Disavowing and distancing yourself from white supremacy and neo-Nazi individuals and groups isn't hard. But until the events in Charlottesville, VA, many tech companies didn't make it a priority to remove such people and groups from their platforms. Since neo-Nazis and white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, though, leaving three dead, tech companies like Spotify, OkCupid, Google, and CloudFlare are taking a stand.
GoDaddy, which used to host the domain for neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, dropped the site from its servers earlier this week. The site then moved over to Google, only to have Google do the same. Other companies are joining in and taking similar actions, such as:
- Wordpress no longer supports Vanguard America, a white supremacist group.
- Squarespace will also stop hosting "a group of sites."
- CloudFlare, a security service for websites, announced it would stop protecting the Daily Stormer.
- PayPal won't let people or groups accept "payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance."
- Spotify is removing "hate bands" from its music streaming platform.
- OkCupid banned a white supremacist, Chris Cantwell, from its site as well. It also asked members to report "people involved in hate groups."
- Apple disabled "Apple Pay" for websites selling white nationalist and Nazi products.
- Twitter suspended the Daily Stormer's Twitter account.
- Facebook and Instagram deactivated the account for Chris Cantwell. Facebook has also taken down pages belonging to white supremacist groups.
- Before the events in Charlottesville started, Airbnb preemptively shut down accounts and bookings if they was associated with the "Unite the Right" rally.
- Discord, a chatting app, shut down a number of servers associated with the alt-right.
- GoFundMe also took down several campaigns for James A. Fields, the driver who is charged with striking and killing Heather Heyer.
However, many have pointed out that while this is a noble effort from many of these companies, some of these platforms still host other white supremacist or neo-Nazi sites, groups, and pages. In the past, while some companies may have been reticent to take action on sites like these because of free speech and First Amendment concerns, the tide appears to be changing. PayPal made it clear why it was finally time to take action: "We recognize and work to navigate the fine lines that exist in these situations, and our teams do their best to distinguish between opinion-based, offensive websites and those that go beyond opinion and discourse and violate our policies." In our opinion, it's time even more tech companies took a stand to distinguish hate speech from free speech.