GoDaddy is now getting plaudits for dumping The Stormer, the neo-Nazi periodical, as a web hosting client.
That was just the start. Zoho, the group’s email service provider, has also told The Daily Stormer to get lost.
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that The Daily Stormer has violated Zoho's Terms of Service, so effective immediately The Daily Stormer's access to Zoho's services has been terminated," Zoho said in an email, Motherboard reports.
And SendGrid has cancelled The Daily Stormer’s email newsletter service, according to TechCrunch.
SendGrid “responded to an emailed complaint by entrepreneur Ryan Block saying it has suspended The Daily Stormer’s account “in light of recent events,” TechCrunch writes.
A SendGrid spokesperson confirmed that the firm banned the account late yesterday, but was unable to provide further comment at this time. Zoho had not responded to a query at deadline.
Finally, Google has also rejected The Daily Stormer as a client. “The neo-Nazi website tried Monday to move its domain to Google, which also quickly dropped it as a customer for violating its terms of service,” Motherboard writes.
All this follows the wanton killing of Heather Heyer during white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. And it seems to be a part of a general renunciation of hatred by Silicon Valley.
“There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed this weekend in Virginia provoked by white nationalists,” said Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft, in a memo to employees, according to The Verge.
Facebook apparently agrees: It has taken down a blog post attacking the slain Heather Heyer. The hateful post had been shared more than 65,000 times on Facebook, The Verge reports.
Meanwhile, an online service vendor is on the hot seat for another reason: Web hosting provider Dream/Host is fighting a Department of Justice search warrant for records on disruptj20.org, a web site that organized anti-Trump protests in January, according to CNN.
We live in a dangerous time, and it’s great to see people rising up against hate. But let’s not get too warm and fuzzy about these actions by service providers.
First, you have to wonder: Why did they accept the Daily Stormer as a client in the first place? Did it take a tragedy like the one in Charlottesville to wake them up?
In general, Nazis have been spewing hatred of Jews, African Americans, Hispanics and Muslims, in no particular order, for years. And they are famous for it on the Internet.
But this leads to another question: Should a service vendor be responsible for a client’s hateful content, absent an actual crime?
Hate groups may be inconvenienced by losing their web privileges. But they won’t be shut down by it: Someone will agree to host them.
Indeed, Cloudflare, a provider of web security services, continues to serve The Daily Stormer despite finding its content “repugnant,” according to MotherBoard.
"Cloudflare terminating any user would not remove their content from the internet, it would simply make a site slower and more vulnerable to attack," the company said, Motherboard continues.
Beyond that, would it be fair for a supplier to enforce their own political views and take down even a moderate conservative or liberal commentator?
As the great journalist A.J. Liebling noted, freedom of the press belongs to the people who own one.
This is a serious issue at a time when brands are being boycotted by political zealots on both sides.
Finally, what would Zoho or GoDaddy do if the government demanded information on The Daily Stormer: Would they provide it, or would they refuse on principle, like DreamHost is apparently doing in the case of disruptj20.org?
We’re grateful to the vendors who decided there was no place for hate in their domains. They deserve our congratulations.
But the story is hardly over. Brace yourself for a welter of protests — and probably more senseless violence.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL AFTER STORY WAS POSTED:
Zoho confirmed on Wednesday that it had terminated the Daily Stormer's access to Zoho services. The company's official comment states: "We believe that The Daily Stormer has violated Zoho’s Terms of Service, so its access to Zoho’s services has been terminated."