Gab, the conservative social network that has acted as a haven for people banned from the usual platforms, has been removed from the Google Play Store for violating the company’s hate speech policy, the company announced on Twitter. Apple removed it from the App Store in June for similar reasons.
That policy is pretty straightforward: “We don’t allow apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
It’s not clear what specifically Gab did that warranted its being kicked off the store, but presumably it would have to be at the level of the app itself, not just someone idly venting hatred on the service. After all, there’s plenty of hate speech on Twitter and YouTube, but those apps are still available despite a crackdown this week following the events in Charlottesville. Perhaps it’s a question of volume. I’ve asked both Google and Gab for more details.
This doesn’t mean Google has blocked the app entirely — it can’t do that. You just can’t download it from the Play Store any more. It should still function fine and users will be able to sideload it if they like, and Gab’s Twitter account indicates they’re working on making that easy.
Gab is aimed at people interested in “Western values, individual liberty, and the free exchange of ideas” looking to avoid the “special interests pushing a very specific agenda” in tech. If that dog whistle isn’t loud enough, the investment page lists readers of Breitbart, Drudge, and Infowars as the target demographic.
It was founded by Andrew Torba, who in December was removed from Y Combinator’s alumni network (which he had joined after taking part in the program) for his behavior among the other founders there.