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Friday, September 15, 2017

Gab belatedly files suit

It would appear the additional discussions that delayed yesterday's expected filing were not fruitful.
Free speech social media site Gab AI, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Google for violations of the Clayton Act and Sherman Act. The lawsuit stems from Google removing Gab from its Google Play Android app store on spurious grounds of “hate speech” arising from posts by users.

Google did not accuse Gab of hate speech, but used third party content as a pretext to justify its own business ends. Gab, a startup, aims to bring “folks together of all races, religions, and creeds who share in the common ideals of Western values, individual liberty and the free exchange and flow of information.”

According to Gab’s attorney, Marc Randazza, Google’s conduct is a straightforward violation of the antitrust laws “Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google’s apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab. Google’s intimate partnership with Twitter, which also competes against Gab, makes Google’s control of all Android apps available through the Play Store a serious restraint of trade issue.”

Randazza noted, “regardless of Google’s pretextual justification for removing Gab, the effect is that they used their monopoly power in the app store to block an upstart competitor it in the social media app market, to the detriment of millions of consumers who value free speech.”
The monopoly issue may work for Gab. But I don't like their chances for two reasons. First, Google's resources. Second, the Gab team really seems to be flying blind on the moderation issue. Now, I obviously disagree with their position, which is why I have filed a petition against them. And considering that I had to do so due to their complete refusal to moderate their posts, I don't see that they have any ability to claim they are abiding by Google's terms of service. Which, of course, means they have handed Google a perfect excuse to stonewall them.

Oh, the irony.... This is mildly amusing.


Well, we've collected a whole lot of examples of defamation and defamation per se, but I don't think Andrew is going to find them very useful to his case. The point is not that the other social networks don't moderate effectively, the point is that Gab openly refuses to moderate at all. It is not up to Gab, or even the court, to define what Google considers to be "a sufficient level of moderation" when all Google has to do is demonstrate that Gab does not provide ANY moderation, even upon request.

UPDATE: Andrew Torba claims that Gab does moderate posts. That is likely true, to a very limited extent. The question is, is whatever level of moderation they presently provide sufficient when Gab's management openly brags that they do not moderate for defamation or defamation per se as defined by their registrar, or by Texas law and the Texas courts, and that they will harass users who pursue legal means of redress.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
If our registrar requires us to remove something again we will publish it here and let everyone know that you whined to them because someone hurt your feelings with mean words on the internet.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Note that these are recorded. Keep going. Please this will be fun. I am more alpha than you will ever be. Try me.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Vox I'll publish every email you ever sent us and phone calls which have been recorded, Please try me. You can destroy your personal brand all you want, but you're not going to drag down Gab with it. Mark my words.

It seems to me that he's doing an efficient job of dragging down Gab without any help from me. Here is a partial list of the posts being sent to Asia Registry for review by the LLoE. It demonstrates, rather conclusively, that Gab simply does not moderate to the standard set by Facebook and Twitter, and, more importantly, Google.
  • https://gab.ai/tdawg911/posts/12090691
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12065490
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12065748
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12107799
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12125780
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12126457
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12127469
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12127738
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12128833
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12129102
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12130342
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12128833
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12129450
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12186103
  • https://gab.ai/Fashdaddey/posts/11862161
  • https://gab.ai/Fashdaddey/posts/11839913
  • https://gab.ai/roonyroo/posts/12180125
  • https://gab.ai/Valaranumenoriano/posts/12160268
  • https://gab.ai/Deacon_Jim/posts/12156043
  • https://gab.ai/GTKRWN/posts/12147100
  • https://gab.ai/gaystapo/posts/12112801
  • https://gab.ai/WilhelmL/posts/12090962
  • https://gab.ai/Ungern/posts/12086315
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12077259
  • https://gab.ai/MorbiousStone/posts/12076537
  • https://gab.ai/Whiteknight007/posts/12071038
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12067941
  • https://gab.ai/GTKRWN/posts/12067637
  • https://gab.ai/h4rdm0us/posts/12063396
  • https://gab.ai/h4rdm0us/posts/12062548
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12061817
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12060233
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12046728
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12041396
Regardless, to quote John Derbyshire's recent column, fiat justitia ruat cælum.

Labels: ,

95 Comments:

Anonymous Faceless September 15, 2017 6:00 PM  

Google Play clamped down on a lot in the last several years. They force you to do the international ratings now. They have a lot of questions if your app might get to children. Even if you self-identify as NC-17 just to avoid the hassle of having to prove how you protect users from inappropriate content, that seems like a serious difficulty for Gab to overcome. A court doesn't want to make a sweeping decision - it wants to make an extremely narrow, technical decision that allows it to sidestep the plaintiff's vision of broad applicability of the ruling.

Blogger Unknown September 15, 2017 6:00 PM  

Randazza is a heavy hitter when it comes to free speech issues. He doesn't take cases that he doesn't think have merit and he wins a lot.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2017 6:03 PM  

Hm. I wonder if Gab will counter with the fact that Twitter both allowed and supported #KillAllMen, but was not disallowed.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 15, 2017 6:04 PM  

"We reject your TOS so let us in on Free Speech grounds" is certainly a novel approach...

Apple rejected them on a similar position, and now that Andrew and Utsav have gone on record ridiculing customers for requesting redress by the TOS, they could lose to a judge on coinflip/optics alone. Even if they don't, I think "free speech" as a coercive business partnership tool is a rough one.

Maybe Torba's more alpha than Alphabet. We will see.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 15, 2017 6:07 PM  

I wonder if Gab will counter with the fact that Twitter both allowed and supported #KillAllMen, but was not disallowed.

I imagine this will be a strategy. But it is more likely to get Twitter reprimanded, since their moderation policy is in alignment with Google. I don't expect that "Twitter are the real racists' will work much better.

Anonymous Justin Bailey September 15, 2017 6:07 PM  

Your filing against Gab could be used as an example that Gab is actually openly hostile to moderation of any kind. There's also that other user who was targeted for harassment by Gab itself.

As far as monopoly, you can sideload Gab on Android. I thought that alone would make Apple a better first target if that's the angle.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Blogger Ceerilan September 15, 2017 6:11 PM  

You misspelled "would" in the first sentence.

Blogger Salt September 15, 2017 6:18 PM  

I don't see that they have any ability to claim they are abiding by Google's terms of service. Which, of course, means they have handed Google a perfect excuse to stonewall them

Line 71 et seq dealing with Apple. Comply and the next iteration drops. End result, denied. It may not matter what Google's policies are. Google is essentially a monopoly and has shown itself to act capriciously.

The monopoly issue may work for Gab

It may indeed. Google's intentions could well down the road end with being declared akin a public utility.

Anonymous VFM #7916 September 15, 2017 6:18 PM  

Note that "All" is not used in context of "Moderation"

"Sufficient" was/is the standard.

This is why REEEEEEEE'ing at Twitter/Facebook is not an argument that will fly, because they can point to their moderation which, while we absolutely disagree with how they do it, at least they do it.

Court will likely agree.

This reminds me of Netscape vs. Explorer. In the end it was completely pointless.

Blogger OGRE September 15, 2017 6:28 PM  

Gab might not need the resources to pursue the monopoly angle if someone at the DoJ or FTC figures they can make a name for themselves bagging Google and Apple.

Blogger VD September 15, 2017 6:38 PM  

I wonder if Gab will counter with the fact that Twitter both allowed and supported #KillAllMen, but was not disallowed.

It won't matter. The fact is that Twitter moderates content, however ineptly and unfairly they do so. Gab not only does not moderate content, but actively sneers at users who request moderation and even threatens to harass them.

Their only hope appears to be the monopoly argument, which I assume Google will fight tooth and nail. It was eight years from the first antitrust filing to the breakup of AT&T. It took 17 years from the first lawsuit that Standard Oil lost until the Supreme Court ordered its breakup. So, regardless of how this turns out, it's probably going to go on for at least a decade unless Gab gives up.

Blogger VD September 15, 2017 6:39 PM  

Gab might not need the resources to pursue the monopoly angle if someone at the DoJ or FTC figures they can make a name for themselves bagging Google and Apple.

The problem is that most of them would rather get a job as a legal adviser at Google or Apple after they leave public service.

Anonymous Rocklea September 15, 2017 6:46 PM  

On a tangent, will China use it's coming handset dominance to bring out an Android clone OS?

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2017 6:51 PM  

"It won't matter. The fact is that Twitter moderates content, however ineptly and unfairly they do so. Gab not only does not moderate content, but actively sneers at users who request moderation and even threatens to harass them."

Yeah, it still leaves me floored that Torba would pull that. ESPECIALLY when he knows he's about to go this route.

Anonymous peppermint September 15, 2017 6:55 PM  

The breakup of the Goolag Archipelago is the schwerpunkt of the kurturkampf. Google is clearly in the wrong here, yet VD fans join them in saying that since sideloading is technically possible (with scary security warnings and no ability to update apps) it follows that Google isn't abusing its market position to crush competition.

The only opposition to regulating Big Tech comes from censorious liberals who five years ago would have vociferously agreed that corporations have too much power and free speech must be protected from them. And VD fans who think codes of conduct and political moderation teams are great ideas.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 15, 2017 7:00 PM  

Rocklea
On a tangent, will China use it's coming handset dominance to bring out an Android clone OS?

If they did, nobody in their right mind would use it if there was any other choice.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 15, 2017 7:02 PM  

peppermint
Google is clearly in the wrong here, yet VD fans join them in saying that since sideloading is technically possible (with scary security warnings and no ability to update apps) it follows that Google isn't abusing its market position to crush competition.

Is there any chance you could stop lying some time?

Blogger Dirtnapninja September 15, 2017 7:03 PM  

Using Social Justice as a pretext to crush upstart rivals is the strategy of the future.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 15, 2017 7:04 PM  

At least Andrew Torba has given the alt-Retards something to do with their spare time. Silver lining.

Blogger VD September 15, 2017 7:04 PM  

Google is clearly in the wrong here, yet VD fans join them in saying that since sideloading is technically possible (with scary security warnings and no ability to update apps) it follows that Google isn't abusing its market position to crush competition.

That's the point. They're not. Gab openly refuses to abide by Google's conditions. They have no excuse not to do so. Unless there is some legal or regulatory minutiae that we do not know - which is entirely possible - this is pretty open and shut.

OpenID Micus Expectorus September 15, 2017 7:09 PM  

This indicates that the answer to Google and Apple bad-faith behavior in how they moderate is, once again, to build alt-tech platforms and move to them. If Google can get away with inept and malicious moderation, then others can easily justify kicking off SJWs and the like without worry.

Blogger Johnny September 15, 2017 7:15 PM  

Dirtnapninja wrote:Using Social Justice as a pretext to crush upstart rivals is the strategy of the future.

Gab is on the wrongside of the politics of this. Don't make yourself too big and do not directly challenge the established order, at least not at first. But then I am a half empty sort of guy so naturally I think they should be hoarding their cash until they have an insanely large pile. Then maybe you get involved in this sort of thing.

Blogger bobby September 15, 2017 7:31 PM  

In a vacuum, I'd agree that Gab's claims aren't all that strong.

But if Marc Randazza has agreed to take on this case, and if he's the one who has structured the claims, then I have to back off. He's pulled off some notable wins in internet law.

Sometimes argument from authority is valid.

Blogger Ostar September 15, 2017 7:33 PM  

So were playing 4D chess here Vox, forcing them to confront their moderation failure head on before this gets to court?

Blogger VD September 15, 2017 7:43 PM  

So were playing 4D chess here Vox, forcing them to confront their moderation failure head on before this gets to court?

No, the timing is just happenstance. This was something I've been warning them about since November 2016. It was always going to happen, sooner or later.

Blogger Dedd Sirius September 15, 2017 7:46 PM  

Now I see the brilliance in this entire maneuver. Very nice.

Gab will win big in this engagement. There are multiple winning scenarios/outcomes. Little to no downside risk.

Now this will be entertaining.

Blogger Dedd Sirius September 15, 2017 7:49 PM  

The biggest risk seems to be in accepting the premise that "there should be moderation", and making arguments for a short term, parochial win, but having a cultural effect that is regressive when applied broadly.

Anonymous kHz September 15, 2017 7:50 PM  

Other than a mad dash for publicity, Gab's moves on this makes next to zero sense. Glad I didn't invest, yet I would like to see them right the ship and succeed.

Blogger seeingsights September 15, 2017 8:08 PM  

Just a few years ago, Apple lost an anti-trust case. Apple and some big mainstream publishers were sued for alleged collusion on ebook prices. The traditional publishers settled. Apple fought and lost. I've read the legal decision and I believe it was correctly judged.
The point is: it is possible for a Justice Department victory against giant tech companies, because it has already happened.

Blogger VD September 15, 2017 8:17 PM  

The point is: it is possible for a Justice Department victory against giant tech companies, because it has already happened.

Certainly. And how long did that take? Also, they were colluding and every other party admitted it.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 15, 2017 8:26 PM  

I've tried to reserve judgment because people I respect are fans of Gab, and I wish their attitude on speech could prevail. I'd also be glad to see anyone give Google a poke in the eye. Unfortunately, nothing I've seen from Gab since this started inclines me to take them seriously at all. IANAL even a little bit, so that's not a legal opinion, just a regular one from the cheap seats.

Blogger Johnny September 15, 2017 8:36 PM  

Not being an insider I am just guessing, but the whole thing is starting to give me a sinking feeling. The main reason for doing the right thing should be that it is your nature to do it, because otherwise it is not often rewarded.

Blogger SirHamster September 15, 2017 8:40 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:I've tried to reserve judgment because people I respect are fans of Gab, and I wish their attitude on speech could prevail. I'd also be glad to see anyone give Google a poke in the eye. Unfortunately, nothing I've seen from Gab since this started inclines me to take them seriously at all. IANAL even a little bit, so that's not a legal opinion, just a regular one from the cheap seats.

Based on latest Periscope, unsubbed Gab.

I had reservations at the start, but went along because Alt-Tech and VD's recommendation.

Glad to see that the gut feeling is trustworthy, not so glad to see the poor choices. Best wishes to Torba.

Anonymous Casey September 15, 2017 8:40 PM  

Google will undoubtedly consider the 16 points of the Alt-Right to be hate speech when they get around to it.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 15, 2017 8:40 PM  

I've tried to reserve judgment because people I respect are fans of Gab, and I wish their attitude on speech could prevail.

IF wish = horse -> trail rides for everyone.

I'd also be glad to see anyone give Google a poke in the eye.

Agree. I said before as long as the only way to get Gab onto a mobile platform is a via sideloading it's not going to be popular with normies. Keeping Gab out of the Play Store is blatant. But Goolag can do that easily with TOS as long as the alt-Retard are overrunning Gab with poop.

Stand with Gab in this effort but it's way too uphill because of bad decisions.

Anonymous Post Alley Crackpot September 15, 2017 9:04 PM  

One of the more amusing effects of libertarian virtue signalling is that people who become litigants who operate under this delusion get the privilege of enjoying outcomes that are outside their comfort area ...

You could even call these "legal safe spaces", but that would be just too damned mean.

Anonymous Post Alley Crackpot September 15, 2017 9:09 PM  

Also, I like this idea of encouraging everyone who likes Gab to become an Internet poop collector ...

Do these people get free shots when they wind up with Internet Hepatitis?

How about Internet Rabies then? Oh, wait ... that's how this situation started, isn't it ...

Blogger pyrrhus September 15, 2017 9:14 PM  

An essential aspect of Libertarianism (there are a few exceptions) is being delusional about the real world...

Blogger Lazarus September 15, 2017 9:50 PM  

Marc Randazza is the lawyer who clued me in to the fact that Walter Sobchuck's diner scene speech is cited in case law now.



He's got the chops. I am optimistic.

Blogger GraceIronwood September 15, 2017 9:53 PM  

THEATRE
Gab v Google is "Freespeech David v Goliath"

No matter the legal issues or outcome,
they will have recovered their brand as heroes.

Anonymous Looking Glass September 15, 2017 9:53 PM  

It'd have been nice for Gab to have sorted out the Defamatory Speech stuff first, as it'd have put them on better footing, but this is likely to deal with "hate speech", which the Supreme Court recently upheld at protected 1A speech.

This is likely to turn on Google as "Gatekeeper" acting as one when the Gab App was on the store for months and specifically removed for "hate speech". Since they exist as a Duopoly, now, they're in a different legal realm and this was a battle in the mobile space that was already going to happen.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 15, 2017 10:47 PM  

Freedom of hate speech means Gab can make it, not that Googs must publish their app. But good for them for trying.

Blogger Ransom Smith September 15, 2017 10:48 PM  

I honestly don't know why Gab cares so much. I hate the fascination with mobile apps. Just make a good website that loads well on mobile and desktop.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 15, 2017 10:50 PM  

No matter the legal issues or outcome,
they will have recovered their brand as heroes.


Not if the Narrative that sticks is "Literal Nazi App Slapped by Google Play store for reprehensible defamation policy."

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 15, 2017 11:10 PM  

Google will undoubtedly consider the 16 points of the Alt-Right to be hate speech when they get around to it.

They don't even have to go that far. They aren't the State. They can, and do, ban whatever they want to ban already.

"Muh free speech" is not the last defense nor the canary in the coal mine vs. Google. Gab is simply pursuing its business interests with the lawsuit. The smarter thing would be to enforce its own TOS more professionally. I don't know why they would take a company whose leaders crack publicly under the pressure and use "really hard week" as an excuse very seriously.

I am really surprised they knew to get Randazza for Google but not for the defamation. He's good at defamation too, and they clearly didn't even run it past him.

Anonymous Looking Glass September 15, 2017 11:15 PM  

Gab's bigger problem is they didn't get all of their "ducks in a row" before striking at the big players. Even if they had fixed the bug in their TOS, this was always going to be a rough go (and a LONG, long go, at that), but they should have waited.

The thing I still can't quite get is that Gab does remove comments & accounts. It's in their TOS and they do it quite a bit, actually. So they already have to deal with that, yet dealing with the Defamation Bug is too much? Obviously, we've not been privy to Vox's longer discussions with Torba, but something still doesn't add up with all of this. This is not a hard problem to solve, and you can still take a very "hands off" position in general.

Anonymous Justin Bailey September 15, 2017 11:27 PM  

@ Looking Glass

https://gab.ai/a/posts/12072836

Judging by that post a few days ago, I assumed he took Vox publicly saying he was going to Torba to get the post(s) removed as some kind of call out for him to violate Muh Principles, and now is dug in on the position for better or worse. Even Vox said he shouldn't have warned anyone, just acted. Oh well.

Blogger beerme September 15, 2017 11:40 PM  

Ransom Smith wrote:I honestly don't know why Gab cares so much. I hate the fascination with mobile apps. Just make a good website that loads well on mobile and desktop.
Because Norman McNormie's wife likes apps. And everyone wants to sell shit to Norman McNormie's wife because women love buying shit. Not having an app is "wierd" and "only legitimate apps come from the app store" to normies. Internet autistes are a terrible market for making easy money.

Anonymous Looking Glass September 15, 2017 11:46 PM  

@Justin Baily:

Right, the first week, okay. I can understand the position Torba was in, especially low on sleep, and he took Vox's statements the wrong way. They were neutral statements that could be read a few ways, so that's just miscommunication issues. It can be solved.

The problem is this doesn't seem to be going away and it's a massively self-inflicted wound. All companies exist under specific laws, which is, in theory, why Gab is setup in the USA & Texas. "Defamation != Free Speech" is pretty easy. "Court Order for PII" is also a solid policy.

One doesn't have to take Twitter or Facebook's "just ban everyone for anything unless they're on the Left" policy as acceptable, but there's still "proper" policy positions that doesn't compromise principles. Otherwise removing the pro-Pedos that show up would be an "issue", when it hasn't been the entire time. This is verging too close to a Martyrdom Complex for my liking, but we'll see it play out.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 16, 2017 12:43 AM  

but something still doesn't add up with all of this.

Definitely, but we don't have their strategic plans, so who knows? The public pratfalls may be worse or less bad than they appear. Maybe they even ginned up their idiot lies about being harrassed by Vox's 4 phone calls for a reason.

Maybe they wanted the praise and adoration and defamation from the #AltRetard, and maybe they even think that since they'll be called Nazis anyhow, that Gab can do some sort of 3D chess with the #AltReich as pawns.

I doubt it, but even if all of that is true, the ruthless public attacks on customers, even if for show, are not a good omen.

Blogger LP9 September 16, 2017 1:38 AM  

Team Day.

I wonder how start engine is still going to collect cash for gab, gab wants money for legal defense fund plus the min. 201 as a shareholder, sounds protection money to me for DS and miscreants to be stupid on social media, they will get nothing for defamation as its not free speech, usstav, Andrew T are wrong.

Also, under the law could be an audit, its mere rumor.

The irony is I stand not with gab or google but I didnt want gab hurt but they harmed themselves first, where was the concern for SB, I saw the worst images against a wonderful woman and a great person towards me, no one cared about that or anyones family safety.

Andrew T claimed Thrusday he's a gentlemen in court - what? Where was the compassion and the removal of the posts that are vile and untenable to gabs business model

Blogger LP9 September 16, 2017 1:43 AM  

Vox is right, Gab did sneer and I say they laughed

I have noted multiple attacks on users whom did invest or used start engine to jump in as investors, they were attacked, reported it, nothing happened.

I took great amusement in DS'er telling me to "hang myself faggot." Such gentlemen, sorry excuses for men and that is sad from an MRA and rabid anti feminist.

Blogger Lemur September 16, 2017 2:02 AM  

Sometimes things from the world of mortals reach the ears of the Darkest of Dark Lords, and he becomes 'mildly amused.' (Because he's above it all, geddit)

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( i'm sorry you raped Andrea Dworkin and i disavow your Patriarchal Cisheteronormative Bourgeois Consciousness in shame ) September 16, 2017 5:05 AM  

VD
The point is not that the other social networks don't moderate effectively, the point is that Gab openly refuses to moderate at all.




i will name him Andrew Derpa, and i will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPdHaNr0OAY


yes folks, i believe we've found a new classification for the socio-sexual hierarchy.

Anonymous DeplorableCodeMonkey September 16, 2017 5:24 AM  

VD

@a raised a good point: his competition was caught red-handed selling ads to "bigots." That could be a real game changer in light of all of the times where Twitter and Facebook have openly allowed hate speech from certain groups. Gab can credibly show that their business model doesn't support hate speech AND their competition who claim to moderate in the name of tolerance actually are happy to make money off of bigotry.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 5:38 AM  

That could be a real game changer in light of all of the times where Twitter and Facebook have openly allowed hate speech from certain groups.

It won't change a thing. For what must be the 20th time, suboptimal moderation is still moderation. Gab very proudly refuses to moderate at all.

Gab can credibly show that their business model doesn't support hate speech AND their competition who claim to moderate in the name of tolerance actually are happy to make money off of bigotry.

No, they cannot. Because the crux of the matter is not about hate speech, but moderation. Gab does not, and cannot claim to, provide "sufficient moderation", as Google has required since before Gab existed.

Blogger Todd Brown September 16, 2017 6:17 AM  

Every app listed as 'internet browser' should be expected to moderate 'its content.

Blogger SemiSpook37 September 16, 2017 6:26 AM  

The longer this whole thing has gone on, the more and more it looks like VD has been right all along. Granted, I don't spend a lot of time on Gab during the day (part of it is that a good bit of stuff doesn't seem to get caught by the NSFW filter, muted hashtag or otherwise), so I haven't dealt with the poor moderation, personally, but it does seem to support Alphabet's (and Apple's, oddly enough) claim that their moderation scheme (or in this case, an extreme lack, thereof) isn't in line with what their development policies are.

I don't know why I didn't see it sooner. For as craptastic as Twatter is, and as shady as Failbook can be sometimes, both of those companies do impose an acceptable moderation policy on their content. Obviously, I don't agree with said policies or political viewpoints of those organizations, but I also understand that those companies are well within their rights to operate as they please since they are privately owned and operated entities. That's what Torba and his crew don't seem to understand.

I think the major disconnect is that Gab automatically assumes that moderation == censorship, when clearly that assumption is incorrect. Moderation keeps things in check, so that stuff like defamation per se and other illegal activities shouldn't get out of hand. Like VD said in the Darkstream, 98% of people aren't going to see moderation as censorship. If it's something crude or crass aimed at a specific person or group, it makes sense to curtail that kind of stuff because, again, 98% of people DON'T want to see that. They'll go somewhere else or use a different app or whatever.

So while the technological stuff that Gab wants to do sounds cool, and is worth supporting, the fact that it's becoming a place that even 4chan types are going, "Dude, that place is a cesspool" is not even remotely helping their cause. There's an extremely fine line between being a free speech advocate and being a hugely craptastic business, and for all intents and purposes, Gab seems to be okay with being considered the latter. It makes no sense.

Anonymous Looking Glass September 16, 2017 6:38 AM  

@VD:

The issue between Gab & Google is going to turn on "hate speech" and "Google as Public Utility" under the Anti-Trust laws. Which is why a formal complaint with the FTC and/or the SEC was the first legal route that should have been pursued. That produces more leverage for a direct lawsuit.

Which is part of why I'm concerned about Gab's legal approach to this, while at the same time I do appreciate that being locked out of both Apple & Google's "store" causes material harm to Gab's interests & growth. This points to a need to act earlier than later.

As to the moderation issue, I've mentioned before that Gab has banned users & removed posts since I first showed up there. Which is why I'm still confused, after heads have cooled off, why Gab is taking the position on Defamation that they are. (Gab spent a lot of time building in the anti-CP system, specifically so the place couldn't be infected by it. One only need a properly working Report Feature with an option to Mute the user as well to solve most of these problems.)

Anonymous Luke September 16, 2017 7:11 AM  

OT: Dalrock's site has been hacked. It currently redirects to some black feminist's site.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 7:19 AM  

They've been trying hard to hack Castalia House's site as well.

OpenID crapulux September 16, 2017 7:20 AM  

If we follow Google's logic, then Chrome should also be taken out the App Store... Since it allows anyone to browse the web and be exposed to... horror... be exposed to free speech, maybe even to the truth...

Chrome should display a big fat TRIGGER WARNING splash screen at launch.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 7:25 AM  

No. Chrome is not a social network. They have different rules for different kinds of apps.

OpenID crapulux September 16, 2017 7:35 AM  

However, Chrome can still be used to browse Gab or other social networks (in a less practical way than an app, of course). Hmmm, I find these TOS a bit hypocritical...

Blogger Cail Corishev September 16, 2017 8:03 AM  

his competition was caught red-handed selling ads to "bigots."

I really hope their legal case is better than "But Jimmy did it first!"

Anonymous Looking Glass September 16, 2017 8:29 AM  

@Cail Corishev

Duplicity from Google would be a part of the case. Gab has a solid case, especially given the timing aspects involved, but they really needed to get all of their "ducks in a row" first. There's a reason they should have found all of the formal government complaints first, unless that precludes them from a direct lawsuit. (That's an area of law I've got limited experience with.)

What it really feels like is too much idealism about "the way things work" vs the reality that you're running an insurgency campaign. You've got to be judicious about how you attack. And having your flank currently exposed doesn't help matters.

Anonymous johnc September 16, 2017 9:49 AM  

Moderation or not, Gab won't be able to clear the hate speech requirement. They need to do like Twitter, etc. and prohibit hate speech from their platform.

Eventually, this blog will be the same way.

Anonymous johnc September 16, 2017 9:53 AM  

Gab has a solid case

I doubt it. If they were banned from Google Play due to anti-competitive behavior on Google's part, then maybe. But Google's argument is that the app violates their ToS (which it does). Gab just doesn't want to comply with the ToS. If they did, it's likely that Google would let them on the app store.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 9:57 AM  

Eventually, this blog will be the same way.

Unlikely. A blog is not a social network and if the comments are a hate speech problem, I can simply turn on the registration requirement.

Anonymous johnc September 16, 2017 10:16 AM  

Unlikely. A blog is not a social network and if the comments are a hate speech problem, I can simply turn on the registration requirement.

Google refers to it as a "delicate balancing act" so it seems a bit arbitrary to me.

Blogger doesn’t remove blogs that contain insults or negative commentary.

We do remove content that:

- promotes hatred or violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity

Our products are platforms for free expression. But we don't support content that promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity, or whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics. This can be a delicate balancing act, but if the primary purpose is to attack a protected group, the content crosses the line.


Some people might construe the question "Are blacks worse than atomic bombs?" as a verbal attack on a protected group.

I understand you already have backup plans; I'm just making the point that "hate speech" is becoming a catch-all censorship mechanism backed by laws in many Western countries.

Anonymous pincers September 16, 2017 10:23 AM  

"I'm just making the point that "hate speech" is becoming a catch-all censorship mechanism backed by laws in many Western countries."

Of course everybody already realizes this. The only place that has to be pointed out is on this blog, where Vox's lapdog cultists hamsterwheel furiously to justify his missteps.

Blogger Michael Kingswood September 16, 2017 10:32 AM  

VFM #6306 wrote:Google will undoubtedly consider the 16 points of the Alt-Right to be hate speech when they get around to it.

They don't even have to go that far. They aren't the State. They can, and do, ban whatever they want to ban already.


What is it about some people on the right and their complete inability to see past the "Muh Private Corporation" BS?

Google may not be an arm of the government, but it IS a public space. As is Twitter. As is Facebook. They're basically the town square of the Internet. Above and beyond the issue of equal treatment (if a baker can be forced to bake a cake as a public accommodation for something the baker objects to, Facebook, Google, or Twitter can be forced to do the same), there's also the notion that you CANNOT stop someone from going into the town square just because you don't like them or agree with what they say.

FFS guys...

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 10:37 AM  

Google may not be an arm of the government, but it IS a public space. As is Twitter. As is Facebook. They're basically the town square of the Internet.

Basically....

Blogger Markku September 16, 2017 10:50 AM  

How you want the world to be has no bearing on whether a specific argument made in court will be accepted or rejected. Theoretically, something like disparate impact could be argued in relation to how "hate speech" is currently enforced in practice. But this is an ANTITRUST argument. So, the question is, has Google abused monopoly position against Gab.ai, inc. And they OBVIOUSLY have not, since the terms existed even before the company existed.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 16, 2017 10:51 AM  

IANAL, but I'll bet "basically" isn't a common word in winning legal briefs.

There may be a moral case that Google has become a public utility and should be treated as such, but I think that's a far cry from being a legal case at this point in time. And even if it is, I fail to see how that helps Gab. Gab/Torba might go down in history as the plantiff whose case drew attention that eventually led to government and court decisions that resulted in Google being broken up in 2027, but does that help Gab?

Blogger Markku September 16, 2017 10:51 AM  

It's called "scope". And everything you guys are saying, is outside the scope.

Anonymous Jack September 16, 2017 11:08 AM  

fiat justitia ruat cælum

That line was used to good effect in Oliver Stone's JFK. I've always liked it.

Blogger Joel Downs September 16, 2017 11:30 AM  

Google's rules and whether or not they violate them will not matter. The fact is that Google uses it's monopoly to keep a competitor off the field, just as Standard Oil did a century ago. This will be the central question in court.

Blogger Markku September 16, 2017 11:35 AM  

Competitor in what? Google doesn't own Twitter.

Blogger Joel Downs September 16, 2017 11:44 AM  

Markku, apparently Google considers them a competitor, or a potential competitor, else they would not be keeping Gab out of PlayStore with their arbitrary and capriciously applied rules.

Blogger Markku September 16, 2017 11:44 AM  

Circular reasoning.

Anonymous johnc September 16, 2017 12:02 PM  

Above and beyond the issue of equal treatment (if a baker can be forced to bake a cake as a public accommodation for something the baker objects to, Facebook, Google, or Twitter can be forced to do the same)

Is that really the same? Gab is not banned from the app stores because it is a protected class (gay, Muslim, black, whatever). It's banned because it doesn't follow the app stores' ToS on moderation and hate speech.

Apple rejects all kinds of apps that don't meet their content guidelines. We had an app rejected once because an in-app demo used an image of a phone that wasn't explicitly an iPhone. Nobody would say that's a case of public accommodation.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 12:05 PM  

The fact is that Google uses it's monopoly to keep a competitor off the field, just as Standard Oil did a century ago.

Well, I suppose we can expect the Supreme Court to rule in Gab's favor in about 19 years, then.

Blogger seeingsights September 16, 2017 12:29 PM  

A point made in this thread is that Gab has pretty good legal counsel in this suit against Google.
I wouldn't read too much into that though.
(1) A lawyer will do anything for you as long as you pay him.
(2) Some lawyers relish the challenge to win a case which others think have less than a 50 percent chance of winning.

Blogger Eskyman September 16, 2017 3:00 PM  

Much as I'd like to see "freedom" prevail (i.e. be able to express whatever opinion one may have on whatever subject) on any or all internet platforms, I don't see that happening any time soon- and maybe not at all, ever.

All too often "moderation" means that no content is allowed unless it fits with the platform owner's biases regardless of legality. "It's my platform, I can allow/disallow whatever- or whoever- I like." Google of course is infamous for banning speech that it disagrees with, regardless whether it's defamatory or otherwise illegal. They can and do ban anything they don't want others to see. Other platforms such as Facebook and YouTube do that too.

I had admired Gab's willingness to allow anything at all, but I can now see that defamatory and libelous statements, which I hadn't considered, can lead to big problems.

IANAL either; but the most likely outcome of all this is: Gab will shut down and cease to exist, which I find sad. They can't buy courts and judges like Google can.

Long ago I realized that "justice" is a beautiful concept, but it doesn't exist in reality. What does exist is power, fueled by money to provide outcomes that are desirable to the powerful. Examples abound, beginning with all the political figures who have been caught red-handed committing crimes, who are not in jail. They won't be going to jail, either. So much for "justice."

I wish Gab well, and I'll be sorry when it's gone.

Blogger Shimshon September 16, 2017 4:22 PM  

Vox, I'm surprised you didn't even mention the effort the government expended to break up IBM, and ultimately failed.

"1969: The United States government launches what would become a 13-year-long antitrust suit against IBM. The suit becomes a draining war of attrition, and is eventually dropped in 1982,[151] after IBM's share of the mainframe market declined from 70% to 62%.[152]"

THIRTEEN YEARS!

Anonymous peter September 16, 2017 4:23 PM  

We seem to be arguing both sides of this...gab has not case here..

1. google applies the same rules to everyone
2. there are app stores
3. it is NOT public space.. nowhere on the internet is there a public space.. its all owned by someone, and operated under service agreements.

Blogger Pteronarcyd September 16, 2017 5:00 PM  

Freedom of speech does not allow one the freedom to speak lies.

Blogger Joel Downs September 16, 2017 5:01 PM  

VD: "Well, I suppose we can expect the Supreme Court to rule in Gab's favor in about 19 years, then."

Maybe, maybe not. If Trump appoints more Neil Gorsuch types, sooner. if Google loses its monopoly via technological change the lawsuit becomes superfluous.

Gab may well cease to exist but it won't be the last business that will recognize and try to fill the public's desire for unfettered free speech, no matter how distressing, untrue, or libelous.

Blogger VD September 16, 2017 5:13 PM  

if Google loses its monopoly via technological change the lawsuit becomes superfluous.

Which is by far the more likely outcome. It's ridiculous anyhow. Gab has zero need to be on the Play Store to in order to be a successful, stable, profitable concern. There is only one reason it "needs" to be on there, and that is to have any shot at a pump-and-go-public play.

Anonymous johnc September 16, 2017 5:29 PM  

All too often "moderation" means that no content is allowed unless it fits with the platform owner's biases regardless of legality.

In the case of YouTube, I don't think there's even any human interaction in the "moderation" process anymore. If you watch the below video from Squatting Slav TV, he explains how his channel got shut down.

Basically, his videos were swarmed by SJWs that reported them for hate speech. (And if you know his videos, there's no hate speech.) It's pretty clear that when he went through the official YouTube "appeal" process that there wasn't an actual human making a judgement. (Or, if there was, it was a pretty blatant hit job.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzPEf1_xLAA

Blogger Cail Corishev September 16, 2017 5:31 PM  

the public's desire for unfettered free speech

Does this exist, really?

Anonymous Justin Bailey September 16, 2017 5:54 PM  

Gab is moderated, but it's by the trolls. The site has and will keep it's reputation as an echo chamber because anyone with a dissenting opinion is chased off the site quite efficiently. Someone claiming to be Feminist Frequency joined Gab and was ruthlessly attacked. It could have been someone pretending to be them to troll, or a honeypot setup to obtain even more proof that Gab is for "white supremacists only." I'm sure it ended up being worth it whatever the case.

I am totally against Twitter's arbitrary and clear leftist bias while pretending to be neutral, but the fact is that I have much better interactions on Twitter than Gab. I'm actually more able to Speak Freely on Twitter as well, because I don't have to worry about stormpoopers attacking me for having wrong opinions.

And to top it all off, here's a guy asking for Vox's private info. I'm sure Torba will be all over this, as he claims doxxing isn't allowed.

https://gab.ai/Microchip/posts/12220116

Gab is over.

Blogger BigBadBear September 16, 2017 6:04 PM  

Google however, having a monopoly on the market, can set whatever conditions it wants in the T's & C's, and therefore arbitrarily block whomever it wishes. So I see the monopoly angle as relevant. "Hate speech" is not illegal in the US yet?

Anonymous Darth Wheatley September 16, 2017 8:58 PM  

I knew Anglin was nothing but trouble (and an asshole) when he started talking shit about Heather Heyer's parents. It rapidly went downhill from there. That was what, 2 weeks ago?

This Microchip dude, however, is straight-up psycho. Holy mother of autism.

I'm just done... screw all these social media people. I just don't need 'em.

And Torba, what a meltdown. He's toast.

I'm sorry I invested so much time and energy generating content for them. I guess it's time to go back and delete thousands of posts, like I did on Twitter and Facebook and Google.

Getting tired of everything either being 1984 or a digital no-go zone. Seems there's no in-between, nor will there ever be.

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