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, a fringe social network , resurfaced on Sunday.
The social media site, which best darknet markets itself as a bastion of free speech amid censorship of extremists on Twitter and Facebook, was intermittently available late Sunday. Clicking on links to the site sometimes would produce error messages, but that didn’t seem to stop some of the site’s 800,000 users from posting celebratory messages, praising the company for coming back online. Many of them hailed the move as for .
“Through the grace of God Gab is back online,” Gab CEO Andrew Torba . “We will never give in. Free speech and liberty will always win.”
Gab’s return marks the latest turn in the unfolding debate over free speech in the modern age. Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have on bad behavior and hate speech on their services. That’s driven some of the people banned from those sites to darknet sites like and Gab, darknet market markets a Twitter-like alternative social network founded in 2016.
Last week, Gab came under scrutiny when reports surfaced that Robert Bowers, who is charged with opening fire in , used the social network to voice . Eleven people died .
Two days later, dark markets on Oct. 29, domain provider GoDaddy . GoDaddy said it made the decision after receiving complaints and finding content on Gab that “promotes and encourages violence against people.” , Stripe, Joyent, Shopify and Medium also cut ties with Gab.
Gab isn’t the only social network that’s been used by extremists. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all have been used by terrorists and Neo-Nazis, as well. With varying degrees of success, those platforms have tried to crack down on hate speech. Gab, however, markets itself as a bastion of free speech that is more permissive than other sites, which is part of why it’s attracted extremists.
Gab also isn’t the first site to see its domain register or host pull their services because of its content. Last year, the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer after being booted by GoDaddy and darknet market list Google. Gab, for its part, is operating on the surface web for now.
In a , Torba said Gab was able to come back online after , , and should be fully back online Monday. “This coordinate smear by the mainstream media did not work,” he said in the message. “This smear is only going to propel us into the stratosphere.”
: Everything you need to know about the free speech debate.
: Everything you need to know about why tech is under Washington’s microscope.