Today Gab received this letter from Congress. We weren’t going to publicize it, but given that the Committee went to the press before we did there’s no point pretending that we didn’t get it.
We are considering our response to the House Oversight Committee.
Please know that we cooperate with law enforcement regularly on public safety matters and we never comment on non-public communications with law enforcement, even when it would be convenient to do so for public relations purposes, such as today or in any response to Congress we may choose to send at a later date.
We will add one thing for the public and the media to chew on in the meantime, given that the relevant case is now public. The House’s letter makes reference to a Gab user who posted threats against law enforcement on our platform. The implication of the letter is that we are somehow complicit in those threats. The posts in question were made on or about August 11th and an arrest was made on August 15th.
In that case, as the now-public affidavit supporting the arrest warrant states, we received an emergency data request for the subject through our law enforcement disclosure portal at 6:10 PM on August 11th. We responded at 6:10 (i.e., within one minute) to inform the FBI the issue was being actioned. Responsive records were provided to the FBI by 8:20 PM, or 130 minutes later.
We know for a fact that this is orders of magnitude faster responding to law enforcement than companies like Twitter and Facebook, on whose platforms far more threats against law enforcement – and far more hate, pornography, and other unpleasantness – can be found. Just yesterday for example a man was arrested and found with “buckets of human organs and skin” which he purchased on Facebook.
We don’t scream about how seriously we take public safety. We don’t publicize it. We don’t use it to make political statements. We just do the work, try to be as responsible a corporate citizen as we can, and provide all lawful assistance to law enforcement as efficiently as we can given that Gab is a small business with limited resources. We like to think we do a good job at this.
We would recommend that the members of the Committee call up their friends over at the DOJ to verify our bona fides. In the meantime, as we consider our formal response, for all the commentators out there who have been calling for Gab to be shut down for years on end, just because you don’t know about the public safety work we do doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Gab exists to protect all speech which is constitutionally protected by the U.S. Constitution. Use of our platform for controversial but lawful speech is our raison d’etre. Using our platform to threaten anyone, including federal law enforcement, is totally unacceptable. When we are notified by law enforcement of potential threats to life and property, we take quick action.
Although we never publicly comment on specific requests made of us by U.S. or international law enforcement– a policy we have to ensure law enforcement is comfortable communicating with us on public safety matters–the FBI knows how to reach us.
My family and I personally deal with many threats of violence on a regular basis and fully understand the severity and seriousness of being threatened by strangers on the internet. Our moderation team has been briefed to be on watch for increases in threats of violence and our community as a whole has also been notified to be keep an eye out for this type of behavior.
As we have made clear in the public for many years now: our policy is to cooperate with law enforcement when presented with legal process and emergency requests. Threats of violence are not protected speech and we strongly condemn anyone who is foolish enough to post threats of violence on the internet.
I am asking the Gab community to please pray for us and to pray for peace. Our country needs to repent and turn to God, not engage in violence against one another. Responding to Congress is going to take a significant amount of our time and will include legal expenses. As a reminder Gab operates on cash flow and we are funded by the people in our community. If you would like to support our response efforts with this matter please consider upgrading to GabPRO or making a donation here.
Jesus Christ is King of kings