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WordPress Bans Fascist Website Linked To Charlottesville Killer (fastcompany.com) 451

tedlistens writes: WordPress has said that it does not censor websites like that of self-proclaimed fascist group Vanguard America. But last night, the group's site was taken offline for violating the company's terms of service. The about-face was likely prompted by Vanguard's participation in last weekend's Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring 19. Fields has claimed allegiance to Vanguard America; the group denies that Fields was a member. For WordPress to drop a site, even a fascist site, is a very big deal; the same is true of GoDaddy's and Google's decision to drop their registration of neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer (another site that GoDaddy previously said would be permitted on free speech grounds). WordPress hasn't explained the shift in its approach to the website: the company's user agreement and terms of service have not changed since Charlottesville. That policy, like that of other tech platforms, has long stood by strict neutrality and freedom of expression. That may now be changing.
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WordPress Bans Fascist Website Linked To Charlottesville Killer

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  • Does WordPress have anything in their terms of service about inciting violence, committing crimes, or breaking the law in general?

    If Vanguard America hasn't distanced themselves from the actions of this alleged member, perhaps they could be classified as a terrorist organization? This isn't necessarily an issue of free speech any more than breaking the law is.

    • inspire magazine telling how to derail trains is bad.

      This is about free speech and not nazis or there ideas.

      But a site saying the rich jews are putting the working man down is not on the same level. That is covered free speech. and just banning based it being about white power in general is taking there free speech away.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Who has taken their free speech away? They can find some other place to host their site. Quit conflating private entities giving these bastards the boot to some sort of state suppression. The First Amendment protects you from the state silencing you. Private actors are under no such obligation.

      • inspire magazine telling how to derail trains is bad.

        This is about free speech and not nazis or there ideas.

        But a site saying the rich jews are putting the working man down is not on the same level. That is covered free speech. and just banning based it being about white power in general is taking there free speech away.

        Funny how some alt-righters have no idea of what exactly free speech is.

        You are allowed to say whatever you like, short of threats of violence. The Government isn't allowed to arrest you for it.

        But we are allowed to react to what you said. It's probably heartbreaking for the Supremacists and Klan, but if you want to open a "Blood and Soil" website, no one is forced to host it. Your freedom of expression does not mean that I have to let you burn a cross on my lawn.

        Buy your own servers, and host you

    • by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:25AM (#55024413)

      Does WordPress have anything in their terms of service about inciting violence, committing crimes, or breaking the law in general?

      If Vanguard America hasn't distanced themselves from the actions of this alleged member, perhaps they could be classified as a terrorist organization? This isn't necessarily an issue of free speech any more than breaking the law is.

      From the WordPress User Guidelines:

      Directly threatening material.
      Do not post direct and realistic threats of violence. That is, you cannot post a genuine call for violence—or death—against an individual person, or groups of persons. This doesn’t mean that we’ll remove all hyperbole or offensive language.

      • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:37AM (#55024493)

        Also from the WordPress User Guidelines:

        Bear in mind that these are just guidelines â" interpretations are solely up to us. These guidelines are not exhaustive and are subject to change.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Virtually all service providers have such terms and very few of them would hestitate to reach for them at this moment.

      And no it's not a free speech issue. Nazis can go host their own content with their own storage and tools.

      • by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:22AM (#55024855)
        Same as muslims calling for the execution of atheists and gays? Shut them down too?

        How about BLM saying there are "too many white people"?

        A business that is open to the general public must serve the general public. A bakery must sell to all customers and WordPress must sell to all customers.
        • by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:45AM (#55025023) Journal

          A bakery must sell to all customers and WordPress must sell to all customers.

          This. We need to seriously have protections for the 1st amendment online (that is purely about speech) as we do with other protections in the 14th amendment.

          The more I hear about the actions various progressive tech companies are taking online to speech they don't like (beyond nazis) the more I fear for the future for the internet and future of freedom of speech that is necessary for democracy.

          The government won't be far behind with this pro-censorship sentiment as we have seen with the Charlottsville government illegally rescinding a right to protest and arbitrarily retracting the protection of law.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Same as muslims calling for the execution of atheists and gays? Shut them down too?

          Why on Earth would you think that's even a question? Oh wait, you're probably one of those moronic right wing nutjobs who thinks "Not all Muslims are terrorists" = "We love Islam and agree with ISIS's interpretation of it!"

          How about BLM saying there are "too many white people"?

          BLM has never said anything of the sort. BLM is a diverse coalition of people who are concerned that black people keep getting killed by the police

          • So we don't have imans preaching hate and death to jews, atheists and gays here in the United States? Really?

            Did you miss BLM members saying "too may whites?" Really? Look up the Trinity Professor: Johnny Eric Williams. You missed that?
          • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:58AM (#55025781) Homepage

            BLM has never said anything of the sort.

            You're right, they said far worse. [stcatharinesstandard.ca] Like saying all "white people are sub-human" I've heard that before...coming from black supremacists. Very uh...diverse, so progressive. Gee, they're just like Margaret Sanger [washingtontimes.com] and her belief that blacks were sub-human need to be culled, and the perfect way to do that was via planned parenthood. Never mind her pro-eugenics stance or anything...

            Clinton was right then, and HAD CONSERVATIVES HEEDED HER WARNING we'd not be in the horrific situation of having a President who panders to, and gives power, to Neo-Nazis, and who is in probability one himself.

            You didn't even listen to him when he blamed both sides for the violence did you. You're so heavily invested in identity politics that you're willing to swallow whatever bullshit is shoved down your throat. You also likely believe that antifa is really the good guys, and really aren't just racists on the left. [imgur.com]

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          A bakery must sell to all customers and WordPress must sell to all customers.

          A public facing business cannot discriminate against a protected class. Being an asshole is not a protected class.
          • Ha. Ha. Ha.

            So now some people are protected and some not. Some ideas are protected and some not.

            By the way f**k fascists and f**k socialists and f**k racists - but a free society values free speech.

            You realize these dipwads held get togethers for years and zero violence and zero coverage. Now, thanks to anti-free speech people like you they're all over the news. The f**king Streisand Affect all over again.
    • Does WordPress have anything in their terms of service about inciting violence, committing crimes, or breaking the law in general?

      Don't know about WordPress, but I have yet to see a single web site in my country that wouldn't have "don't break the law with your contents" in its ToS, and inciting violence is definitely illegal around here.

  • Time to start... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:11AM (#55024337)

    ...looking for other sites that violate the "terms of service".

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:35AM (#55024479) Homepage
      Pretty sure that there are going to be a lot of people thinking that they might be able to use terms of service to try and suppress sites with dissenting opinions to their own right now, from right across the political spectrum. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I suspect that GoDaddy, Google, WordPress, and the rest are about to find out it's a very steep and slippery one as well. First they came for the Alt-Right...

      On the otherhand, GoDaddy, Google, WordPress, et al are private companies and as such are free to set their own ground rules in the same way that malls, sports stadiums, and other private venues can - within reason - set their own specific rules while on their private property. A right to freedom of speech means that people have a right to say what they want, but is most certainly does not obligate others to provide them with a soap box to stand-on or force them to listen to what they want to say. As long as they are prepared to live *and* die by that sword, then that's entirely up to them - there are always going to be plenty of alternative vendors that are not quite so choosy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:20AM (#55024385)

    "That policy, like that of other tech platforms, has long stood by strict neutrality and freedom of expression."

    I call BS. There are plenty of platforms which like to spout that platitude, but have special rules when it comes to naked people [wordpress.com]. Other platforms disallow "adult content" altogether. Yet point out that a platform is supporting white supremacists, and the "free speech" card gets played.

    Nudity is treated as more offensive than racism. Think about how messed up that is. We're only seeing this reaction from GoDaddy / WordPress now because there were full-on Nazis in Charlottesville.

     

  • Voltaire (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Voltaire got it right.

    These neonazi fucks are fuckers and I hope their brand of idiocy fades from the world, but we should be careful about what we do about them. While it's true that the US 1st amendment does not protect you from private companies, and it's ALSO true that it does not guarantee you the right to use someone else's printing press, at some point just a few companies control most human communication, and that may be even more dangerous than government censorship (in the US - different tradeoff

  • by mpercy ( 1085347 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:40AM (#55024509)

    action and google's and godaddy's, etc. just remember your position on this when GoHillary.com or BlackLivesMatter.org is taken down because the sites allow "hate speech" to be posted.

    We can fine an endless supply of "hateful" speech, even speech calling for violence on the left, too. The KKK has no monopoly on that.

    Black Lives Matter protester: 'Only good white man is a dead white man'.

    New Black Panther Party (NBPP), whose leaders are known for anti-Semitic and anti-white tirades. Its late chairman, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, famously remarked: “There are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes.”

    Though she opposed [a proposed Constitutional anti-gay-marriage amendment], [Clinton] said that she believed that marriage was "a sacred bond between a man and a woman" and she took "umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that exists between a man and a woman." [Pretty hateful words, by today's LGBTTTQQIAA... standards].

    "White folks was in caves while we were building empires. We taught philosophy and astrology [sic] and mathematics before Socrates and those Greek homos ever got around to it." Al Sharpton [A gay slur, a nationalist slur, and a racist comment, all in one!]

    You cannot define "hate" speech to just include white-supremacist or other speech you disagree with. Because if you do, when power shifts or something bad happens, your speech is next. We didn't go and shut down any of the sites that James Hodgkinson was active on, and if Trump and the right had tried to do so, the media would--correctly, for once--said that would be wrong and a violation of free speech rights. We didn't go and shut down the mosque where Omar Mateen's anti-gay views were stoked by his religious indoctrination. It would have been wrong.

    When the KKK and Nazi's want to expose themselves and their idiotic and repugnant ideas, it's not a good idea to create martyrs-to-the-cause of any of them nor answer them with violence. That just feeds them.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Speaking of breaking laws is perfectly fine, no matter how much others disagree with it. Actually breaking the law is not.
      If what you want to do would be illegal, try and change the law to make it legal but do not act it until it is so.

      Assuming this site was an integral part to inciting these murders, the question is whether that is legal or not.

      • inciting these murders, the question is whether that is legal or not.

        First, the guy hasn't' had his trial yet and innocent until proven guilty. The mob rule is a rule and tyrannical rule. Let him have his day in court and if convicted throw the book at him and throw him in a bottomless pit of hell for all I care.

        We really need to put to forebear what we value in society. Government won't be far behind this wave of censorship and selective law enforcement as we have seen in Berkeley and Charlottsville. With a complicit government allowing mob rule, it doesn't matter whose boo

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      action and google's and godaddy's, etc. just remember your position on this when GoHillary.com or BlackLivesMatter.org is taken down because the sites allow "hate speech" to be posted.

      Goes far beyond this. The "antifascist" parade has wanted to go after Thomas Jefferson [campusreform.org] for a while now. [thecollegefix.com] This is the shit you're supporting when you think that removing those statues is a good idea, when blocking speech because it hurts your feelings. The slippery slope is already in action, and I can't wait to see the people trying to justify this. Yep, we're entering that new shiny era of antifascism already, where antifascists are the actual fascists and it escapes them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by apoc.famine ( 621563 )

      First they came for the Nazis, and I did not speak out, for I was not a Nazi.....

      Look dude, you may have missed this in history class, but 70ish years ago the world got together and waged outright war on fascists. Like, million man armies, naval armadas, giant fleets of bombers, all leading up to nuclear weapons to stop the fascists. Why? Because fascism is them or us. There is no live and let live with fascists, unless you happen to be a Christian Aryan male.

      So please, fuck off with the "o

      • by mpercy ( 1085347 )

        Right, because my comment "When the KKK and Nazi's want to expose themselves and their idiotic and repugnant ideas, it's not a good idea to create martyrs-to-the-cause of any of them nor answer them with violence. That just feeds them." so clearly screams "I'm a Nazi supporter!".

        When white people chant "Kill the blacks!" it's wrong.
        When black people chant "Kill the whites!" it's exactly the same kind of wrong.

        You can pretend it's different somehow, I suppose.

        And way to ignore the main point. We're already s

        • So, "Nazis are bad" is really hard for you to understand, eh? You're going through a lot of trouble to demonize a lot of other groups and equate them with Nazis, and it's quite telling. They are not the same. Not in the least. Do you not get how disingenuous it is to try to lump non-fascist groups in with actual fascists? Do you not understand what WWII was all about?

          Bringing up a squabble about someone bring a flag to a parade in the same context as actual white nationalists advocating the expulsi

  • IANAL but perhaps someone who is versed in such matters can explain why, in light of their behavior, writings and speech, Americal neo-nazis and other groups bonded by hatred are not subject to this law (Link to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute - https://www.law.cornell.edu/us... [cornell.edu] ).

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so

    ....

    It certainly seems to me that the frenzied acts and utterances by these thugs is as much a threat to the nation as yelling "Fire" in a theater, which I think is not covered by the First Amendment right of free spe

  • I have no idea what happened with this guy and his car in Charlottesville. But then, no one else really does either. So it's really kind of sad to see the continual press coverage about how he deliberately search out left-wing protesters in order to run them down. This is what the press says, and what their video clips seem to show.

    However, lots of people captured the event on their phones and other videos are circulating that support a different interpretation: the guy drove his car down a road he shouldn'

    • he did what you are supposed to do: never stop, keep driving no matter what

      That's the stupidest thing I've read all week, and this has been a pretty good week for stupidity.

  • Start your own nazi web host. Im sure you will get the best sort of investors.
  • I want to know where all of these people cheering WordPress and GoDaddy were when ISIS was beheading people and posting it all over the internet. Where were these people when left wing groups were posting anti-cop rhetoric and inciting riots? Where were they when people were making movies depicting the assassination of a sitting president (not Obama)?

  • We tell the world we have free speech, yet here we are proving otherwise. To be clear, I don't like what is going on and I do believe Trump has encouraged the neo-nazis, "white pride", white supremacists and and hate groups to come out of their holes. And yes, they now have the courage to mobilize and organize (somewhat, heaven help us if they ever truly organize).

    The problem is if we respond to this with actions of fear, like suppressing opinion and speech, whether we agree or not, we turn ourselves int

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