Personally, I think there is no reason to hesitate to ban anyone from any site for any reason the site owner deems desirable. But I understand that Gab has publicly professed a commitment to free speech and therefore has to deal with the expectations that they have created for themselves.
We believe the post in question was indeed obscene. It should have been marked #NSFW and it was not, therefore it is in violation of our Community Guidelines.
This is not the first time we have enforced our guidelines. Gab has banned users for spamming, making death threats to the President, posting revenge porn, and doxing among others. We’ve been transparent and incredibly fair about this on many occasions.
We believe this effort was coordinated and planned. We knew this day would come and now we have entered a crossroads with a very binary decision: remove one post or lose our domain and thus the entire website.
Our choice was very clear to me. The post needs to come down. If it does not, we lose our domain. To my knowledge there are no pro-free speech domain registrars and that is a massive problem. Our only other option now would be to play a cat and mouse game by transferring our domain to another registrar. Others who have attempted to play this game have failed and even had their domain seized completely from under them. We will not play these games. We have little choice, for now.
The free and open internet as we know it is under attack. It is centralized and controlled by no more than a handful of companies who provide these services:
- DDoS protection
- Payment Processing
- Domain Registrars
- Mobile device hardware and software distribution
Without any of these things an individual website can not possibly compete and operate at scale. If left unchecked, these centralized platforms will continue their dominance and control the means of all information, personal data, and communication on the internet.
Perhaps it would help if you understand that I don’t believe that free speech exists anymore than equality does.