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While social media giants wrestle with their terms of use and CEOs condemn the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend some companies are actually refusing service to white supremacy groups.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter suspended The Daily Stormer accounts in the latest eviction for the neo-Nazi website as public outrage grows over a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. that turned deadly.

Anyone trying to access accounts affiliated with The Daily Stormer receives a notification that they have been suspended. The suspensions came just days after GoDaddy and Google severed ties.

Twitter declined to comment on the suspensions. In a statement it said: “The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.”

A new account @DAlLYSTORMER soon appeared on Twitter and tweeted: “Guess who’s back.” That account was then suspended, too.

The use of Internet forums by domestic hate groups has largely gone unchecked by technology companies. Twitter, in particular, has encouraged free-wheeling debate, dubbing itself the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”

But a growing backlash against the sharp rise in online vitriol has begun to force companies to take a harder look at the activities of white supremacist and neo-Nazi services that violate terms of service. Under chief executive Jack Dorsey, Twitter has pledged that “trust and safety” is among its top priorities. Twitter has cracked down on so-called “alt right” accounts in the past. 

Charlottesville underscored the crucial role online platforms play as organizational tools for hate groups, from spreading propaganda to raising funds.

Heidi Beirich, spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, says Twitter and many other technology companies are guilty of “willful neglect” when it comes to rooting out white supremacists.

“Twitter is pretty pathetic when it comes to enforcing its own terms of service,” Beirich said.

She says Twitter’s treatment of white supremacists contrasts sharply with its aggressive removal of hundreds of thousands Islamic State affiliated accounts when it came under political pressure from Congress and intelligence agencies.

“Charlottesville has definitely lit a fire under some people,” said Beirich, whose legal advocacy organization monitors hate groups. “I wonder if the violence marks a sea change.”

The popular digital payment service PayPal reiterated Tuesday night that it prohibits donations to promote hate, violence and intolerance, singling out “organizations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups.” The Southern Poverty Law Center accused PayPal of helping organizers raise money for last weekend’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

GoDaddy on Sunday booted The Daily Stormer from its web hosting service after consumers protested an article disparaging Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed when a man rammed his car into a crowd of protesters during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, on Saturday.

According to a Whois, which displays domain registration information, The Daily Stormer switched its domain to Google Monday morning. Three hours later, Google said it violated its terms of service and removed it. 

The Daily Stormer has found a new home on the so-called “dark Web,” which is not indexed by search engines.

More: Google protest marches for fired engineer postponed over ‘alt-left terrorist threats’

More: Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer struggles to stay online

More: Mark Zuckerberg pledges to remove physical threats from Facebook after Charlottesville

 

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