Whether you are an advocate of an unequivocal freedom of speech or you think that some sense of accountability must be there among news and media publications, one thing is clear, the shutting down of gawker.com is a turning point in the history of online publishing.
Many believe, especially in the top rungs of gawker.com that is shutting down, it was a personal vendetta carried out by the billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Even if it is a case of personal vendetta, it sets a precedent for such future scenarios where publications are held accountable and hence, made to pay, for invading the privacy of individuals whether they are common citizens or celebrities.
Gawker.com will not be shutting down in the sense that you will encounter an error when you visit the link, all the old content will be archived. New content won’t be added.
Gawker.com was founded in 2003 as one of Gawker Media’s first two blogs, mostly covering gossip about the New York media and society. It was known for its, the so-called, “brash journalism”, which on the Internet usually means writing and publishing whatever you feel like and using whatever language you feel like. Many conventional news publications were encouraged to adopt this new style of journalism.
The troubles for Gawker.com began when a sex tape of the wrestling legend Hulk Hogan was published on the website and the wrestler sued the website for USD 135 million with the help of Peter Thiel. The promoters of the website claim that Peter Thiel, more than wanting to help Hulk Hogan, is carrying out his own personal vendetta against some of the employees of Gawker.com, forcing the publication to shut down eventually. Publications like Vox differ; this link says that Gawker’s sensationalist journalism brought about its own downfall.