Platforms Sever Ties With Hate Site Gab, Twitter Apologizes For Sayoc Tweet

Among growing public outrage, tech giants are trying to account for their role in the recent rash of domestic terror and mass violence.

Among other service providers, GoDaddy, PayPal, and Medium have all severed ties with Gab -- a social network that supports neo-Nazi and far-right extremist views and opinions.

Without the support of GoDaddy, which hosted Gab’s site, the social network was forced to close on Monday.

Robert Bowers, who was charged with killing 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh over the weekend, posted anti-Semitic content on Gab.

Yet Gab won’t be offline for long, according to its founder-CEO Andrew Torba. “Gab isn’t going anywhere,” Torba wrote in a post on Monday. “We have plenty of options, resources and support.”

In addition, Twitter is apologizing for not acting faster to remove the account of Cesar Sayoc, suspected of sending homemade bombs to Democratic leaders throughout the country. His targets included former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As the social giant now admits, it did not respond quickly enough when one of its users, Rochelle Ritchie, reported receiving threatening messages from Sayoc.

“We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her,” Twitter’s Safety team tweeted on Friday. “The Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We are deeply sorry for that error.”

For Twitter, the revelation that Sayoc had used its platform to threaten and bully numerous individuals is poorly timed. Last week, CEO Jack Dorsey boasted of the company’s success in sidelining bad actors and facilitating healthier conversations.

As the cases of Bowers and Sayoc illustrate, tech companies continue to struggle with their role as information gatekeepers and opinion police.

Among other examples, a recent survey from Pew Research Center found that 59% of teens say they have been the target of online bullies, while 63% say it is a major problem for people their age.

In response, Facebook recently began rolling out new tools and programs to help users feel safer on its flagship property; Instagram then followed suit.

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