The legal department from the registrar company, Instra Corporation, sent a threat to Gab.ai, demanding that they remove a post that was reported to them as being offensive. The gave the social media network 48 hours to take down the post, otherwise they would take action and terminate the provided registrar service for Gab.ai, which would force them to lose their domain name.
Kotaku in Action user B-Volleyball-Ready posted up a comment in a thread about the act of censorship, linking to a Medium post by Gab’s administrators, who explained how they either had to censor the post or face the consequence of losing the domain name.
They received a notice from Instra Corporation’s legal team, who threatened them with termination if they didn’t remove an offending post from Gab.Ai after they received complaints about the post. The important segment of the letter states…
“Last week we received a formal complaint relating to an image and content visible on gab.ai. Please find the link below relating to the content that has been reported.
“As per our abuse policy we ask that you remove any images and content that are in violation of our
policies within the next 48 hours.”
The letter proceeds to link to the abuse policy along with requesting that once the “offending content” is removed from the site they can confirm it by replying to the e-mail.
In the post, Gab’s admins explain…
”They noted that they had received a “formal complaint” about content posted on Gab. They cited the individual link in question and told us that we had 48 hours to remove “any images that are in violation of their policies.”
“[…] You’ll also note in their guidelines that they “typically give 15 days,” in our case we were given 48 hours to act.”
It is true that Instra Corporation’s AsiaRegistry.com terms of service regarding the abuse policy states that they usually give the registrant 15 days to remedy the problem. On page five of the Abuse Policy, the terms of service states…
“Instra generally provides registrants with 15 days notice of a pending domain action due to a violation of our Terms of Service in order to provide them with the opportunity to remedy the alleged violation. If the registrant is not in violation of our Terms of Service at the end of the 15 day notice period, we may cancel any pending action and consider the matter resolved. This notice period may change depending on the circumstances.”
It’s a clear breach of the terms of service between Instra and Gab.Ai, especially since they were only given 48 hours to remove the offending post, even though they were supposed to have 15 days.
However, there is another side to the coin regarding “offensive content”.
Some regions have been enforcing digital media content providers and facilitators to crack down on “hate speech” within 48 hours. In fact, Germany’s new Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz Law, also known as the Network Enforcement Law, was passed this summer, which requires major networks to remove “hate speech” within 48 hours, otherwise they could face a €50 Million fine.
While some people might think it’s easy to wave off the German Network Enforcement Law, it’s not so easy when there are almost identical censorship mandates like the Tory Manifesto in the U.K., which is where AsiaRegistry.com’s parent company, Instra Corporation, is located. The London, England-based business could be capitulating to avoid any potential problems with fines or penalties of their own.
It’s like trickle-down censorship.
So where does this leave Gab.ai? Well, they were left with an unfortunate choice: censorship or lose the website. The post states…
“We believe this effort was coordinated and planned. We knew this day would come and now we have entered a crossroads with a very binary decision: remove one post or lose our domain and thus the entire website.
“Our choice was very clear to me. The post needs to come down. If it does not, we lose our domain. To my knowledge there are no pro-free speech domain registrars and that is a massive problem.”
Gab hopes that web 3.0 will bring about a more decentralized platform for free-speech built on a blockchain. However, right now it’s a matter of playing by the rules or finding oneself out of a domain name or hosting provider.
In this case, Gab did have to concede and censor the offending post, lest the Registrar take their name. They do end on a positive note, asking for more engineers to join the effort in building a more free and open web, writing…
“We are actively looking for a new registrar. This post will hopefully inspire other teams to start building or attract talented engineers to Gab who want to help us protect the free and open web.”
For now, you’ll just have to watch what you post on Gab.ai, especially given that many SJWs and anti-free speech anarcho-communists will be looking for opportunities to get the quasi-free speech platform shut down.