Gab (social network)
Type of site
|Social network service|
|Headquarters||San Mateo, California, U.S.A.|
|Owner||Gab AI, Inc.|
|Launched||August 15, 2016(beta)|
|Current status||Active (in beta)|
Gab is a San Mateo, California-based social networking service that allows users to post and read short messages called gabs. Gab enables its users, called Gabbers, to post up to 300 characters in one message/post and to access additional functionality using special characters: # to create hashtags, @ to reference other users by username, and the ability to insert emoji and hyperlinks and to attach images. Gab describes its mission as "to put people and free speech first" by limiting "censorship" to filtering options made available to Gabbers. Currently, Gab is only accessible to registered users, who must obtain an invitation to join.
Gab was created in August 2016 as an alternative to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Founder and CEO Andrew Torba cited dissatisfaction with "the entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly" as part of the inspiration for Gab, which he created "after reading reports that Facebook employees suppress conservative articles". Torba said in November that the site's user base had expanded significantly following censorship controversies involving major social media companies, including the permanent suspensions from Twitter of several prominent conservative and "alt-right" accounts.
Gab's color theme is a minimalist combination of black text on white panels with pink hashtags and usernames. The interface "behaves like a Twitter-Reddit hybrid", displaying messages in a Twitter-like vertically-scrolling timeline format with a Reddit-like option to upvote or downvote each post. The site also aggregates popular posts and trending topic hashtags.
A frog named "Gabby" is the current logo of Gab and has been in use since the website's launch.
The service's popularity with self-identified "alt-right" users and Donald Trump supporters and as its use of a frog logo (reminiscent of the Pepe the Frog meme and frog emoji used by that group), has led to it being described as "the alt-right's very own twitter," "the Make America Great Again of social sites," and "Twitter for racists." The site has drawn criticism for providing a platform for users banned from other services, including Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopolous, self-described "alt-reich queen" Tila Tequila, and white nationalists such as Richard B. Spencer and "Ricky Vaughn", as well as for not explicitly prohibiting hate speech. The only restrictions on expression on the site are on threats of violence, promotion of terrorism, illegal pornography and doxing.
Torba states that the choice of a frog logo was inspired by Bible verses (Exodus 8:1-12 and Psalms 78:45) and various symbolic meanings. He denies that Gab is "designed specifically for conservatives" or "an alt-right echo chamber" and has stated that "we welcome everyone and always will". Torba also says that "We want everyone to feel safe on Gab, but we’re not going to police what is hate speech and what isn't."
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