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Internet services face new pressure to crack down on extremist sites

Companies that quietly support the infrastructure of the internet are under new political pressure. Tony Dejak/AP

The services that help form an unofficial backbone for the internet are facing pressure to stop working with certain sites tied to extremism — a sign of the growing tension between the demands to crack down on content linked to violence and the internet's tradition of openness.

The Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit that focuses in part on disrupting extremist recruitment online, says in letters to Cloudflare, WordPress parent Automattic and GoDaddy that the companies should stop providing services to sites associated with terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Axios got an early look at the letters, which were sent this week.

Why it matters: These are three members of a club of companies that can, effectively, decide whether someone gets to host a website.