Gab was billed as a Twitter alternative, and it turned into a cesspit due to a refusal to moderate it. The owner of the site, Andrew Torba, claimed not to understand the difference between moderation and censorship. They’ve been hacked, and all of the private messages of everyone who ever used the site are now in the possession of some kind of “anti-hate” group.
Remember, I warned you about Gab.
I frankly don’t remember exactly how my feud with Andrew Torba got started.
I was listening to old Jason Isbell after he went full Black Lives Matter. He has that song about the Hatfields and McCoys. Here he is singing it when he was a pudgy boy. Before he was an anti-racist activist with his stupid “cool” wife.
It sort of feels like that with myself and Andrew Torba. The thing I remember is he banned weev and wouldn’t stop gay porn from showing up in my replies. He told me to “mute” the users, and I said “well, that isn’t actually the issue. The issue is that anyone who I send to this site is going to see gay porn in my replies, which strongly disincentivizes me sending people to this site.”
Oh and he did a donation drive, primarily based on me getting banned (and I promoted it), and he got over a million dollars, and apparently just kept it, because he didn’t fix the site. He also allowed these private chat rooms that feds just ran rampant in, telling people to build bombs and so on, and then was ostensibly shocked when some angry guy from his site shot up a synagogue. (Note that I’m not saying he was responsible, but the media said he was responsible, and he easily could have avoided that.)
I think there was something much worse he did, but I don’t remember what it was.
On his end, he claims weev was trying to bring heat on him (which weev had no reason to do, and has no history of trying to bring heat on people). He also claims I gave him bad press, but the bad press was all just reporting on my experiences there. I mean, that gay porn thing was just nuts. I’m like: “look, Andrew, I told people to go to this site, and they go there, and my replies are filled with gay porn – there has to be a solution to this.” He said there was no solution.
I don’t actually know what has been going on there now. Someone from the DS staff used to run an “Andrew Anglin” account there that would give status updates (back when we had a new domain every week) – something I used even whilst disliking Andrew Torba, because he basically used me to make a million dollars, and owes me that much. I don’t know if that is still happening, and I don’t really want to go check as I think it will give me flashbacks of gay porn spam to visit the site.
Anyway, yes, Torba and I have some kind of beef, but it has never been a big time internet beef. I don’t have any big time internet beef. There is one time when I wanted to argue with [some specific cultlike group of people which I won’t mention] on the Killstream, but that was about the fact that they had been totally exposed as compromised by feds and then responded by accusing me of being mentally ill and working for the SPLC (then hung up the call on the Killstream when I called in).
Ah, what am I doing here? Ah.
— holly wiley (@hollyjayewiley) February 27, 2021
This is to say: I’m not a big internet beef guy personally, despite the fact that I do enjoy consuming internet beef content.
But I’ve always said “be careful over at Gab, this place is not run very well.”
When Twitter banned Donald Trump and a slew of other far-right users in January, many of them became digital refugees, migrating to sites like Parler and Gab to find a home that wouldn’t moderate their hate speech and disinformation. Days later, Parler was hacked, and then it was dropped by Amazon web hosting, knocking the site offline. Now Gab, which inherited some of Parler’s displaced users, has been badly hacked too. An enormous trove of its contents has been stolen—including what appears to be passwords and private communications.
On Sunday night the WikiLeaks-style group Distributed Denial of Secrets is revealing what it calls GabLeaks, a collection of more than 70 gigabytes of Gab data representing more than 40 million posts. DDoSecrets says a hacktivist who self-identifies as “JaXpArO and My Little Anonymous Revival Project” siphoned that data out of Gab’s backend databases in an effort to expose the platform’s largely right-wing users. Those Gab patrons, whose numbers have swelled after Parler went offline, include large numbers of Qanon conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and promoters of former president Donald Trump’s election-stealing conspiracies that resulted in the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
DDoSecrets cofounder Emma Best says that the hacked data includes not only all of Gab’s public posts and profiles—with the exception of any photos or videos uploaded to the site—but also private group and private individual account posts and messages, as well as user passwords and group passwords. “It contains pretty much everything on Gab, including user data and private posts, everything someone needs to run a nearly complete analysis on Gab users and content,” Best wrote in a text message interview with WIRED. “It’s another gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon, and everything surrounding January 6.”
Gee, Emma Best better be careful – she might get trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy for years and then kidnapped and tortured by the British secret services on behalf of the CIA, what with all of this fighting the power she’s doing.
It’s almost too obvious to have to say “obviously, the ‘hacking group’ is a front for the FBI.” But I’ll say it anyway: obviously, the “hacking group” is a front for the FBI.
The idea that random people’s private information is on par with the emails of the ruling class is so stupid that it’s hard to process. “It’s a WikiLeaks style group but instead of publishing documents from the government they just publish the private communications of random people” is one of the goofiest things I’ve heard in hours.
But yeah – the entire backend of Gab was developed by a Pakistani or some other type of person along those lines. Security was always a serious problem. So this is something that was always definitely going to happen, it was just a matter of time.
Assuming the number is really 70 gigabytes, that would be everything that has ever been typed on the site in its four year history, no? I don’t know, I’m not a computer scientist, but I just found out you can fit about 200 million typed words into a gigabyte. So, 70 gigabytes would be 14 billion words. Give or take. I would think that’s everything that’s ever been typed into the site, no?
I hope you didn’t post any personal data in any private messages on Gab, because apparently, they not only didn’t encrypt that, but they kept all the data.
On some level, I feel bad for Torba. But not really. I do feel bad for anyone who gets nailed to the wall over this. It’s probably going to be a lot of people. What they’re going to do is go through and identify as many people as possible, and then do the normal SPLC thing of getting them fired, and getting their name on Google results so they can’t ever get another job.
The data hasn’t been dumped yet, but the group showed the data to WIRED, so I think it’s safe enough to assume that they actually have it, and Gab users will be finding out in the future what that means for them.
Probably, they will slowly put it out, trying to destroy as many people’s lives as possible.