Terminating Website Services Fails to Disrupt Extremist Communication Online

Despite mainstream social media companies’ efforts to remove hate speech from their platforms, white supremacist extremists (WSEs) continue to find outlets on the Internet to post their extremist content and openly communicate with and recruit others. WSEs have migrated to uncensored platforms, such as Gab, 8chan, and Telegram after social media companies including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube began removing explicit posts and problematic accounts over the last several years.

  • In August, Cloudflare terminated the services they provided to 8chan—an uncensored discussion board—after the mass shooting in El Paso, citing 8chan’s tolerance for hate speech and violence associated with WSEs and other hate groups. After Cloudflare banned 8chan, the board reappeared as “8kun,” supported by a Russian website hosting provider.

  • In October 2018, Gab—a website that promotes itself as “a social network championing free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online,” was temporarily taken offline after Robert Bowers posted his intent to attack the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, it is again accessible online and continues to serve as a platform for WSEs to spread their ideology and rhetoric.

  • After the deadly August 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, multiple providers terminated their services for the Daily Stormer—a US-based WSE message board that espouses white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideologies. While the site’s founder, Andrew Anglin, procured another website hosting provider to support the Daily Stormer, financial complications resulted in the Stormer’s subsequent termination.

Read more at the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium

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