Namecheap pulls the plug on neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer

21 August, 2017, 13:44 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Protestors rally against white supremacy and racism in New York City’s Columbus Circle. Drew Angerer  Getty Images

CloudFlare, which protects some 6 million websites from denial-of-service attacks and hacking, on Wednesday afternoon dropped coverage of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

Burlington appears on the map emblazoned with a swastika, indicating the presence of a neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince had some choice words for the site and in a blog, explained why he made a decision to dump Daily Stormer. "But we got this", he said.

"Over the course of the next few months, there was just a series of other events that caused them to be a massive distraction to us and our team", he said. "Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided that someone shouldn't be allowed on the internet", Cloudflare's CEO said.

"I realized there was no way we were going to have that conversation with people calling us Nazis", Prince said.

As well as GoDaddy and Google's moves to cut off The Daily Stormer site, Facebook has deleted links to the article attacking Heyer. A poster for the website, Andrew "weev" Auernheimer later wrote on his Gab account that The Daily Stormer's Twitter account had been suspended.

The Daily Stormer, which helped organise last weekend's rally that led to deadly clashes with counter-demonstrators, was dropped by its U.S. service providers earlier this week.

Cloudflare's chief executive Matthew Prince explained his reasoning for shutting down the protective service in a blog, and he admitted he had struggled with the "dangerous decision". No one should have that power.

"Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected". And they have concluded that they can simply take on hate speech, white supremacists and neo-Nazis by doing a simple thing: deny them a platform, or refuse to provide services to such organizations.

"After today, make no mistake", Prince said, "it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don't like". Stripping that protection would in effect make it impossible for the site to operate, as it's a target for groups wanting to knock it offline.

At first, President Donald Trump's comments following the Charlottesville tragedy prompted company CEOs who were involved with the president's business councils to turn their backs on the administration.

In a post on Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) agreed that the decision by Prince was risky, and "that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with". On Twitter, Spencer re-tweeted someone calling for "alt-right" versions of Cloudflare, Squarespace, DNS hosts, and PayPal, which has also cracked down on white nationalist accounts.

Those companies have followed the lead of Airbnb, which was more proactive than reactive as late last week, the company cancelled accounts of users tied to the "Unite the Right" march access to its online accommodation and room-sharing service.

A company colleague noted the import of Prince's move against the neo-Nazi site.

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