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Google Explains Why It Banned the App For Gab, a Right-Wing Twitter Rival (arstechnica.com) 530

AmiMoJo shares a report from Ars Technica: When right-wing trolls and outright racists get kicked off of Twitter, they often move to Gab, a right-wing Twitter competitor. Gab was founded by Andrew Torba, who says it's devoted to unfettered free expression online. The site also hosts controversial right-wing figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer and Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. On Thursday, Gab said that Google had banned its Android app from the Google Play Store for violating Google's ban on hate speech. The app's main competitor, Twitter, hosts accounts like the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, yet the Twitter app is still available on the Google Play store. Apple has long had more restrictive app store policies, and it originally rejected the Gab app for allowing pornographic content to be posted on the service -- despite the fact that hardcore pornography is readily available on Twitter. In an email to Ars, Google explained its decision to remove Gab from the Play Store: "In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people. This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. Developers always have the opportunity to appeal a suspension and may have their apps reinstated if they've addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies."
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Google Explains Why It Banned the App For Gab, a Right-Wing Twitter Rival

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  • "In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people"

    Considering that Whatsapp and Telegram are both on the Play Store, who is lying, Whatapp/Telegram developers or Google?

  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @05:47PM (#55044793)

    From Dr. Strangelove:

    Admiral Randolph: Try one of these Jamaican cigars, Ambassador. They're pretty good.

    Ambassador de Sadesky: Thank you, no. I do not support the work of imperialist stooges.

    Admiral Randolph: Oh, only commie stooges, huh?

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @05:50PM (#55044817) Journal

    They can explain all they want, but the Google that claimed "A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet." cannot without contradiction ban an app from its store for the crime of _not censoring its users sufficiently_.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by budsetr ( 4952293 )
      Wait, I'm confused. Banning Nazi's is bad?? How did that happen?
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @06:46PM (#55045209)

        Wait, I'm confused. Banning Nazi's is bad??

        Yes, banning Nazis is bad. Everyone should have the right to express themselves. The First Amendment does not say "Congress shall make no law respecting abridging the freedom of speech unless you are a Nazi". In addition to the principle of freedom of expression, there is also the practical argument: Sunlight is a good disinfectant. It is better for extremism to be discussed and confronted openly rather than festering in the shadows.

        "The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." --H. L. Mencken

        If you oppose what the Nazis stand for, then you should support their right to speak.

      • by William Baric ( 256345 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @06:59PM (#55045261)

        It became bad when I started to classify everyone who does not adhere to my ideology and my moral values as a Nazi. Oh, and since I'm pretty sure you will not adhere to my ideology and my moral values, it means you are a Nazi, and therefore you should not be allowed to speak. We live in a very sad world when people like you can express their opinions.

        Seriously, when did people forget that we must allow everyone to speak, including Marxists and Nazis, in order to explain to them why they are wrong (or to realize why we are wrong)? When did people forget that if people can't speak, their only solution will be to use violence?

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Kohath ( 38547 )

          when did people forget that we must allow everyone to speak, including Marxists and Nazis, in order to explain to them why they are wrong (or to realize why we are wrong)?

          The people in question never believed that. That stuff was just a sales pitch -- a pretend argument for use only when it was beneficial. They have power now, so shut up.

          When did people forget that if people can't speak, their only solution will be to use violence?

          Violence is their goal. Look what it got them this week.

      • Wait, I'm confused. Banning Nazi's is bad?? How did that happen?

        First they came for the Nazis, blah blah blah. And before anyone cries out "slippery slope fallacy!", it's not a slippery slope: banning speech because it's socially unacceptable is banning speed because it's socially unacceptable. There's no slope, just a flat level field.

        I'm sure someone's also going to point out "free speech only applies to the government!" Legally, yes, Google has the ability to ban whatever it wants. The question is a moral one, not a legal one, although sometime soon there absolutely

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        A "free and open Internet" means not banning for disagreement. Enjoy seeing exactly what Google allows you to see and never anything else. You didn't really want to choose for yourself anyway.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @07:11PM (#55045319) Homepage Journal

      Sure it can. They aren't preventing people from using the app on their phones, they just aren't carrying it in their store.

      It's like saying Barnes and Noble is against free speech because they don't stock every book in print.

    • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @08:08PM (#55045619)
      OK, rather burn a mod point and not be able to comment, I'll comment. You are falling into the classic trap of "purity". By your measure, child porn - to use another extreme example - would be allowed. Likewise, ISIS beheading and recruiting videos... In the same way that I have the freedom to travel within America (leaving aside the 100-mile Customs area) at will, there are limits on routes, maximum speeds, seat-belt requirements, etc. to which I must adhere. According to your logic, any of those limits are "OH NO! My FREEDOM is GONE!!". Very stupid, mate.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      The Internet is just as free and open as ever. What Google decides to put in their store or not has nothing to do with the Internet. The Internet is at risk of not being free and open from the same right wing nutjobs who vote for people who are actively trying to make the Internet only for the rich (via breaking net neutrality).
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @05:53PM (#55044857)

    Yeah, that's shitty PC Ars Technica reporting all right.

  • The site also hosts controversial right-wing figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer and Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer.

    Sounds like the place you wanna be on a Friday night.

  • Fascism (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Fascism is characterized by "forcible suppression of opposition".

    First Google fires a guy who brings up the fact that they are suppressing opposite views. Now they kill off an app for a site with opposite views.

    Yup, Google is fascist.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @06:08PM (#55044961)

    As long as it's hate directed towards conservatives, twitter is perfectly ok with it. Death threats, rape threats, misogyny, racism, bigotry, and so on is perfectly ok as long as it's against the "right people."

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday August 18, 2017 @06:13PM (#55044981) Homepage Journal

    Twitter was running #AssainateTrump same day Google pulled gab. And Gab is not the dark web google pretends it is. Gab bans child porn, doxing, criminal activity,

    Saying gab has "sufficient level of moderation" isn't fooling anyone, it's some of the people using Gab Google doesn't like. But those people are everywhere.

    Twitter hosts ISIS and other offensive speech and that's allowed in its TOS.
    Facebook has kill Isreali groups, kill Republican groups, kill police groups.
    Cloudflare protecting over 40 ISIS accounts according to Anonymous.
    Google youtube pushing violent TYT on its trending page and specifically demonizing FCC approved content like Louder with Crowder and restricting PragerU (and many other non-left groups)

    Silicon Valley pretending one groups offensive speech is acceptable and other isn't is hypocritical. This is political.

    Same goes with not calling out ALT-LEFT violence. This is an ideology war, left vs right. Silicon Valley is just picking its side.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Facebook has kill Isreali groups, kill Republican groups, kill police groups. Has anyone actually killed Republicans or police because they were egged on by Facebook groups? (Notice I left out the "kill Isreali groups", since I'm pretty sure those groups ARE complicit in murder) It's still not up to the level the Nazi's did, 11+ million non-combatants. I'm not saying that advocating murder of any group is a good thing, but equating a FB group at the same level as people who fly the Nazi flag and are proud
      • I feel the same way about the Confederate flag too. People died defending the Old Glory against that flag of the traitors. People who fly confederate flags, support that flag are traitors of the USA. Confederates are traitors. High time we stop using Benedict Arnold as the archetype of traitor and use Robert E Lee. After all Benedict Arnold did not kill any American. Lee did.
      • by _KiTA_ ( 241027 )

        Facebook has kill Isreali groups, kill Republican groups, kill police groups. Has anyone actually killed Republicans or police because they were egged on by Facebook groups?

        Well, there was that group of Alt-Left BLM members that livestreamed a racist kidnapping and torture of a special needs white man on Facebook.

        And there are alt-left groups online that Micah Johnson were in that may have radicalized him enough to kill those 5 cops in Dallas.

        But I don't know of a smoking gun as of yet, no.

        But I do take issue with this:

        Flying the Nazi flag at a march is "aiding and abetting" an actual enemy of the USA that millions of Americans died defeating.

        No, it isn't. The original Nazis are nearly a century gone. Anyone flying the flag now is just a tryhard LARPer who is doing it to upset people. And it wasn'

  • They added "zero" users in Q2. Now, it seems they measure in "millions of users", so they might have added under one million, I don't know. They did get 9M in Q1, which is their highest since Q1 2015...far better than q4 2015 when they actually lost 2M. Still, out of the estimated 4.77 BILLION mobile phone owners in 2017 [statista.com], A HREF="https://www.statista.com/statistics/282087/number-of-monthly-active-twitter-users/">328 million users isn't even hitting 10%. Facebook is at 2 billion [statista.com].
  • Just move it to the iTunes app store.
  • "I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?' "
    -Mike Godwin - Electronic Freedom Foundation

    The above quote has been on the Freenet Project [freenetproject.org] Page since it's inception in 2000. I find it disturbing that it's starting to come true.

  • Or perhaps you prefer #PresidentTweety's "many sides"? Let me address both:

    Two sides: Good versus non-good

    Many sides: Good versus bad versus unknown

    Now how does that apply to apps on Google Play? What unifies that application with discussions on Slashdot?

    If people knew the reputation of the app, then good people would not choose to download or use apps with bad reputations. There are actually two obvious ways that this applies to Android apps. One is the personal reputation of the developers, and the other

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @10:40AM (#55048113) Homepage

    So if I make a social media app, and KKK and Nazi members start using it, my app gets banned? How far will they take that? What if they start using MineCraft?

    So first we start by blocking White Supremist groups. Then what? Will we start silencing people who want to keep the Robert E. Lee statues next? Then maybe we will go "Oh, there were lots of Christians in the south so let us silence them." This is a dangerous slope and we, as a nation, vowed not to do this. I don't like their position, but we cannot silence them. The best way to silence idiotic racist ideas is to let them be heard, and let their own words be used against them. If we force them into a dark web, they will fester there like a virus and we will only see them when they rise up against us.

    I remind everyone of the words on the Holocaust memorial [wikipedia.org]:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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