Gab, a service that has been billed by some as the social network for the alt-right, has had its access to both Twitter and Apple cut off, the company told Inc. on Thursday.
Last week, Gab submitted its iPhone app to Apple so it could be included in the App Store, but on Wednesday, the company received a rejection from Apple, which cited pornography on Gab as its reason for the denial. Similarly, Gab on Monday added a new feature that let its users share their posts from Gab directly to Twitter, but on Wednesday night, Twitter cut off Gab's access to its application program interface, rendering the new feature useless.
"It seems like they were looking for any excuse to reject us," says Gab CEO Andrew Torba.
Gab, which is based Austin, is a social network that is similar to Twitter. The service, which uses a frog logo reminiscent of the alt-right symbol Pepe the frog, lets users share their thoughts in short micro-blogs that are published for the world to see. The company's motto is "#SpeakFreely."
But while Gab is just four months old, the social network has been quickly growing and has also become a topic of controversy.
That's because, while Twitter has been busy purging users of the so-called alt-right, which include white nationalists and white supremacists, those users have been allowed to continue roaming and speaking without restrictions on Gab.
That association has helped fuel the company's growth -- Gab serves 125,000 users with a sign-up waitlist of 400,00 users -- but that may also have cost it access to Twitter and the Apple App Store.
Torba argues that other social networks, such as Reddit and Twitter, also feature pornography on their services but have been allowed into the App Store. Apple has asked Gab to block porn by default, Torba said. Twitter, meanwhile, allows Facebook and Instagram users to share their posts onto the service, so he is not sure why Gab has been denied access.
"This is targeted, and we believe that we're being singled out," Torba said in a Periscope live stream on Thursday. "This is the nonsense from Silicon Valley. This is the monopoly and level of control that they have."
Torba said he plans to add the feature Apple has asked for and re-submit the app, but he still believes Gab has been targeted. The CEO also said that he denies the notions that Gab is merely a place for racists and those of the alt-right. Gab, he said, welcomes everyone.
"All are welcome to speak freely here," Torba said. "We're not a conservative-only social network. We're not a social network for a specific group of people. We are welcoming everybody."
Neither Twitter nor Apple have responded to requests for comment.