How Tech Companies Are Doing Their Part To Fight White Supremacy

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Companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, and others are banning users who incite violence and spread hate online after Charlottesville.

3D-printed Facebook and Twitter logos.

Since Saturday's deadly white nationalist Charlottesville rally, the corporate world has noticed that if they do not embrace a change in attitude, they will feel the backlash where it hurts the most: their pockets.

At first, President Donald Trump's comments following the Charlottesville tragedy prompted company CEOs who were involved with the president's business councils to turn their backs on the administration. Then, companies such as GoDaddy were pressed to act once Daily Stormer, a racist, neo-Nazi website it hosted, published a hate-filled article praising the killing of Heather Heyer.

Others promptly followed suit, with Google dropping the same website a few moments after GoDaddy transferred Daily Stormer to the company through an automated process put in place to ensure customers don't lose their domain.

Following close behind, Facebook announced it would remove and ban group pages that violated the company's hate speech policies.

And even Twitter then joined the movement, banning accounts associated with the hateful group behind the neo-Nazi website.

Reddit and PayPal also did their part, with Reddit announcing it would ban far-right extremist groups and pages from its forums, and PayPal saying it would also stop providing services to sites that incite violence and spread hate and intolerance.

Eventually, even Spotify acted to distance itself from racism by removing many white supremacist bands that were still available on its streaming service. The action came after Digital Music News published a story listing 27 racist bands found on the music app.

When talking about their decision to drop the neo-Nazi website from its platform, GoDaddy's CEO Blake Irving said that Daily Stormer was no longer just a tasteless online hub for people with despicable philosophies. So the moment they saw their services were being used to incite violence, they acted.

“We always have to ride the fence on making sure we are protecting a free and open internet,” Irving explained. “...But when the line gets crossed and that speech starts to incite violence, then we have a responsibility to take that down.”

It's this attitude that is driving tech and online companies to do more than simply stand on the sidelines as violence gets out of hand. And many consumers feel they can rely on these organizations as allies in the fight against hate because of their attitude and willingness to act fast.

If anything, this progressive attitude may serve as a means to help drive significant change in other business fields, forcing others to follow or stay behind and get crushed by more forward-thinking competition.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Vincent Kessler

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