Early this morning, GoDaddy—the world’s largest internet domain registrar—sent five identical replies to critics who condemned its role as the host of one of the most prominent neo-Nazi websites, the Daily Stormer.
We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service.
— GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) 14 August 2017
The white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville this weekend which left three dead and dozens injured has led to anyone and everything remotely associated with the event scrambling to distance itself from the violence and hatred, including but not limited to: establishment GOP ghouls, the US Navy, Mike Godwin of Godwin’s Law, and the TIKI brand of citronella-infused reusable outdoor lighting. It’s possible the Scottsdale, Arizona company also felt now was the time for contrition.
Reached by email, Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin told Gizmodo he’s received no communication from GoDaddy and that he suspects the messages may be part of a Twitter hack. Anglin didn’t rule out that the company was “kicking [him] off due to the volume of complaints,” but he maintains that Daily Stormer has “not violated any aspect of the [GoDaddy Terms of Service],” a clause of which states that customers are prohibited to use the service for “morally offensive activity.”
While the events in Charlottesville are, for reasons of renewed moral clarity or self-preservation, forcing complicit entities to disavow associations with characters like Anglin, GoDaddy has hosted the Stormer since its inception around four years ago, and in that time the site has never been shy about courting controversy loudly and often. GoDaddy’s director of network abuse defended its decision to stick by Daily Stormer as recently as last month.
Blurring things further, several Twitter accounts claiming association with hacking collective Anonymous have been organising around the hashtags #OpDomesticTerrorism and #TangoDown, rendering extremist websites unreachable via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
While Daily Stormer remains up, the lead post references #TangoDown, has a photo of someone wearing the Anonymous-associated Guy Fawkes mask, and reads “This site is now under the control of anonymous.” It appears to be both a challenge to potential hackers, and bait for reporters who might misunderstand an intentionally poor imitation of a website defacement.
We’ve reached out to GoDaddy and to some of the accounts claiming responsibility for #TangoDown and will update if we hear back.