Following complaints about an abusive article on Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of antiracism demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, GoDaddy and Google have refused to manage the domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a website “spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism.”
Cloudflare, which provides protection to websites against attacks, also removed the Daily Stormer from its service. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince admitted that this ad hoc decision lacked a clear, transparent, consistent, and respectful procedure that could be dangerous to the future of free speech on the Internet. “I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power,” Prince wrote in an internal memo
to Cloudflare employees
Electronic Frontier Foundation warned
that these kinds of decisions produced immediate and long-term consequences: "Every time a company throws a vile neo-Nazi site off the net, thousands of less-visible decisions are made by companies with little oversight or transparency." Of course, this discussion is not new in freedom of expression and media development circles, but it’s one that requires our renewed attention.