Gab has been taken offline following revelations that the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue gunman used the social network to threaten Jews.
A statement on Gab’s website Monday said the platform would be “inaccessible for a period of time” as it switches to a new web host. It said the issue was being worked on “around the clock.”
“Gab.com is under attack,” the statement said. “We have been systematically no-platformed [and] smeared by the mainstream media for defending free expression and individual liberty for all people.”
Gab said on Twitter that it had been “banned” over the past 24 hours by payment processing firms PayPal and Stripe, as well as hosting service Joyent and domain register GoDaddy.
GoDaddy confirmed it had given the site 24 hours to move to a new service, a deadline that expires Monday night on the west coast of the United States. PayPal said it would not allow Gab to use its platform to manage donations from users.
“When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action,” PayPal said in a statement.
Joyent did not respond to a request for comment. Stripe said it would not comment on individual users.
Gab said it has also been removed from app stores. It did not specify when that occurred, and app store operators Google and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.
The platform has come under scrutiny after it emerged that suspected gunman Robert Bowers frequently targeted Jews in posts on Gab.
He logged onto the platform shortly before allegedly killing 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday.
Gab, which bills itself as “the free speech social network,” is small compared to mainstream social media platforms but it has an avid user base.
Founded by entrepreneur Andrew Torba about two years ago, the site says it has nearly 800,000 users. That’s just a small fraction of the number of people using sites like Twitter or Facebook.
The site’s claim to fame is that users can post almost anything — even if the content is racist — without being sanctioned. It puts nearly no restrictions on content.
Bowers’ profile on the platform appeared to serve as an echo chamber for racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted ideology. The suspect reposted a number of posts on his social media accounts that tell Jews to get out, or leave.
The Anti-Defamation League describes Gab as an alternative social media site frequently visited by extremists.
“In terms of size, it’s been more successful than any platform [of its kind] I’ve seen over the past 20 years,” said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.
Pitcavage said that while the platform has only been around for a short time, the large user base means that more resources are needed to maintain the site.
Gab has denied supporting violence. It said it has backed up Bowers’ profile data, suspended his account and contacted the FBI.
“We have been smeared … for working with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for the horrible atrocity committed in Pittsburgh,” it said.
While extremist websites and social platforms are reliant on website hosts and service providers, service denials don’t always keep them offline.
The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist and neo-Nazi website, was temporarily forced to operate only on the Dark Web following a derogatory story about Heather Heyer, who was killed last summer at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But it got up and running again with the help of a small company.