Seemingly out of the left-field, as it were, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has spoken out against Big Tech censorship, has condemned Twitter competitor/alternative Gab as anti-Semitic, even though the state GOP has an account on the social media platform with 18,000 followers.
Flanked by State Reps. Phil King and Craig Goldman, the GOP governor said in a brief video clip that has gone viral that “anti-Semitic platforms like Gab have no place in Texas and certainly do not represent Texas values. What does represent Texas values is legislation like this by Representative King and Representative Goldman, that fights anti-Semitism in Texas.”
The legislation in question reportedly relates to the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is purportedly unrelated to social media.
Last week, Abbott indicated that he was backing state legislation that would prevent social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from censoring conservatives.
Anti-Semitic platforms do not represent Texas values.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 11, 2021
Similar to the way Parler was treated, vested interests wary of competition have slammed Gab for offensive content. That kind of content is ever-present on social media generally, Gab or anywhere else, however. Critics argue that a double-standard is often in play on the major platforms where liberals are hardly ever sanctioned for extremely objectional posts or violations of terms-of-service standards.
Gab’s Twitter account responded to Abbott that “Gab is not an ‘anti-semitic’ platform. We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture nobody else will. That means unpopular viewpoints may be found on the site.”
Gab has also built out its own infrastructure to avoid being taken down by Big Tech oligarchs. Gab was briefly de-platformed by various service providers in October 2018 after the horrific attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue. The gunman reportedly “wrote multiple anti-Semitic and threatening posts” on Gab, Newsweek reported in October of that year.
We’re on Gab! pic.twitter.com/7KJ64xPBcu
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) January 23, 2021
In a statement, Gab CEO Andrew Torba addressed Abbott’s claim, writing in part:
“Every month 30 million people use Gab’s services to get access to the free flow of information online…Gov. Abbott’s statement will likely not sit well with the nearly 800,000 Texans who have visited Gab.com in the past 24 hours alone. What is even more strange is that the Texas GOP itself is on Gab with a verified account…The enemies of freedom smear us with every name in the book because they hate America and they hate free speech. It’s a shame to see a GOP politician fall for this trap when conservative values are under sustained attack all over the country…
“There are many Jewish Gab users and customers, whose lawful speech we protect with just as much zeal as we would protect the lawful speech of any person of any faith, ethnicity, or creed. This is what America used to be like: a place where The People could speak freely regardless of their faith, ethnic background, or beliefs. This is the America Gab is fighting to preserve.”
Free-speech advocates came to Gab’s defense after Abbott’s remarks. Here is a sampling:
I’m on Gab. Republicans in Congress are on Gab. I’ve never once seen an anti-Semitic post on @getongab and if I did, I’d do the same thing I do when I see one on twitter (which I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of times), I’d call them out and explain why it’s disgusting.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) March 11, 2021
Never seen anti-semitism on Gab. Never heard of anyone who has seen it. Seen plenty of support for the Jewish community on Gab, tho.
This is BS.
— Looney Old Lady (@LooneyOldLady) March 11, 2021
I’ve never seen any anti-semitic conversations on Gab. Let us say there is anti-semitic speech on Gab. Speech that you and I disagree with, as long as they aren’t calling for violent acts, is still protected speech. Freedom of speech, not freedom from speech.
— Brent (@Brent_R) March 11, 2021
Hundreds of thousands of us Texans use gab daily and have never even seen something anti-Semitic or we would challenge it. Lawful freedom of speech is what we Republicans are supposed to be about.
— Dana (@danamurf) March 11, 2021
I really respect the work you do for the state of Texas. However, I think your thoughts of gab are wrong. I encourage to start an @gab account and see for yourself
— Dennis Delk🇺🇸 (@DelkDennis) March 11, 2021
My desire to utilize Gab increases each time these deep-state politicians and figureheads speak.
— kneel (@thatguykneel) March 11, 2021
Wow Gov Abbott, you are so off base on this. I’m surprised and disappointment!
— LeahBelle7 (@LeahDiggle) March 11, 2021
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