GoDaddy and Google Give White Supremacists the Boot

In the aftermath of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, GoDaddy opted to drop domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a white supremacist hate site. When they tried to hop to Google, the internet giant also refused to serve them.

Now, the website is desperate for a new domain registrar — and we’re hoping they come up empty.

GoDaddy and Google took part in what’s known as “deplatforming,” a form of activism that makes it harder to disseminate hate speech or other harmful ideologies by blocking avenues for distribution.

While the First Amendment may protect the Daily Stormer’s right to say hateful things — including posting a screed against Heather Heyer, the IWW member who was struck and killed by a domestic terrorist at the rally – it doesn’t guarantee a place to spread this language.

Deplatforming leverages this fact, illustrating that it’s possible to strike back at hate speech while still protecting free speech.

Andrew Anglin launched The Daily Stormer in 2013, and the site draws heavily on Nazi ideology and white supremacy. Its content is loaded with conspiracy theories, hateful smears and memes.

Anglin also uses his following to attack various public figures, dispatching a “Stormer Troll Army” to harass people.

The day after Heather Heyer’s death, the Daily Stormer published a derogatory article referring to her as a “fat drain on society” and an “overweight slob with no kids.” These cutting insults are pretty much par for the course on the site, which isn’t exactly a paragon of intellectualism.

Even so, they were sufficient to provoke outrage — and prompt GoDaddy to decline to provide domain registration services for the site.

The website turned to Google in the hopes of finding a safe haven, but within hours of registering there, the Daily Stormer was once again shown the door. Encouragingly, the outlook appears bleak for this hate website, but that’s not the end of the story.

The Daily Stormer is hosted by Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based company notorious for enabling hate speech. Roughly 10 percent of global web traffic goes through the company’s servers — and it doesn’t just happily host white supremacists and other hateful people: In the past, Cloudflare was accused of turning over user records and contact information from people who filed complaints about abuse to the very people who were abusing them.

Moreover, The Daily Stormer wasn’t the only white supremacist website registered by GoDaddy. If the company is serious about deplatforming, it should conduct an audit of the sites it works with to determine whether others violate its terms of service. The site also needs to provide information about how it processes abuse reports to assure the public that it takes such reports seriously and acts on them in a timely fashion.

In the meantime, if you spot white supremacy — or any other hatred — on a GoDaddy site, you can report abuse here. Not sure where a website is hosted or who is handling the domain registration? You can look it up on ICANN, which will provide information about who registered the site, the company that handled the domain registration and the servers where it currently lives.

Take Action!

Sign this Care2 petition and urge Cloudflare to drop the Daily Stormer and deplatform hate speech.

Photo credit: Ted Eytan

43 comments

Jennifer H
Jennifer H10 days ago

Agree with David Youmans and Margaret G.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE21 days ago

Thank you

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Celine Russo
Celine Russoabout a month ago

Well Google was born from left ideology, right?

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Clare O
Clare Oabout a month ago

All forms of censorship though, hate speech one day, free Tibet supporters the next.

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heather g
heather gabout a month ago

Hate should never be promoted.

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Deborah S
Deborah Sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Rachel -
Rachel -about a month ago

Corporate censorship is happening because the government authoritarians behind the plutocrats who own these corporations know free speech on the internet threatens their rule, but they can't shut it down directly because of the 1st Amendment. Because of Google's position as the primary information gateway, a decent argument can be made that the only speech they should be allowed to block is illegal speech. Yet instead of getting behind this idea, some people applaud certain censorship by Google, which only empowers them to expand it. I disagree with that and believe the free exchange of information and ideas should be defended at all costs.

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Rachel -
Rachel -about a month ago

Mark S. "you are always welcome in my home but when you start pissing on the rug then you have to go." Yes but your home doesn't provide the primary gateway to information access in the US by carrying 92% of browser traffic.

"The New Censorship - How did Google become the internet's censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?"
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated

Ben Gomes, Google VP Engineering, blog April 2017: "...The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of 'fake news'"....blah blah blah...."Algorithms." So yeah, Google deemed itself arbiter of truth four months ago, despite not being able to define fake news - alternating between "misleading," "low quality," "offensive," and "false information." Naturally the primary focus of their algorithms is political news and opinion content - and not that it should matter, but left and progressive sites have hardly been off limits. Happy now? You're okay with Google determining what constitutes pissing on the rug?

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Margaret Goodman
Margaret Gabout a month ago

Nobody wants to live in a police state with censorship and surveillance and lack of privacy, and everybody wants security for themselves and those that they care about. Unfortunately these desires collide in the real world. I do not think that complete freedom and complete security can coexist.
My opinion is that the United States and any other country should treat all hate groups the same. But what is the definition of a hate group and what should that treatment be? We need to have a searching discussion to come up with an answer that the overwhelming majority of us can agree upon.
So far it seems to me that the treatment has been to allow the hate groups to use the Internet and to watch them.
So, do Google et al host Isis, Al Queda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, …? If they do, do they permit the United States security apparatus to monitor what goes on? My guess is that the answer to both questions is, “yes”.
And I also guess that GoDaddy permitted the NSA or whomever to monitor The Stormer.

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David Youmans
David Youmansabout a month ago

Free Speech, is a right that should be limited by harm. Should the promotion of hate against any groups of our citizens based on race or religion be considered protected free speech? Should speech intended to promote violence be protected?

The answer to these two questions should be a resounding "NO!", because these are forms of speech that only cause harm, division, and violence. The have no purpose that enlightens, unites, or in any way helps the people of this country. Their only purpose, is to cause harm.

The causing of harm to people, especially whole communities within this country, should never, ever be protected by law.

The promotion of hatred undoubtedly causes harm to many...

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