Social networking app Gab has been removed from the Google Play Store. Gab has reportedly become the social network of choice for white supremacists. The company announced the news on Twitter.
Google said in a statement that Gab’s removal was due to a high volume of hate speech without any attempt at moderation. A spokesperson for Google said, “In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people.” Gab has long stuck to its decision not to moderate its users’ posts.
The site was founded as an alternative to Twitter and has attracted a number of right-wing internet celebrities who have been banned by Twitter. The app recently crowdfunded $1 million “to make speech free again and say F*CK YOU Silicon Valley elitist trash.” Gab has been rejected by Apple’s App Store nine times for “objectionable content.”
Gab spokesman Utsav Sanduja said that Google suddenly becoming concerned with complaints over hate speech “doesn’t make sense.” Gab has been on the Google Play store for months. Sanduja said, “We suspect that this is a form of reprisal from Google.” The company recently criticized Google over the firing of James Damore, a programmer responsible for a divisive internal memo that basically claimed women were biologically unsuitable for tech jobs.
Google’s hate speech policy reads: “We don’t allow apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” Google says that the app’s creators are welcome to appeal their suspension. The spokesperson for Google said, “Developers always have the opportunity to appeal a suspension and may have their apps reinstated if they’ve addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies.”
The world’s biggest tech companies are taking a stand against hate speech in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Va. Facebook, PayPal, Apple Pay and Spotify have all taken action against white supremacist hate speech in recent days. Christopher Cantwell, a neo-Nazi figure featured in a documentary on the rally in Charlottesville, found himself banned from dating site OKCupid.