Politics

Squarespace won’t host racist websites, either

The website service decides to drop a “group of sites," giving them 48 hours' notice.

squarespace.png

Squarespace

There's no space for racists on Squarespace.

The company lets people build websites with easy-to-use templates and provides domains for groups, including those like the National Policy Institute, a think tank where white nationalist Richard Spencer is president and director.

Other hateful websites hosted on Squarespace included Identity Evropa and Radix Journal, which called for ethnic cleansing in a series of white supremacist essays. A petition calling for Squarespace to stop hosting these hateful websites reached 58,241 signatures by Thursday morning.   

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 Click to see our in-depth coverage of online hatred.

Aaron Robinson/CNET

On Wednesday, Squarespace said it gave certain website owners 48 hours' notice that they would be kicked off its platform.

"In light of recent events, we have made the decision to remove a group of sites from our platform," a Squarespace spokesman said in an email.

"Recent events" points to the online backlash against hate groups following the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where neo-Nazis and racists clashed with counter-protesters. Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer was removed from GoDaddy, then Google, Twitter and elsewhere before slinking off into the darknet, where it then lost its CloudFlare protection. Losing the protection opened the website up to cyberattacks that took it offline.

Across the internet, tech companies have been stomping down on hate groups, including Spotify removing "white power" music from its service, and Apple Pay and PayPal cutting off websites linked to white supremacists. Before Saturday's Charlottesville rally started, Airbnb had kicked out white supremacists planning to stay at homes through its service.

Squarespace's decision comes after months of activists asking it to remove hate-filled websites. In March, Squarespace told a political science professor that "censoring sites like these may cause more harm than good in the long run."

The group of websites that Squarespace plans to take down directly violates their terms of service, which states:

Don't advocate bigotry or hatred against any person or group based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, age or disability.

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