Daily Stormer jumps to dark web while Reddit and Facebook ban hate groups

Action by technology companies and hacking group Anonymous removes neo-Nazi site from open web, while social media steps up anti-hate actions

American neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer has moved on to the so-called dark web in an attempt to stay operational, following cyber-attacks by hacker group Anonymous and the cancellation of the site’s original domain name.

GoDaddy – the internet domain registrar and web hosting service – and Google cancelled the Daily Stormer’s domain name registration on Sunday, saying they prohibit clients from using their sites to incite violence. The Daily Stormer helped organise the violent neo-Nazi gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday at which a civil rights activist died.

In a separate development the hacking collective Anonymous declared war on white supremacists, targeting various sites associated with neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other groups and taking them offline.

The Daily Stormer displayed messages on Monday that appeared to show a hack by Anonymous, though Twitter accounts linked to the collective disavowed the “attack” and said it appeared to be a PR stunt by the website. It later launched on a Russian domain name using the Cloudflare protection system to maintain operation.

Facebook said it was actively removing all links to a Daily Stormer post attacking Heather Heyer, the woman who died in the Charlottesville violence.
Facebook said it was actively removing all links to a Daily Stormer post attacking Heather Heyer, the woman who died in the Charlottesville violence. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

The Daily Stormer’s retreat to the dark web – a series of websites only accessible through the anonymous browsing tool Tor and not indexed by search engines – runs contrary to its stated aims of “educating the masses”. Its operation may be short-lived, as other sites forced on to the dark web have found it difficult to stay operational under attack from hacking groups.

Social media companies – which have previously come under fire for not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech – also took action against neo-Nazis on Tuesday. Both Reddit and Facebook confirmed they were actively banning groups and pages linked to far-right extremists.

Following an anti-hate campaign by the AgainstHateSubreddits community, a Reddit spokesperson told Cnet: “We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites violence will get users banned from Reddit.”

Facebook said that it had removed the Charlottesville Unite the Right event page and that it was actively removing all links to a Daily Stormer post attacking Heather Heyer, the woman who died in the Charlottesville violence.

The social media site said that it had also banned a number of groups and would attempt to prevent them from reforming, including Physical Removal, Genuine Donald Trump, White Nationalists United, Right Wing Death Squad, Vanguard America and others, and was actively removing hate speech, support of hate groups and the praising of violence.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Our hearts go out to the people affected by the tragic events in Charlottesville.

“Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville.”


Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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