Several right-wing extremist websites and accounts that amplify bigotry were apparently hacked or denied service on various platforms in the wake of the race-fueled fatal white supremacist march this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Daily Stormer, 4chan's Twitter accounts, and Richard Spencer's website were among those hacked or denied service.
GoDaddy, the world’s largest seller of domain names on the internet, said on Sunday that it would no longer provide service to The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi and white supremacist website. The company has been criticized for providing services to white supremacist websites despite its terms of service, which ban “morally offensive activity.”
The action was taken after The Daily Stormer posted an offensive article about Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, who was killed after a car drove into a group of protestors following the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.
“Given that [The Daily Stormer’s] latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service,” a GoDaddy spokesperson said. The company clarified that it does not host any Daily Stormer content on its servers but merely provided the domain name.
GoDaddy also appeared to drop the domain privacy protection for the Daily Stormer website, according to one Twitter user.
Shortly after GoDaddy announced its decision, the Daily Stormer website appeared to be under the control of the hacker group Anonymous. On Saturday, the group urged its followers to hack alt-right and white supremacist sites as part of what it called #OpDomesticTerrorism.
After being rejected by GoDaddy, the Daily Stormer was briefly hosted by Google — until the company also shut the site down.
"The Stormer registered this morning with google domains and were immediately reviewed and suspended for Inciting violence," a source told BuzzFeed News about Google's decision.
The Daily Stormer's YouTube account has also been terminated "due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech," according to a message now displayed on the page.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to The Daily Stormer for comment.
On Monday, a major Anonymous twitter account, @youranonnews, said that they had no confirmation that Anonymous was behind the Daily Stormer hack and suggested that it was a stunt by the website itself to "woo their clueless base."
Earlier, the Twitter account had claimed that the campaign had taken down other white nationalist and alt-right websites, including Richard Spencer's Altright.com. (The site appears to now be online forwarding to new servers.)
On Saturday, Henrik Palmgren of Red Ice, a white supremacist multimedia platform based in Sweden with more than 130,000 subscribers on YouTube, said its website was down and that hackers were threatening to release the names of some 23,000 people with paid subscriptions to the site.
And on Monday, Twitter also appeared to shut down accounts affiliated with /pol — a 4Chan message board that has been linked to extremist beliefs — its creator said. Twitter declined to comment on individual accounts, as is its policy.
Other tech platforms made individual or blanket policy decisions after the events in Charlottesville.
Over the weekend, Facebook removed Unite the Right's event page. Facebook removes event pages when the threat of real world harm and an event’s connections with hate organizations become clear, a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
The company also removed a number of other pages since the weekend, and said the tools it uses to identify and remove hate speech are the same it's using to combat terrorism.
"Our hearts go out to the people affected by the tragic events in Charlottesville," a Facebook spokesperson said. "Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville.”
The newsletter service MailChimp announced Monday that it has updated its terms of service to ban hateful content.
And by Monday night, WordPress had suspended the site belonging to American Vanguard, one of the white supremacist groups that organized the weekend rallies in Charlottesville.
WordPress's User Guidelines prohibit illegal content and conduct as well as threatening material, including "direct and realistic threats of violence."
Over the last few months, PayPal has banned accounts of several alt-righters, and crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Patreon, and YouCaring have also cut fundraisers for white supremacy-related causes. Last week, Airbnb started deactivating accounts of people it believed were booking units to host gatherings related to the rally.
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