Last week, I talked about how video is causing violent racists to be arrested and fired from their jobs after being identified. Now big business has joined the cause to fight domestic terrorism.
In response to growing efforts to turn back the clock of American history to the 1950s and before, conscientious companies are fighting the war on racism Millennial-style. Reports surfaced this week of various websites and apps which are banning hate groups from using their service.
Technology being what it is, users no longer have the luxury of simply re-registering under pseudo names because companies can pinpoint a user’s location. Yep, they’ve got your name, address and number.
Companies who have joined the bandwagon against the Alt Right, KKK, Neo Nazis, white supremacists and other home grown terrorist groups include Paypal, Airbnb, Google, and GoDaddy. The latter two dropped domain registration against a hate group.
The Aug. 11 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which began supposedly as a protest against efforts to remove a Confederate monument, turned deadly when a white supremacist supporter plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors with his car, injuring several people and killing one. Two law enforcement officers also died during the incident. Discord blocked the chat server of DailyStormer, a Neo-Nazi site that posted a negative article on the victim, 32 year-old Heather Heyes.
GoFundMe took down campaigns to raise money for legal fees to defend James Fields, the alleged murderer.
With the recent re-surgence of hate groups, encouraged some say by President Trump, businesses are taking matters into their own hands. Large companies have been flooded with complaints against hate speech online and have decided to cut off the divisive language at the source.
Even dating sites like OK Cupid are rejecting members of hate groups. The dating service recently tweeted: “We were alerted that white supremacist Chris Cantwell was on OkCupid. Within 10 minutes we banned him for life,”and followed up with “There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love.”
Offline, the push to block hate mongers from enjoying member privileges is just as strong. Airbnb, the company that books travel accommodations, stood by this statement issued in 2016:
“When through our background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.”
James Allsup, a white supremacist, was kicked out of his Uber ride after allegedly making racist remarks toward his driver. The ride sharing company shut down his account and has blocked him from obtaining service in the future.
The Alt Right, much like Donald Trump, is fighting a losing battle—based on the outdated and forever untrue philosophy that white people are superior, and fueled by fear of becoming extinct. But like it or not, the color of America is changing and it won’t be long before people of color will be dominant. A sensible person would try and get along.
Efforts by tech companies to shut down hate provides another ray of hope to the majority of Americans who want to live peaceful and productive lives, and want others to do the same. While having a physical presence is still important in getting our message heard, we have to appreciate technology’s role in putting hate mongers in their place. Just a few keystrokes sometimes is all that is required.