Gab CEO Andrew Torba said the platform saw a 40% increase in traffic during the riot that killed five people and resulted in dozens of arrests, according to NPR..
Torba founded the company in 2016 and promoted it as a platform for free speech. Gab is frequented by far-right activists, according to Business Insider. The website is similar to Twitter and includes a main feed and crawl area.
Earlier on Saturday, the platform tweeted that it gained over 10,000 users in an hour and received 12 million visits in 12 hours, according to Insider.
The increase in engagement on Gab comes after videos were posted to the platform on Wednesday of rioters breaking into the Capitol and chatting with each other to find Vice President Pence during the security breach, according to one. New York Times report.
The Times reported that users involved in the violent attack on Capitol Hill have spoken to Gab about where to meet and which streets to take to avoid the police.
However, Torba, in a statement later Wednesday, responded to the Times report, stating that, « [W]We do not preemptively scan user content for criminal material, ”Torba said. “Before the Capitol was occupied by demonstrators, we had no idea what would result from today’s protests in Washington”
“The majority of our users use Gab on desktop devices, which obviously aren’t easy to bring and use at a protest,” Torba said.
Talking, TheDonald and MeWe are other websites that have seen an increase in traffic since election night in November. These social platforms have minimal content moderation compared to apps like Twitter and Facebook.
A crowd of President Trump supporters marched on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to end the certification of the president-elect by Congress Joe BidenJudge Joe BidenUS blocks Trump administration restrictions on asylum eligibility McConnell circulates proceedings for Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial Senior Trump official cancels and then re-issues resignation letter to say leaving is a protest PLUSVictory of the Electoral College.
Crowds violated Capitol Hill security, smashed windows and vandalized lawmakers’ offices. The violation also prompted lawmakers, media and staff to evacuate House and Senate floors and seek refuge in unknown locations.
Supporters for the president have pondered on various platforms the possibility of violence on Capitol Hill ahead of Wednesday’s attacks. Articles on websites such as Speak were replete with articles about the storming of the Capitol.
In the wake of Wednesday’s riots, Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter after determining that his posts presented “the risk of further incitement to violence.”