Even as several tech companies moved to disassociate themselves from the Daily Stormer on Monday, one tech firm refused to cancel its dealings with the neo-Nazi website — Cloudflare.
A content delivery network that helps to protect sites from denial of service attacks, Cloudflare continues to support both DailyStormer.com and AltRight.com, another white supremacist site, through its service.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, the company said it was “aware” that concerns had been raised about some of the sites it supports and that it considers the content on some of those sites to be “repugnant.” But it noted that it doesn’t actually host any websites.
“Cloudflare terminating any user would not remove their content from the Internet, it would simply make a site slower and more vulnerable to attack,” the company said in its statement.
Cloudflare isn’t trying to hide its association with the neo-Nazi websites. Visitors to the DailyStormer.com and AltRight.com momentarily see a page from Cloudflare saying that the company is “checking your browser” before being forwarded on to their sites.
The company’s decision to continue to provide service to the white supremacist sites came under scrutiny following the violent protests this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one anti-Nazi protester dead. The Daily Stormer published a story that denigrated Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed in Charlottesville, when an apparent Nazi sympathizer allegedly drove his car into counter-protesters. The story attacked Heyer for her physical appearance and referred to her using various offensive epithets.
GoDaddy, which until Sunday was the domain name service provider for The Daily Stormer, dropped the site as a customer after its attack on Heyer, saying that it had violated GoDaddy’s terms of service. The neo-Nazi website had moved to Google by Monday morning, before being quickly dropped by the search giant for violating its terms of service. GoDaddy and Google both provided domain name services, but didn’t host the web content itself.
The resurgence of white nationalism and other kinds of bigotry in the public discourse has put web service providers in a tough place, as many companies have struggled to balance content-neutral terms of service agreements with widespread discomfort over racist, offensive and demeaning language.
Cloudflare’s service helps websites combat distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which is when a website is inundated with traffic from bots in order to overwhelm a server and crash a website. It does this by essentially providing a layer between the viewer and the website itself.
By providing that service to DailyStormer.com and AltRight.com through its service, it is protecting them from cyber attacks and helping to speed up their website performance.
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