Time after time America’s far-right has been faced with the fact that their First Amendment rights don’t protect them from Silicon Valley tech companies.
The neo-Nazi’s planned a “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia that took place Friday night.
Just days before the event Airbnb began suspending accounts of the rally attendees who had rented places to stay in the area. The reason is that the company requires clients to “accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity” among others which was clearly a deal breaker for the alt-right who have faced similar problems with other companies for the same reasons.
This came as an unwelcome shock to the organizers of the rally as they had “taken over all of the large AirBnBs in a particular area,” according to a user on the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, who had “set up ‘Nazi Uber’ and the ‘Hate Van’ to help in moving our people around as needed.”
Over the last couple of years, there have been more start-ups catering to the alt-right.
“We’re getting banned from using payment-processing services, so we have no other choice,” said Tim Gionet, also known as “Baked Alaska” and who is scheduled to speak at the Charlottesville rally. “If that’s the gamble they want to take, I guess they can, and we’ll make our own infrastructure.”
They are even beginning to work on setting up their own tech world. One with fewer rules.
For example, after many of these people were banned from Twitter they joined Gab, “an ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online.”
Just this last Tuesday, one of the site’s most viewed and reacted to posts was an image that read, “I ❤ BEING WHITE.”
“The market is owned and controlled and operated by the oligarchy of Twitter and Facebook and Google,” said Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba.
“The reality is hate speech is free speech,” Torba added. With mostly left-leaning companies, many of them located in San Francisco, setting the boundaries on what speech isn’t acceptable on for-profit platforms, “that’s a huge opportunity to sit here and defend the Internet that I grew up on,” he said.
They even came up with an alternate crowdfunding site called Hatreon which now supports white nationalists such as Richard Spencer.
Hatreon has founded by Cody Wilson who is best known for his efforts to create guns through 3_D printing. He describes himself as an “Internet anarchist” who is looking to disrupt the establishment’s status quo.
Their ultimate goal is to simply get around the rules they face on other platforms. They can’t post on Facebook and Twitter or stay at an Airbnb lodging so they create their own.