Twitter knockoff Gab became one of the premiere destinations for members of the extremist "alt-right" banned or just looking to branch out from other social media sites like Twitter. Now, it's devolving into a sludgy mess of paranoia and conspiracy theories.
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Amidst last year's US presidential election, Silicon Valley was publicly at odds with Peter Thiel's support for Donald Trump. But that wasn't enough to convince people like Y Combinator's president Sam Altman to stop working with Thiel. Now, in what has to be one of the stealthiest announcements ever, the partnership between Y Combinator and Thiel has come to an end.
In the wake of the bloody white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville last month, tech companies decided to finally enforce their policies, pushing back against the rise of extremism online. One service caught in the crackdown was the "free speech" social network Gab, which was booted from Google's Play Store, and now the Twitter knockoff is suing for what it claims is "a straightforward violation of the antitrust laws".
Today the mobile version of Gab.ai -- the invite-only free(ish) speech social network that has become the de facto home for many of the alt-right ecelebrities banned from Twitter -- was not approved for placement on Apple's App Store. CEO Andrew Torba isn't taking it well.
Last year represented a breaking point of sorts for major online platforms. The swelling tide of abuse, hate-speech, and politicized misinformation finally grew too big to be ignored. But the ensuing crackdown -- as painfully slow and largely ineffective as is -- has led to a concurrent rise in largely-unknown sites and services clamoring to be the Most Free for free speech absolutists.