Gab, a social media platform popular with far-right extremists, appears to have lost more than three dozen small investors in the four days since a man posted on the site, “Screw your optics, I’m going in,” and then allegedly burst into a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six others.
In the days since Gab rose to national prominence because of the violent and anti-Semitic postings made by accused shooter Robert Bowers, the site was taken down, and a count of its investors on a crowdfunding page has slowly declined.
On the website StartEngine.com, Gab is soliciting investments of at least $252 for “$4/share of Class B Non-Voting Common Stock deliverable in token form (the ‘GAB Tokens’).”
A cached image of the page shows the fundraising drive, which began on Sept. 19, had at least $1,068,484.87 from 1,279 investors as of Saturday night.
That day, as authorities and the media pored over Bowers’ online life, his postings on Gab were exposed to the wider public; they included a photo of three handguns he called his “glock family,” and a bio in which he wrote, “jews are the children of satan.”
Since then, the number of investors on Gab’s page has steadily decreased. As of Tuesday afternoon, Gab had $1,036,620.87 in investments on the site, from 1,240 people.
While the investors who’ve apparently changed their minds appear to have removed about $31,000 from company coffers, the timing of their decisions may be significant for Gab’s future fundraising efforts.
On Friday, the day before the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, StartEngine posted on the page that Gab had met its fundraising goal of $1,070,000, meaning it would have access to the newly-raised funds. It is not clear if the sudden drop in investments below that threshold will affect Gab’s access to the money.
Emails and phone calls to StartEngine representatives on Monday and Tuesday were not returned. Attempts to contact Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, were unsuccessful.
Gab launched in 2016 as an alternative to larger social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, which the company claims in an SEC filing “continue to crack down on ‘objectionable content'” and “censor conservative views.” In the same SEC filing Gab highlights the users of “conservative, libertarian, nationalist, and populist” sites, such as Breitbart, Infowars and Drudge Report, as its target market.
The company, which during a separate crowdfunding campaign in 2017 managed to raise more than $1 million, currently lists its corporate address with the SEC as being in an Austin, Texas apartment complex. But in filings in January, March and June this year Gab listed an address on Market Street in Philadelphia. The address is home to a location of the shared workspace company WeWork. A representative of WeWork said Gab never rented space there, but Torba was briefly a “member,” without an office, at the location.
Source: Read Full Article