After Charlottesville, more web service providers ditch The Daily Stormer for TOS violations

The Daily Stormer, a U.S. white supremacist website which self-bills as “The World’s Most Genocidal Republican Website” and includes a discussion board on “Nazi lifestyle”, currently appears to be offline.

The companies that usually enable the neo-Nazi propaganda website to stay online have faced a public outcry over their continued enablement of fascistic speech in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist rally that the website helped to organize resulted in the death of anti-fascist demonstrator Heather Heyer.

Heyer was killed after a right-wing demonstrator rammed his car into the crowd, also injuring several other anti-fascist counter-protestors.

The Daily Stormer subsequently published an article celebrating Heyer’s death.

In the latest development, two more web hosting services firms have said they have terminated services to The Daily Stormer.

In a series of Twitter exchanges with critics, email newsletter services provider Sendgrid and SaaS suite provider Zoho confirmed they have terminated services to The Daily Stormer’s account.

Sendgrid also responded to an emailed complaint by entrepreneur Ryan Block saying it has suspended The Daily Stormer’s account “in light of recent events”:

Another company called out in the above thread — DreamHost — said it had not provided services to the website since 2014.

However a third company, Cloudflare, a provider of website security services including bolstering defenses against denial of service attacks and masking the identity of a site’s domain provider, is apparently continuing to provide DDoS protection services to The Daily Stormer.

Contacted by TechCrunch yesterday to ask whether it will be reconsidering its decision to provide services to The Daily Stormer in light of the violence in Charlottesville, a Cloudflare spokeswoman responded with this statement: “Cloudflare is aware of the concerns that have been raised over some sites that have used our network. We find the content on some of these sites repugnant. While our policy is to not comment on any user specifically, we are cooperating with law enforcement in any investigation.”

She also noted that the company does not provide hosting services, and said withdrawal of its service would “simply make a site slower and more vulnerable to attack”.

Yesterday The Daily Stormer’s domain provider, Go Daddy, said it was terminating its business relationship with the site — citing terms of service violations, and giving it 24 hours to move the domain to another provider.

The Daily Stormer then tried to move to Google Domains, but the company stepped in and cancelled the registration — also citing TOS violations.

Given the current offline status of The Daily Stormer it would appear it has not, as yet, been able to find an alternative domain provider.

Ahead of the violence in Charlottesville, Airbnb also deactivated accounts of multiple people associated with the white supremacist march, after learning that attendees had been booking local accommodation via its platform.

In a statement regarding this action Airbnb noted that it requires users of its platform to abide by its community standards — and those standards require equal treatment of others, regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.

Yesterday another tech firm, Discord, which provides a popular voice chat platform, responded to the violence in Charlottesville by closing accounts associated with the far right — it too cited violations of its terms of service.

Returning to Cloudflare, the company has taken a very fixed stance in the face of criticism for providing online services to extremist websites, with CEO Matthew Prince blogging in 2013 that “a website is speech. It is not a bomb”.

In 2015, facing criticism from Internet activist collective Anonymous over reportedly allowing ISIS propaganda sites on its network, Prince denied knowingly taking money from terrorist organizations.

In May this year, a ProPublica investigation into Cloudflare’s abuse reporting system led the company to amend the process — saying it would provide anonymity to complainants in certain circumstances. This was after ProPublica’s journalist had demonstrated how the prior system had resulted in the identities of people complaining about The Daily Stormer to be handed directly to The Daily Stormer.