EFF criticizes tech companies for exiling neo-Nazi website – CNET

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A digital rights organization criticized companies that effectively blocked a neo-Nazi website from publishing on the web, saying the tactics used to silence hate speech could ultimately be used against other groups.

In a blog post published on Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said decisions by GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare to revoke services to The Daily Stormer set an example of how other organizations, such as civil rights groups, could be prevented from expressing themselves in the future. 

“All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country,” the EFF wrote in its post. “But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with.”   

The three companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The EFF’s comment comes as Silicon Valley struggles to balance protecting free speech with curbing hate speech. The three companies revoked domain registration and performance services to The Stormer after it published an offensive article about Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was protesting against a white nationalist rally

The Stormer, an openly racist and anti-Semitic publication, currently can’t be found by search engines and is visible to users of the Tor browser who have its address on the dark web. 

Click to see our in-depth coverage of online hatred.

 Click to see our in-depth coverage of online hatred.

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A host of technology companies have reacted to the violence in Charlottesville, which also left 30 injured. Twitter suspended accounts related to The Stormer; Discord, a chat service for gamers, shut down several servers that white supremacists were using to communicate; Apple and PayPal disabled services to merchants glorifying white nationalism or racism; and Reddit and Facebook banned groups dedicated to hate speech. 

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