Google’s hate speech policy led to Gab, a popular alt-right social network, being removed from the Play Store this week.
On Thursday, the company tweeted that it had raised $1 million in a crowdfunding campaign and that its app would be removed. One of Google’s emails, which was also posted to Twitter as a screenshot, said Gab had been “suspended and removed” from its store because it had violated the company’s hate speech policy.
“Ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online,” is how Gab bills itself on its website. After being banned from sites like Twitter and Facebook, the site has attracted a large number of far-right users.
Though it claims to be neutral, the social media platform’s green frog logo is strikingly similar to Pepe the Frog, one of the most popular alt-right mascots; and its CEO, Andrew Torba, was kicked out of an alumni network for violating its harassment policy last year.
In light of the recent violence in Charlottesville and a sexist memo from a Google engineer that was leaked earlier this month, Gab’s crowdsourcing campaign appears to have gained traction, as noted by VentureBeat.
Several hosting and domain services recently cut off Andrew Anglin’s neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, so he started posting screenshots of articles to Gab.
Social networking apps on the Play Store “need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people,” Google stated in a statement.
This rule is “clearly stated” in its developer policies. Additionally, if the issue is addressed, developers can appeal the suspension of their app.
In the past, Torba has stated that Gab will “not police what is hate speech and what isn’t,” which sounds like a violation of Google’s policies.
It is also forbidden to create any apps that “advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, and age; nationality; status as a veteran; sexual orientation or gender identity” under Google’s hate speech policies.
Google has previously removed offensive apps, including one that turned the Holocaust into a video game. For some reason, Gab’s app was never accepted by Apple’s App Store.
Followed by the removal, Gab tweeted a link that it claims would allow Android users to download its app without having to go through the Google Play Store.
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