JOSE, Calif. — Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer has
been pushed offline or perhaps to the dark web by
GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare, which one by one made it
impossible for the news and commentary provider to keep
operating after it published an article that criticized
a woman who died during last weekend’s violent
protests in Charlottesville, Va.
the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning of the
dangers of censoring speech, no matter how horrendous or
fair-minded people must stand against the hateful
violence and aggression that seems to be growing across
our country," the San Francisco-based online
advocacy group said in a blog post Thursday. "But
we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic
used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against
others, including people whose opinions we agree
example, the EFF mentioned that some people want to
label Black Lives Matter as a hate group, and that the
NAACP has been a target since the Civil Rights era.
of the tech CEOs who have taken action in the wake of
the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville
have explained their moves.
as San Francisco-based Cloudflare’s CEO stripped the
Daily Stormer of its security services this week,
Matthew Prince acknowledged "no one should have
a tweeted statement Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai
said "the challenge and best response is to speak
out, to give hatred no place to fester." But he
added that "it’s often hard for people to find
common ground and to work out the best ways to counter
the swelling tide of hatred and terrorism." (Google
booted the Daily Stormer from its domain registry
earlier this week. The site had moved to Google after
being kicked out by GoDaddy.)
Apple confirmed Thursday that it is pulling Apple Pay
support from certain sites that sell white supremacist
of your political views, we must all stand together on
this one point — that we are all equal," Apple
CEO Tim Cook wrote in an email to employees this week as
he announced donations to anti-hate groups.
and crowdfunding sites also said this week that they
have cut off payment support for white supremacists and
the necessary balance between protecting the principles
of tolerance, diversity and respect for people of all
backgrounds with upholding legitimate free expression
and open dialogue can be difficult, but we do our very
best to achieve it," Franz Paasche, PayPal’s
senior vice president of Corporate Affairs &
Communications, said in a blog post Tuesday.
free-speech advocates point out the slippery slope that
is censorship, the hard questions remain as other tech
companies continue to censor and ban.
acceptable censorship, if any? If cutting off certain
groups’ money source makes freedom-lovers queasy, what
about dating site OKCupid’s banning of a white
supremacist? Or Spotify’s removal of "hate"
what about social media?
has banned white supremacists from its site. Facebook
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post this week that the
social network is taking down posts that promote or
celebrate hate crimes, adding that "we won’t
always be perfect."
hard questions vex the offline world, too. The ACLU,
which has historically supported the First Amendment
rights of hate groups, said this week — after the
violence at Charlottesville — that it is changing its
stance when such groups seek to march or protest while
armed. The Virginia branch of the ACLU helped secure
permits for the Unite the Right march last weekend.
back to online. The EFF warns that censorship at the top
level — domains, content delivery systems — are
"most sensitive to pervasive censorship."
are free speech’s weakest links," the EFF writes.
"It’s the reason why millions of net neutrality
advocates are concerned about ISPs censoring their
feeds. Or why, when the handful of global payment
processors unite to block certain websites (like
Wikileaks) worldwide, we should be concerned."
reached Friday, Google told The Mercury News that it
would have no comment beyond this: "We are
cancelling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google
Domains for violating our terms of service."