Gab CEO Andrew Torba also used a transphobic slur for those attacking the site.
Torba tweeted Sunday that “my account and [Donald] Trump’s have been compromised.” He vowed that “the entire company is all hands investigating what happened and working to trace and patch the problem.”
The transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) announced that it had acquired more than 70 gigabytes of data from the platform from an operation it labeled “GabLeaks,” Wired was the first to report Sunday.
A hacker or hackers known as “JaXpArO (they/them) and My Little Anonymous Revival Project” launched the attack to expose the identities and posts of people using the site, according to DDoSecrets, which is a WikiLeaks-style website that provides a platform for leaked information.
Gab users are known to include large numbers of QAnon conspiracy theorists, promoters of the “big lie” that Trump won the presidential election and rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Gab surged in popularity in January after competing right-wing social media platform Parler lost its spot on the internet when it was bumped off Amazon’s web hosting service.
The information will be made available to select researchers and journalists, according to DDoSecrets.
It’s a “gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon, and everything surrounding January 6,” DDOSecrets co-founder Emma Best said in a text message interview with Wired, which examined some of the information.
The material not only includes public posts and profiles but also posts from private-group and personal accounts, according to Best.
“It contains pretty much everything on Gab, including user data and private posts, everything someone needs to run a nearly complete analysis on Gab users and content,” she added.
After Wired first contacted Torba for a response Friday, he initially called it an “alleged data breach” in a statement posted to the company website. He also accused “reporters” (he didn’t mention Wired) who asked him about the breach of “assisting” the hacker, which Wired denied. DDoSecrets called the accusation “entirely false.”
Torba reassured users in his statement that Gab doesn’t maintain significant amounts of personal information and that just about every social media site gets hacked from time to time.