world and they are on every social network, they are on the internet.”