GoDaddy and Google expel Daily Stormer over victim smear


Heather Heyer bannerImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The Daily Stormer disparaged Heather Heyer after her death

A notorious US neo-Nazi website is being forced to switch domain name providers for a second time in a day after it disparaged a woman who died during protests in Virginia.

On Monday morning, the Daily Stormer was given 24 hours to move by GoDaddy.

The site was then briefly registered via Google before it acted likewise.

Heather Heyer was killed on Saturday after a car rammed into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Registrars allows sites to lay claim to unique web addresses. These allow the public to type in easy-to-remember domain names – such as www.uniquename.com – rather than the strings of numbers that represent an owner’s actual internet protocol (IP) address.

“The domain is no longer at GoDaddy and we don’t host the site,” the Arizona-based company tweeted at 17:51 BST.

Just over an hour later Google issued its own statement: “We are cancelling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service.”

24 hours’ notice

Violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, after white supremacists organised a controversial far-right march called “Unite the Right”.

Shortly after GoDaddy’s initial announcement, a blog post appeared on the Daily Stormer, claiming the site had been hacked by Anonymous.

However, the main Twitter feed for Anonymous has said it has no confirmation that the hacker group is involved.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Web giant GoDaddy had given the Daily Stormer 24 hours to move

“Social media sites and those hosting content are very alive to public pressure and perception,” said Niri Shan, a media lawyer at Taylor Wessing.

“Now you’ve got politicians saying they’ll intervene and legislate if they don’t take more actions on the content on their sites, so I think this is part of a bigger picture.”

Although freedom of speech was important, private firms had a responsibility to crack down on content that could spread “extremist ideologies”, said Bharath Ganesh at the Oxford Internet Institute.

“I’m pleased GoDaddy did what they did but I’m a little disappointed they did it after public pressure, I would have liked them to have been more proactive,” he told the BBC.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *