Google Play bans alternative social media site Gab for hate speech

By midian182 ยท 12 replies
Aug 18, 2017
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  1. Late last year, I reported on a new social network called Gab that was quickly gaining popularity. It was positioned as an alternative to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, focusing on free speech and less censorship. Now, the app has been kicked off Google’s store for hate speech.

    When it launched last year, Gab described itself as "an ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online."

    Google says it banned the platform, which has proved popular among alt-right and far-right users, for violating its hate speech policy. The company follows in the footsteps of Apple, who has rejected the app from its store on numerous occasions for “user content.”

    After Google fired engineer James Damore over his controversial manifesto, and in the wake of the Charlottesville protests that led to tech firms cracking down on extremist sites, Gab received a huge boost to its crowdfunding campaign, which has now received over $1 million from over 1000 investors.

    It’s still unclear what led to Gab being removed from Google's store. Users note that Twitter, Facebook, and the other social media sites contain thousands of people spouting racial hatred, and they’re still available on Play. But perhaps its booting is due to the sheer amount of these posts that regularly appear on Gab.

    It’s speculated that the move could be related to neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer. Following its removal from GoDaddy, Google, and Russian domains, founder Andrew Anglin said he would post articles on Gab until he could find another solution.

    Gab itself suggests the move could be related to the fact it recently offered a job to Damore. "Really interesting that shortly after Gab offered [Damore] a job and supported him in the media that our app gets pulled from Google," it tweeted.

    While Gab is no longer available on the Play Store, it can still be sideloaded, and users can access the website on mobile and desktop.

    Expect Gab’s removal to add more fuel to the free speech argument. As noted to by the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country. But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,948   +2,432

    Interesting enough is the concept of "free speech" includes any obligation for that to be transmitted over any media. The person can say anything they want, but there is absolutely NO obligation for any media to capture and forward it to others. Perhaps we should recommend a modification to the Bill of Rights that I will call "The Right to Free Listening" that protects those that don't want to listen to hate speech to be able to tune it out. I guess if you are one on one you could get a pair of those shooting ear protectors that you can turn on and off at will ..... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    petert likes this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,072   +4,127

    Socialists gonna do what socialists do.

    This is literally exactly how Wiemar Germany became Nazi Germany.

    They will begin advocating for camps in short order.
    psycros, Theinsanegamer and avioza like this.
  4. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,084   +1,104

    The EFF hit the nail on the head. Nazis may suck, But blindly allowing their media to be banned in this manner is setting dangerous precedent for banning anything these mega-corporations deem to be "hate speech".

    And when these mega-corps kowtow to SJWs and internet outrage culture, a LOT of what we do could be in the "hate speech" cross-hairs.
    psycros, SirChocula, MoeJoe and 2 others like this.
  5. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +440

    Bad sign for free speech and Liberty.
    psycros, SirChocula and namesrejected like this.
  6. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +36

    To be fair this is not a free speech issue. Freedom of speech means you have the right to free expression without fear of the government silencing or punishing you. It does not apply to private corporations or citizens. Google can take down sites about mangos if they want. If the government started outlawing these sites and putting them in jail THEN it would be a violation of their freedom of speech, but that is not what is happening. If they were in a country like Germany then they would be going to jail though. These groups still have the freedom to say any hateful things they want here, but private companies also have the right to not do business with them.
  7. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +440

    Unconvincing much ?
  8. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +36

    What did I say that was incorrect? Shall I quote the first Amendment for you?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Freedom of speech only applies to the government, not private businesses or citizens. I already explained this. It means the government cannot silence you or punish you for your beliefs. Google is not a government agency, they are a business so they are not bound by the first amendment. If they don't want to host hate groups they don't have to. Likewise if you don't agree with what Google is doing you are free to not use their services or do business with them. Neo-Nazis are free to say what they want in public and even run their own sites if they like, but they do not have a right to force any company to host their sites nor can they say whatever they want on a private company's web site. I'm sure Techspot would not allow them to come here and start making hate posts.

    This very site has rules pertaining to what you can say as well, and if you break them they can delete your post or even ban you. That does not mean you lost your freedom of speech, just that it does not apply on private web sites.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
    wiyosaya, SamuraiSamson and Kris95 like this.
  9. Kris95

    Kris95 TS Member

    Really, some of those 1930's web sites started banning hate groups and that is what started Nazi Germany? Hilarious that you guys are white knighting Nazis and then say that a web host banning these groups is going to start another Nazi regime. Yeah, it's not the racists fault, it's our fault for not spreading their disgusting vile. I didn't realize there were so many butthurt white supremacists lurking here on Techspot.
  10. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 954   +307

    They are already wanting separate rooms for PoC in universities.
    psycros, davislane1 and SirChocula like this.
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,947   +1,256

    It's not that far off - what happened was the Nazi Party said they needed to have additional power to 'keep the peace'. They were able to break up meetings of their political opponents etc because they were 'keeping the peace'. That was how they got their foothold.

    Today - the giant tech companies have a LOT of control over communication. And if they start deciding who gets to use them based on whether THEY decide it's hateful or not, it really isn't that different (albeit on a different scale). It's just another form of oppression, and you're not going to stamp out an idea by oppressing it. All that does is fuel it.

    You can get rid of the hateful ideaology by education, time, effort, social awareness, etc. Not oppression.

    We didn't win a pile of wars over the last 200+ years so a roomful of people in Silicon Valley could decide what type of speech is forbidden.
  12. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,064   +1,531

    The push towards fascism in western countries will spawn alternatives to Google and the other techno-baronies. It will probably start with third party app stores embracing blacklisted apps. This would be great since since the Play Store is a cesspool of malware anyway. The real battles will come when the liberal crybullies and the government start forcing ISPs to block these alternatives.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,556   +1,200

    IMO, you are right on target. I've been attempting to get this across in other posts, but no matter what I post, it seems that some are still disbelieving that freedom of speech may be lawfully limited and still comply with first amendment rights.

    In your quote from the first amendment, of note is that it says "peaceably assemble". The first amendment does not give anyone in the US the right to say anything that they want. SCOTUS has decided this in at least one case that has already come before them. Freedom of speech can be suppressed if there exists a reasonable basis to conclude that the speech will lead to violence. There is an interesting read on it at this link -

    Hate speech, from any extremist group, might easily fall under that definition, and according to precedent set by SCOTUS, is legally suppressible.

    Look at it this way: If someone makes a credible threat in an open forum against someone, particularly a government official, they can be arrested for it. It is really no different than that.

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