Neo-Nazi site's registration cancelled by GoDaddy then Google

The logo for internet company GoDaddy inc is shown on a computer screen.
The logo for internet company GoDaddy inc is shown on a computer screen. PHOTO: REUTERS

TORONTO (REUTERS) - Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer had its domain registration revoked twice in less than 24 hours, in moves that threatened to take it offline if it does not find a replacement for GoDaddy and Google, which both said the site had violated their terms of service.

GoDaddy Inc disclosed late on Sunday via Twitter that it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated GoDaddy's terms of service. The white supremacist website, associated with the alt-right movement, helped organise the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent.

GoDaddy feared the site might be used to incite further violence after the events in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, who was fatally struck by a car allegedly driven by a man with white nationalist views.

"With the violence that occurred over the weekend, the company believed this site could incite additional violence,"said the person who was not authorised to publicly discuss the matter.

The Daily Stormer responded by moving its registration to Alphabet Inc's Google Domains, which offers transfers through an automated online process that the Internet company says typically takes 20 minutes or less to complete.

The domain was registered with Google shortly before 8 am California time and the company announced plans to revoke it at 10:56 am, according to somebody familiar with the revocation. "We don't want our services to incite violence," said the person.

 

It was not immediately clear when Google's move would take effect. The Daily Stormer was online and its Internet registration listed Google Inc as the registrar as of midday California time.

GoDaddy has previously faced sharp criticism for hosting The Daily Stormer and other sites that spread hate.

The internet hosting company's rules of conduct ban using its services in a manner that "promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals or property." Meanwhile, Cloudflare, a private firm that also provides internet services to The Daily Stormer, declined to say if it was looking at severing ties.

"Cloudflare is aware of the concerns that have been raised over some sites that have used our network. We find the content on some of these sites repugnant," the company said in a statement. "While our policy is to not comment on any user specifically, we are cooperating with law enforcement in any investigation," it added.

On Monday, a note appeared on the Daily Stormer's home page, which claimed that the site had been taken over by Anonymous, a loose-knit collective of hacker activists that intended to permanently take it offline in 24 hours.

Other original content remained on the Daily Stormer site, including appeals for financial support and the article attacking Heyer.

YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed that promotes attacks conducted by hackers who identify with Anonymous, said it had no confirmation that members of the group were involved.

It said it suspected the notice was posted as a "stunt". Daily Storm publisher Andrew Anglin could not immediately be reached for comment.