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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Academic Studies Press August 11, 2022

Gab as Disseminator of Antisemitic Conspiracy Myths and Enabler of Offline Violence

  • Marc Hermann-Cohen

Abstract

While there are increasing moves by mainstream social media platforms to control far-right activity as well as the prevalence of hate speech such as antisemitism, such regulation has in turn fueled the rise of platforms dedicated to being “bastions” of free speech where regardless of its content, discourse seems completely uncontrolled-one such platform is Gab. This paper seeks to chart the rise of Gab as a location for unrestrained antisemitic conspiracy myths and to demonstrate that there is a spillover of such online discourse into real-world criminal action. In order to do so, the paper’s aims are fourfold: to overview current research on online antisemitism and the role of Gab in it; it will look at cases where online hate was taken offline; it will examine what makes the role of Gab unique in this regard and how conspiracy theories find an open house there; and it will examine the Gab Dissenter, a browser extension that facilitates the circumvention of normal moderation. Ultimately, the paper strives to answer whether Gab serves as an enabler for offline antisemitic violence by allowing and even inviting conspiracy theories on its platform.

Published Online: 2022-08-11
Published in Print: 2022-03-01

© 2022 by Academic Studies Press

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