Following Other Tech Companies, Cloudflare Has Dropped the Daily Stormer as a Customer
One of the last mainstream tech companies to offer its services to neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer has now dropped it as a customer.
Security firm Cloudflare, which formerly provided the site with protection against DDoS attacks and performance optimization, cancelled its paid subscription Wednesday, according to CEO Matthew Prince, who spoke to The Verge. Cloudflare did not return multiple requests for comment from Motherboard.
"This was my decision, I don't think it's CloudFlare's policy and I think it's an extremely dangerous decision in a lot of ways," Prince told the Verge. "I think that we as the internet need to have a conversation about where the right place for content restriction is...but there was no way we could have that conversation until we resolved this particular issue."
The Daily Stormer's CTO Andrew Auernheimer told Motherboard that he heard the company decided to drop the site after receiving a barrage of email complaints.
"They will drop you if someone sends a lot of email," Auernheimer, also known by his moniker Weev, said in an email. "So much for an anti-ddos company."
The move comes after domain provider GoDaddy, email provider Zoho, Google, and other web domain companies dropped the neo-Nazi site earlier this week for publishing an article mocking Heather Heyer, who was killed at the white-nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday.
The Daily Stormer then moved to the dark web, where it faced a DDoS attack. It's now moved back to the surface web under a .ru domain, making it officially a Russian website (though it appears to still be maintaining its dark web presence).
Cloudflare has opted to remain neutral about what kind of content its customers post in the past. "A website is speech. It is not a bomb. There is no imminent danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may contain," CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a 2013 blogpost. "Fundamentally, we are consistent in the fact that our political beliefs will not color who we allow to be fast and safe on the web," he continued.
The security firm's decision to ditch the Daily Stormer appears to have rattled other Cloudflare customers known for attracting white supremacists—like Twitter-like platform Gab.ai. Andrew Anglin, the Daily Stormer's founder, sung the praises of Gab.ai on the platform Tuesday. "Gab is the last home of free speech on the internet," he wrote.
On its official Twitter account, the site, favored by members of the alt-right, told Cloudflare's CEO Matthew Prince that it supports freedom of speech and respects the law, ostensibly in a public attempt to ensure it continues to benefit from Cloudflare's services.
The decision to drop the Daily Stormer by Cloudflare comes at an especially tumultuous time for the site. Also on Wednesday, comedian Dean Obeidallah brought a lawsuit in federal court against the site for for publishing an article in June falsely alleging that Obeidallah was behind the Manchester bombing, which killed 23 people in May.
Twitter also cracked down on the Daily Stormer Wednesday and deleted several accounts associated with it, according to posts made by Auernheimer on Gab.io.