When I got my hands on the Gab data, the first thing I did was look up Trump’s account. GAB, THE FAR-RIGHT social network that’s known as a safe space for hate speech, QAnon believers, Trump election fraud conspiracists, and white supremacist terrorists, was hacked pretty badly. The site exploded in popularity after the January 6 insurrection when Amazon kicked Parler, another social network used by right-wing extremists, offline, which caused Gab’s user base to explode from about 1 million users to roughly 4 million. The hacker made off with the email addresses and encrypted passwords of all 4 million of the site’s users and the content of more than 39 million posts, including everything posted to 7,632 private groups, and leaked them to the radical transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets. On Monday, DDoSecrets released the nearly 70 gigabytes of hacked data to journalists and researchers. Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba has falsely accused DDoSecrets of hacking Gab — a source provided DDoSecrets with the data, they didn’t hack it themselves — and then used an anti-trans slur when posting about the group. Former President Donald Trump’s verified Gab account was among those that were compromised (though the account’s description says it’s “reserved” for Trump, and Torba has stated that Trump himself doesn’t use it). When I got my hands on the Gab data, the first thing I did was look up Trump’s account, and the first thing I noticed was the email address associated with it: [email protected]. Why was Trump using this obscure email address, and what is Kuhcoon? It turns out that Torba, the current CEO of Gab, is the former CEO and founder of Kuhcoon (later renamed Automate Ads, and acquired by AdHawk in 2017), a tech startup that offered automated Facebook ad campaigns. According to a 2015 interview, Torba started Kuhcoon in 2011 with his college roommate. The company received venture capital backing from Y Combinator in 2014; in August 2016, Torba stepped down as CEO, and he, along with his co-worker Ekrem Büyükkaya, founded Gab.