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USA: Tech companies take action to address racism & domestic hate groups

Tech companies have taken several actions in recent months to address the use of the internet to promote hate speech and racism. Following violence by white nationalists at a rally in Charlottesville, both GoDaddy and Google revoked the internet domain registration of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. In advance of the rally, Airbnb had canceled a number of accounts and bookings associated with the alt-right event, citing the company’s request that its users sign a commitment to “accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age” as its rationale. "We asked all members of the Airbnb to affirmatively sign on to this commitment," the company said in its statement. "When through our background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform." [refers to Airbnb, Alphabet, Discord, Facebook, GoDaddy, GoFundMe, Google, Patreon, PayPal, Tucows, Twilio, Twitter]

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2 August 2017

PayPal, GoFundMe & Patreon ban people associated with the alt-right

Author: Blake Montgomery, BuzzFeed

"PayPal, GoFundMe, And Patreon Banned A Bunch Of People Associated With The Alt-Right. Here's Why." 2 Aug 2017

Prominent members of the so-called alt-right and other right-wing movements often rely on crowdfunding platforms and online payment processors to fund their causes (and sometimes even their bail), but lately they’ve been having trouble accessing the money donated by their supporters. Over the past five months, PayPal has banned or hobbled the accounts of several prominent people and groups that promote far-right politics. Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Patreon, and YouCaring have also cut fundraisers for alt-right–associated causes and people... PayPal told BuzzFeed News that it does not “allow [its] services to be used for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance. Achieving the balance between protecting the ideals of tolerance, diversity and respect for people of all backgrounds and upholding the values of free expression and open dialogue can be difficult, but we do our best to achieve it."

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14 August 2017

Tech companies turn on Daily Stormer and the 'alt-right' after Charlottesville

Author: Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

The internet has long been fertile ground for extremists looking to congregate and recruit. But while big internet companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have taken seriously the task of combatting Islamist terrorist groups such as Isis and al-Qaida, domestic hate groups have continued to flourish online.  Events in Charlottesville, however, seem to be inspiring at least some companies to reconsider their willingness to host the online activities of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other members of the so-called “alt-right”... Video game chat application Discord [has] announced that it was shutting down a server and several accounts “associated with the events in Charlottesville”, including the AltRight server, which was affiliated with prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer and his website. “We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, neonazism, or any other group, term, ideology that is based on these beliefs,” Discord chief marketing officer Eros Resmini said in a statement. “We will continue to be aggressive to ensure that Discord exists for the community we set out to support – gamers.”... Other internet companies took action before Charlottesville to crack down on right-wing hate groups. Airbnb barred people from using its service to book rooms in order to attend the rally. Payment processing platforms such as PayPal and Patreon have banned a number of far right figures from using their platforms to raise money.

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15 August 2017

Tech Companies in Crosshairs on White Supremacy and Free Speech

Author: Diversity Inc

The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer had its internet domain registration revoked twice in less than 24 hours in the wake of the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., part of a broad move by the tech industry in recent months to take a stronger hand in policing online hate-speech and incitements to violence... Both [GoDaddy & Google] said the site that helped organize the violent weekend rally in Virginia had violated their terms of service... Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues, with politicians and others calling on them to do more to police their networks while civil libertarians worry about the firms suppressing free speech... Facebook confirmed on Monday that it took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville... “Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville,” the company said in a statement... Canadian internet company Tucows Inc stopped hiding the domain registration information of Andrew Anglin, the founder of Daily Stormer...“They are inciting violence,” said Michael Goldstein, vice president for sales and marketing at Tucows. “It’s a dangerous site and people should know who it is coming from.”

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