By using this service and related content, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics, personalised content and ads.
You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

From Facebook to Uber: How Silicon Valley is taking on white supremacists after Charlottesville

International Business Times logo International Business Times 17/08/2017 Hyacinth Mascarenhas
Replay Video
UP NEXT
1
Cancel
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Watch: Neo-Nazi website struggles to stay online (Wochit News)

In the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protests, some of the world's biggest tech firms are aggressively cracking down on hateful content and the use of their platforms and services by far-right, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, was among those killed after a man drove his car directly into a crowd of counter-protesters. Notorious neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer later published a defamatory article calling her a "fat, childless...s***" that was widely shared online.

In response, The Daily Stormer's web host, GoDaddy said the site "crossed the line" and refused to host it, accusing it of violating its terms of service. The company then went to Google who in turn promptly banned them from using their service and removed its YouTube page as well. Email provider Zoho also blocked the website for violating its terms and conditions.

Mark Zuckerberg © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg

In recent months, tech companies have come in for fierce criticism over the use of their platforms by terrorists and extremists for communications, propaganda, recruitment and hateful content.

Following the violent clashes in Charlottesville, many critics also slammed US President Donald Trump for failing to outright condemn white supremacists for the violence and his insistence that "both sides" were at fault. Several tech CEOs also addressed Trump's remarks in their own response to the incident.

Here's a list of the numerous technology firms that have responded to white supremacist groups on their platforms:

Apple

Apple has begun pulling Apple Pay support from several websites that sell white supremacist and Nazi-themed apparel and merchandise following this weekend's events, Buzzfeed reports. An Apple spokesperson referred the media outlet to the iPhone maker's guidelines for Apple Pay that state users may not incorporate its service into a website that "promotes hate, violence, or intolerance based on race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation".

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook rejected Trump's remarks on Charlottesville saying he "disagreed" with the president and others who believe there is a "moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazi, and those who oppose them".

He added that Apple will be making contributions of $1m (£777,300) each to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League. The company will also match employee donations to these organisations and other human rights groups two-for-one until 30 September. He added that Apple will soon offer users a way to contribute to the SPLC via iTunes soon.

CloudFlare

Internet firm Cloudflare said it has terminated The Daily Stormer's account and booted the site from its DDoS protection service, leaving it vulnerable to cyberattacks.

"We've taken measures to ensure that they cannot sign up for Cloudflare's services ever again," Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post. "The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology.

"Like a lot of people, we've felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare."

Discord

Dubbed the "Skype for gamers", popular voice and text chat app Discord shut down a major alt-right server and banned several large alt-right accounts that associated with the events in Charlottesville.

"Discord was built to bring people together through a love of gaming and our mission is to connect positive communities who share this appreciation," Discord CMO Eros Resmini said in a statement. "We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, neonazism, or any other group, term, ideology that is based on these beliefs. They are not welcome on Discord."

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant is "watching the situation closely" and has pledged to take down threats of harm from its site. The Facebook founder and CEO broke his silence days after the "Unite the Right" rally used a Facebook event to attract attendees.

"There is no place for hate in our community," Zuckerberg write in a Facebook post. "That's why we've always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism – including what happened in Charlottesville.

"It's a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong - as if this is somehow not obvious. My thoughts are with the victims of hate around the world, and everyone who has the courage to stand up to it every day."

The company has also been banning the Facebook and Instagram accounts of several white nationalist and neo-Nazi accounts and pages, including that of Christopher Cantwell.

GoFundMe

The platform said it is banning any fundraising efforts on behalf of James Fields, who allegedly plowed his car into protesters at the Charlottesville rally on Saturday.

"Those campaigns did not raise any money and they were immediately removed," Bobby Whithorne, director of strategic communications at GoFundMe, told Reuters. The company will continue to take down any similar campaigns in the future as well.

MailChimp

MailChimp said it has updated its own terms and conditions to emphasise that sending hateful content through its platform is prohibited.

PayPal

PayPal has blocked payments to several white supremacist accounts, including that of white supremacist Richard Spencer's National Policy Institute, following fierce criticism that participants in the violent rally had used its popular online payment platform to raise money.

"Regardless of the individual or organisation in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance," PayPal said in a statement. "This includes organisations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups."

Reddit

Reddit has banned numerous hate groups after the attack and the subreddit /r/Physical_Removal which openly called for the return of segregation and murder of liberals.

Spotify

Spotify has removed multiple white supremacist bands from its service in America and said it will remove "hate music" by such musicians from its streaming library. The decision came after Digital Music News published a story of 37 white supremacist bands whose music could still be found on Spotify. These bands were first highlighted by the SPLC in 2014.

Twitter

Having come under fire over the spread of vitriol, hate speech and cyberbullying on its platform, Twitter has begun shutting down a number of white supremacist accounts linked to Daily Stormer.

Uber

Uber permanently banned white supremacist James Allsup from using its ride-hailing platform after a driver in Washington kicked him out of her car for allegedly making racist comments.

"We've reached out to the driver to make sure she's okay, and express our support for her and how she handled this situation. The rider has been permanently removed from our platform," Uber said in a statement to BuzzFeed.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From International Business Times

International Business Times
International Business Times
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon