The social media platform Gab has been banned from using PayPal after it was learned that Robert Bowers, the man arrested for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, used the site to post anti-Semitic content.
Gab bills itself as a free-speech alternative to Facebook and Twitter, with the liberal media tagging the site as “a haven for far-right extremists,” but is PayPal’s knee-jerk reaction a show of bias against conservative social media alternatives? Why are they punishing the whole network for the actions of one madman? And what are the rules that guide Gab and free speech? For that matter, what do we as a country want our rules on free speech to be?
This complicated net is what we find ourselves tangled in and we are all in it together until we figure it out.
Sharing a letter received Saturday from PayPal, Gab tweeted: “BREAKING: [Gab] is now banned from Paypal ‘just because.’”
“We are hereby notifying you that we are terminating our relationship with you pursuant to PayPal’s User Agreement. Under the PayPal User Agreement, PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to terminate your account for any reason and at any time upon notice to you,” the letter begins.
And while the reasoning behind the decision was not made clear, PayPal clarified the motivation behind the action in a statement.
“The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action,” said PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs, according to Fox News.
Bowers, who allegedly killed 11 people and wounded another six, including four police officers, posted on Gab shortly before the attack on the synagogue.
The Jew-hater frequently posted about the invading migrant caravan, and blamed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a humanitarian aid nonprofit group that provides assistance to refugees, for bringing “invaders in to kill our people.”
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” Bowers said in a posted, according to Fox News.
Gab CEO Andrew Torba said in a release that they took “swift and proactive action” by providing Bowers’ profile and user data to authorities as soon as they were made aware of his account.
“Gab took swift and proactive action to contact law enforcement immediately. We first backed up all user data from the account and then proceeded to suspend the account,” Torba said in the statement, according to NBC News. “We then contacted the FBI and made them aware of this account and the user data in our possession. We are ready and willing to work with law enforcement to see to it that justice is served.”
The company also dismissed any suggestion that it was responsible for Saturday’s shooting, tweeting: Words are not bullets.”
Bowers was not a supporter of President Donald Trump.
“For the record, I did not vote for [Trump] nor have I owned, worn or even touched a MAGA hat,” he once posted on social media, Fox News reported.
The alleged gunman also made this clear in reaction to the president saying last week that he was a “nationalist.”
“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no MAGA [Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan] as long as there is a k*ke infestation,” Bowers wrote.
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