ADL: US Justice Dept. to investigate Gab for possible criminal liability

The violent storming of the Capitol on January 6 was not a constitutionally protected act, it was a dangerous criminal activity with no precedent in American history.

Pro-Trump protesters storm into the US Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress, in Washington, US, January 6, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
Pro-Trump protesters storm into the US Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress, in Washington, US, January 6, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has asked the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch a criminal investigation into the social media platform Gab and its CEO Andrew Torba to see if it was used intentionally to assist those who laid siege to the Capitol.
Gab is generally considered to be a social media platform that is widely used by extremists and white nationalists.
"The January 6 attack on the US Capitol was perhaps one of the darkest days in American history, but it also was a deliberate and coordinated criminal act,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “In addition to holding individuals who broke the law accountable, the authorities must fully determine whether social media platforms, particularly Gab, bear a measure of responsibility for the attack as well.”
In an open letter to the Justice Department, the ADL had a list of actions of information that was used on the platform before, during and after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. It believes these actions were aided by the platform and therefore the platform violated federal criminal law.
The ADL put special emphasis on a post from Torba that encouraged users to provide uncensored footage during the riot. At least one of the reports stated that information was exchanged on the platform about which routes to take in order to avoid police and what tools to bring in order to pry open doors.
Social media platforms may enjoy immunity from liability according to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. However, in the ADL's open letter, it states that Gab should not be protected under this section because it aided and abetted in actions that broke federal law and therefore immunity does not apply.
There are other platforms such as Parler and the website thedonald.win that may have also provided assistance to the rioters at the Capitol. The ADL has also called for criminal investigations into those sites and any others that may have provided assistance to the Capitol rioters.
“The violent storming of the Capitol on January 6 was not a constitutionally protected act, it was a dangerous criminal activity with no precedent in American history," Greenblatt said. "Tragically, there were several fatalities, including Officer Brian Sicknick who was murdered in cold blood.
“If Gab or any platform intentionally facilitated such unlawful conduct, it itself may have engaged in criminal acts for which it should be held accountable.”