The Microsoft Azure cloud computing service threatened to stop hosting Gab, a self-described “free speech social network,” unless the site deleted two anti-Semitic posts made by a neo-Nazi who previously ran for a US Senate seat.
Gab founder Andrew Torba yesterday posted a screenshot of Microsoft’s notice, which said that Microsoft had “received a complaint of malicious activity” and that Gab must take action within two business days or face the possible “suspension of your deployment(s).
“Gab’s hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, has given us 48 hours to take action on two posts or they will pull our service and Gab will go down for weeks/months,” the website’s official Twitter account said.
Patrick Little, the neo-Nazi referenced above, “voluntarily removed the posts cited by Microsoft,” Gab said in a followup tweet. Little’s now-deleted posts said that Jews should be raised as “livestock” and that he intended to destroy a “holohoax memorial.”
UPDATE: Patrick Little has voluntarily removed the posts cited by Microsoft. pic.twitter.com/1ywwcvaqKb
— Gab.ai (@getongab) August 9, 2018
“I’ll delete the posts, but this is a violation of our rights as Americans,” Little wrote in a Gab post. “Having to self sensor [sic] on @gab for this most likely means the vendors and service providers that gab depends on will force ever more censorship.”
Even that Gab post contained an anti-Semitic statement, with Little writing, “we will have no rights until the jews are expelled.”
GOP banned Little from convention
Little ran for US Senate earlier this year, but the California Republican Party prevented him from registering at the party convention in May because of his hate speech. He ended up finishing in 12th place in the primary with 1.4 percent of the vote.
Torba pushed back against Microsoft yesterday, noting that Microsoft’s first notice to Gab incorrectly labeled the anti-Semitic posts as “phishing URLs.”
“You are correct that the complaint was mistakenly labeled ‘phishing,’ but after an initial review we have concluded that this content incites violence in contravention of Microsoft Azure’s Acceptable Use Policy,” Microsoft told Torba in a response. “We see that the posts in question have now been removed and thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, which we now consider closed. If we receive other complaints about similar content that seeks to incite violence or otherwise violates our Acceptable Use Policy, we will ask that you take similar measures to address.”
“If they receive other complaints, we may get similar requests in the future. This should be fun,” Gab wrote on Twitter.
Torba doesn’t want to keep Gab on Microsoft Azure in the long run. “We are actively looking into other hosting providers and our long-term goal is building our own infrastructure,” Torba wrote, according to the BBC.
Gab “describes itself as a platform for free speech, but much of the content on the site presents far-right viewpoints, including racist and anti-Semitic posts,” the BBC noted.
There were conflicting reports on whether Little removed the posts on his own or whether Gab itself deleted them. In another Gab post yesterday, Little had written that he would “delete my posts when the jews have been removed from power in this country.”
Torba told Little on Gab that “this isn’t a joke. We need to know if you plan to delete them asap or not. You said you would. Are you a man of your word or do you want to play games?”
“We took action and removed both posts,” Torba wrote, according to the BBC report. “We had no choice.” Torba also acknowledged that one of Little’s posts “unquestionably breaks our user guidelines.”
In a statement to media, Microsoft said, “We believe we have an important responsibility to ensure that our services are not abused by people and groups seeking to incite violence. Gab.ai is of course free to choose otherwise and work with another cloud service provider or host this content itself.”
Gab’s mobile app was previously banned by the Google Play Store and rejected by Apple when Gab sought inclusion on the iOS App Store.
Little proposed “rais[ing] jews as livestock”
Little’s anti-Semitic posts were not limited to the two flagged in complaints to Microsoft.
In one of the posts flagged by Microsoft, Little wrote that “No amount of suffering could repay, eye for an eye, the debt the jew owes the world.. given their current population numbers.”
That post then proposed “a plan to raise jews as livestock, providing a steady supply of vessels for vengeance for the hundreds of years of jew crops that will have to be raised for ritual death by torture.”
The other Little post flagged by Microsoft said, “Count down to a live stream of me taking a sledge hammer to a holohoax memorial in twelve months.”
Another post that Little made in the same thread remains on Gab despite containing a similar statement: “I will see the destruction of at least one US holocaust memorial in the next 12 months, or I will take a sledge hammer to one myself. This is a campaign vow for 2020,” Little wrote.
Little continued to rant against Jews on his Gab account yesterday, writing that “The jews are planning on pulling out their well-worn blades of genocide shortly.”
Little recently “embarked on a nationwide ‘Name the Jew’ tour,” to spread anti-Semitic propaganda in at least 10 US cities, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wrote last week.
“Little has been an outspoken anti-Semite for at least a year, but his latest speeches and online comments indicate he’s operating at a new level of bigotry and paranoia,” the ADL wrote. “He has fully embraced the neo-Nazi label, taking to social media to extol ‘Saint Adolf’s’ efforts to eliminate the Jewish population.”