What is Gab? After Amazon Action on Parler, Site Popular With Far-Right Reports Growth

A number of high-profile and controversial figures are urging people to join them on controversial social media site Gab, if Parler goes offline as expected.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Trust and Safety has reportedly told Parler's CEO John Matze that it will stop hosting the social media site, which is prominently used by conservatives and the far-right, after a number of accounts were found to have promoted violence before and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

In response, Matze warned users Parler will go offline for up to a week and said it would be "rebuild from scratch."

"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place," Matze wrote on Parler. "We were too successful too fast."

In response, a number of popular uses on Parler—a haven for conservatives and far-right figureheads banned from other platforms—are urging people to now join them on an equally controversial social media platform Gab.

What is Gab?

Gab, which was founded in 2016, prides itself on being a "free speech" platform with almost no censorship rules, and has a similar layout and function to Twitter.

The site describes itself as a "social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online."

It is known to be used by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists unable to post their hate speech on other platforms.

In 2018, Gab temporarily shut down after after its hosting provider GoDaddy dropped when posts linked to the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue gunman, who killed killing 11 people in Pittsburgh, appeared on the platform.

As well as sharing a number of anti-Semitic and racist comments and images, Robert Bowers allegedly wrote "Screw your optics, I'm going in" during a post attacking the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, before carrying out the attack.

Prior to this, Google removed the far-right social network in 2017 from its app store for violating its ban on hate speech.

Gab says it hosts its site in its own servers and has reported problems coping with recent increase in traffic.

The site was founded by Andrew Torba. He created Gab as he felt the existing options of social media were too liberal and even biased around the 2016 election.

"I didn't set out to build a 'conservative social network' by any means, but I felt that it was time for a conservative leader to step up and to provide a forum where anybody can come and speak freely without fear of censorship," Torba told the Washington Post in November 2016.

"Every major communication outlet, every major social network, is run, owned, controlled and operated by progressive leaders, progressive workers in Silicon Valley."

Are Parler-users joining Gab?

The social media site is now reporting a sharp rise in new users and visits following the apparent planned shutdown of Parler and other social media sites suspending a number of accounts, most notably that of Donald Trump, following the attack on Congress.

"500,000+ new users today. 18 million visits. You don't need an account to use the site," Gab tweeted to its 223,000 Twitter followers. "The Silicon Valley Exodus has begun. Get in the Ark...The best is yet to come."

The account also claimed on Saturday that the site was getting more than 10,000 new users an hour. Newsweek has not been able to verify this claim.

A Texas Congressman, Rep. Michael Cloud, is among those to have urged his Twitter followers to join him on Gab, as well as Parler, since the Capitol riot took place.

An influential QAnon supporter, known as Joe M, shared his Gab handle on Parler, writing: "They're struggling to cope with the traffic, but that's where you can find me when Parler goes dark. Geronimo."

Attorney Sydney Powell, the QAnon advocate who helped try to overturn a number of election results with fellow Trump-supporting conspiracy theorists Lin Wood, also urged her followers to join her on Gab before Parler gets taken offline.

Gab has been contacted for further comment.

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(File photo) Social Network applications including Facebook, Instagram, Slack, Snapchat, Twitter, Skype, Viber, Teamsnap and Messenger, are on display on a smartphone on March 21, 2018 in Washington DC. Controversial app Gab is reporting a sharp rise in new users as Parler prepares to go offline. ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty