Tech Firms Isolating Hate Groups

Posted on Posted in CASHBOX General Update, CASHBOX Industry News, CASHBOX Political News

Silicon Valley joined a swelling backlash against neo-Nazi groups in the United States on Wednesday as more technology companies removed white supremacists from their services in response to weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

According Reuters, social media networks Twitter Inc and LinkedIn, music service Spotify Ltd and security firm Cloudflare Inc were among the companies cutting off services to hate groups or removing material that they said spread hate.

Earlier in the week, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and GoDaddy Inc also took steps to block hate groups.

The wave of internet crackdowns against white nationalists and neo-Nazis reflected a rapidly changing mindset among Silicon Valley firms on how far they are willing to go to police hate speech.

Tech companies have taken down violent propaganda from Islamic State and other militant groups, in part in response to government pressure. But most internet companies have traditionally tried to steer clear of making judgments about content except in cases of illegal activity.

Cloudflare, which protects some 6 million websites from denial-of-service attacks and hacking, on Wednesday afternoon dropped coverage of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.  Cloudflare is well-known for defending even the most distasteful websites, and services like it are essential to the functioning of websites.

Meanwhile, Spotify says it has removed an array of white-supremacist acts from its streaming service that had been flagged as racist “hate bands” by the Southern Poverty Law Center three years ago.

A Spotify spokeswoman said in a statement that while the music in its catalog comes from hundreds of thousands of record companies and aggregators all over the world, and those are “at first hand responsible” for the content they deliver, “illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”

“Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention. We are glad to have been alerted to this content – and have already removed many of the bands identified today, whilst urgently reviewing the remainder,” she said in the statement.