Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

By | August 18th, 2017
No Comments on Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

In the wake of Charlottesville, both GoDaddy and Google have refused to

manage the domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website

that, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “dedicated to

spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism.”


Earlier this week, following complaints about a vitriolic and abusive Daily Stormer article on Heather Heyer—the woman killed when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators—GoDaddy told the site’s owners that they had 24 hours to leave their service. Daily Stormer subsequently moved their domain to Google’s domain management service.

Within hours Google announced that it too was refusing Daily Stormer as a customer. Google also placed the domain on “Client Hold”, which means that Daily Stormer’s owner cannot activate, use or move the domain to another service. It’s unclear whether this is for a limited amount of time, or whether Google has decided to effectively take ownership of the domain permanently.

We at EFF defend the right of anyone to choose what speech they provide online; platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what speech does and does not appear on their platforms.

But we strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous. That’s because, even when the facts are the most vile, we must remain vigilant when platforms exercise these rights.


Nisheeth Bhakuni