Aug 14, 2017

How the tech industry is responding to the far-right

Steve Helber/AP

Following the violence in Charlottesville this weekend, leading alt-right website The Daily Stormer published an article that suggested the woman who died during the protests was killed during a "road-rage incident" and went on to belittle her appearance. GoDaddy, the internet domain that hosts the alt-right website later kicked them off for violating their terms, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Tech platforms have been criticized by all sides for hosting extremist content. Several, including Facebook and YouTube, have taken steps to crack down on such content, only to be accused by some groups of hampering free speech — underscoring the difficult position platforms find themselves in when it comes to policing users' posts. Alt-right groups have started creating their own platforms that cater to right-wing users with fewer rules, the LA Times reports.

The bigger picture: This is just one of the recent instances of the tech industry pushing back against the far-right.

  • Reddit banned three alt-right forums, r/altright,, r/alternativeright and r/rightyfriends, due to doxxing and harassment campaigns. Reddit did not identify one instance that prompted the ban, but there was speculation that it was in response to members attempting to dox the person who punched white nationalist Richard Spencer during inauguration.
  • PayPal restricted the accounts of various people and groups that promote alt-right politics and fully banned others. They told Buzzfeed News that the site does not "allow [its] services to be used for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance."
  • GoFundMe banned top alt-right personalities, Kyle Chapman and and Tim Gionet from fundraising on their site, providing similar reasoning with PayPal earlier this year. After the events in Charlottesville, GoFundMe removed pages that were fundraising for James Fields, the man accused of driving his car into counter-protestors, Vox reports. Other crowdfunding sites, Patreon, and YouCaring, have also banned fundraisers that align with the far-right.
  • AirBnb suspended the accounts of users who attended Saturday's rally in Charlottesville and rented nearby homes from the site. The site said that they require costumers to ""accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity."
  • Twitter took down The Daily Stormer's account on Wednesday. ""The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies," a spokesperson told The Hill.
  • Spotify removed hate music that came from "white power" bands, the BBC reports. Spotify told Billboard music that they do not tolerate any "...illegal content or material that favours hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality."

Update: The Daily Stormer moved their domain registration to Google, who later cancelled the registration "...for violating our terms of service," Business Insider reports.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

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  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
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