The story on Gab and Mastodon:
"After crowdfunding millions of dollars... Gab abandoned its own code and switched to ... Mastodon software in early 2019 as a way of circumventing Google’s and Apple’s ban..."
Mastodon's AGPLv3 opensource license allows this, of course, but there are conditions, which Gab then broke until JoinMastodon "sent a Cease & Desist letter".
Moreover, "Mastodon’s decentralized approach ... enabled marginalized communities to create safe spaces for themselves where previously they were reliant on big companies" so many Mastodon instances blocked the Gab instance, while joinmastodon "introduced a more strict policy for which Mastodon servers we promote through our official website joinmastodon.org".
This is how free speech should work. Yes, you are free to speak. And we are free to ignore you.
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See also: Fediverse