What Is Gab? Social Media Platform Used by Robert Bowers Part of Growing 'Alt-Tech' Movement

In the wake of Saturday morning's shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 10 confirmed dead, the social media footprint of suspect Robert Bowers has been the focus of media scrutiny. Roughly an hour before the shooting took place, Bowers made a post referencing the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society on the social media site Gab: "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."

Gab launched in 2016 as an alternative to Twitter, dedicated to the principle of free speech. The homepage describes the platform as "a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online. All are welcome." Founder Andrew Torba cited reports that Facebook had suppressed conservative news and "the entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly" as reasons for launching the service.

Gab has responded vociferously to criticism in the aftermath of the shooting, releasing a statement via Medium on Saturday which said, "We refuse to be defined by the media's narratives about Gab and our community. Gab's mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people."

Gab later issued a tweet reaffirming its intent to cooperate with law enforcement investigating the Tree of Life shooting, while seizing the moment as an opportunity to once again critique "Big Tech."