Microsoft has threatened to cease hosting services for the alt-right social network Gab over two anti-Semitic posts, according to an email published by Gab founder Andrew Torba. The email claims the posts violate Microsoft policy and requests that Gab promptly take appropriate action to resolve the complaint…within two business days or hosting service will be suspended. If Gab is forced off Azure, Torba says service will go down for weeks/months as the company secures a new provider. The named posts were written by Patrick Little, a Senate candidate who was ejected from a GOP convention in May for anti-Semitic views. The named posts, which are more than three weeks old, also express intense anti-Semitism and meet any reasonable definition of hate speech. Little has pledged to remove the posts, but described the complaint as a violation of our rights as Americans. As of press time, the posts were still live on Gab. Gab did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Microsoft said it received a third-party complaint about the content, and concluded that it incited violence and was in violation of Azures acceptable use policy. We believe we have an important responsibility to ensure that our services are not abused by people and groups seeking to incite violence, a spokesperson said. Gab.ai is of course free to choose otherwise and work with another cloud service provider or host this content itself. BREAKING: Gabs hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, has given us 48 hours to take action on two posts or they will pull our service and Gab will go down for weeks/months. Founded as an alt-right alternative for users who were banned by Twitter and Facebook, Gab has long struggled to maintain infrastructure partners in the face of persistent hate speech complaints. Gabs apps have been dropped from both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, making the service largely unavailable on mobile devices. (The Google ban was the subject of an antitrust complaint.) In 2017, Gab was nearly dropped by its domain registrar over a series of posts that violated the providers hate speech policy. Gab subsequently banned the user, arguing the posts constituted a credible threat of violence. In the email posted by Torba, Microsoft named two posts as containing phishing URLs, although nothing in the posts themselves supports that claim. Microsoft has maintained a policy against hate speech since 2016, and it encourages users to report any content on Microsoft-hosted services that advocates violence or promotes hatred based on...race. Update 3:23PM ET: Updated with comment from a Microsoft spokesperson.
The original poster, a California Senate candidate, voluntarily deleted them. After Milo Yiannopoulos got banned from Twitter, he and his followers moved to Gab, a social network priding itself on free speech that has become popular with conservatives and the alt-right. But it appears the platform's hosting provider Microsoft Azure isn't okay with the most extreme views appearing on Gab. Today, the tech giant gave the site two days to pull two posts with anti-Semitic content or it would stop serving it, which could have taken Gab down for weeks or months. They were soon deleted by the individual who made the posts: Far-right Senate candidate Patrick Little. BREAKING: Gab's hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, has given us 48 hours to take action on two posts or they will pull our service and Gab will go down for weeks/months. In the statement provided to Gab (in the above tweet), Microsoft noted that the Azure Safeguards team "received a complaint of malicious activity originating from your Azure deployment(s)." Curiously, Microsoft headlined its complaint "Phishing URLs," which Gab inquired about in its response, given that it was the posts' offensive content that drew attention. Little, who was booted from the California GOP convention for his public anti-Semitic and white supremacist views, reportedly included threats to physically harm Jewish people and destroy a Holocaust memorial in his now-deleted Gab messages. "Microsoft received a complaint about specific posts on Gab.ai that advocate 'ritual death by torture' and the 'complete eradication' of all Jews. After an initial review, we have concluded that this content incites violence, is not protected by the First Amendment, and violates Microsoft Azure's acceptable use policy," Microsoft said in a statement provided to The Hill.