WASHINGTON - The CEO of Gab, a social network favored by the US political right, said the platform had been attacked by "demon hackers" after an activist group released user data described as an important resource for research on the far right.
The activist group called DDoSecrets Collective released the data over the weekend to Wired magazine, claiming it offered "a record of the culture" related to the violent siege of the US Capitol on January 6.
The data included passwords and private messages on thousands of accounts.
Gab chief executive Andrew Torba claimed in a Twitter message Sunday that "demon hackers (I'm very serious) are attacking Gab right now," also calling members of the group "mentally ill" and using a slur to refer to them as members of the trans community.
"The same people behind this attack targeted law enforcement officers and their families last summer," Torba wrote, adding that the company was working with authorities to investigate.
The activist group denied Torba's allegations and said it would release the data to researchers and journalists.
"Our view is that data is a resource and a record," the collective said in a blog post.
A member of the collective told Wired that the data was a "gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon, and everything surrounding January 6."
The group's website said the data was "an important sociological resource" and "a record of the culture and the exact statements surrounding not only an increase in extremist views and actions, but an attempted coup."
Gab is one of several platforms which have attracted large numbers of conservatives by steering clear of the moderation efforts imposed by Facebook and Twitter, which banned former president Donald Trump and some of his supporters for inciting violence.
© Agence France-Presse