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Internet firms cut off white supremacist groups

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

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Social media networks Twitter and LinkedIn, music service Spotify and security firm Cloudflare were on Wednesday among the companies cutting off services to hate groups or removing material they said spread hate.

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

The crackdown reflects a rapidly changing mindset in Silicon Valley on how much it is willing to police hate speech.

Tech companies have taken down violent propaganda from Islamic State and other militant groups but most have tried to steer clear of making judgments about content except in cases of illegal activity.

Cloudflare, which protects websites from denial-of-service attacks and hacking, dropped coverage of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

“I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the internet,” Cloudflare founder and chief executive Matthew Prince said in an email to employees.

Daily Stormer helped organise the weekend rally in Charlottesville, where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man ploughed a car into a crowd protesting against the white nationalist gathering.

Daily Stormer has been accessible only intermittently the past few days after domain providers GoDaddy and Google Domains said they would not serve the website.

Publisher Andrew Anglin said on a social network Gab his site would be back soon.

“The Cloudflare betrayal adds another layer of super complexity. But we got this,” he said.

Twitter suspended accounts linked to Daily Stormer.

Facebook, which unlike Twitter explicitly prohibits hate speech, took down several pages from Facebook and Instagram it said were associated with hate speech or hate organisations.

– Reuters

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