On Monday, Discord shut down several alt-right servers where users aligned with “white supremacy and Nazi ideology.” The mass banning came after the pro-Confederate protests in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, which resulted in one counter-protester killed.
20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into a river of protesters that opposed the Unite the Right rally last Saturday, injuring at least 19 people and killing Heather Heyer, 32. The man fled the scene by driving in reverse but was detained a couple of blocks away. He has since been charged with her murder.
The gaming chat room app became the latest platform to silence hate groups to condemn the events of this past weekend. GoDaddy and Google both took swift action against The Daily Stormer, an alt-right website that blatantly bashed the victims of the attack after it happened.
Love. Not hate. pic.twitter.com/5xFpvHTuI2
— Discord (@discordapp) August 14, 2017
Discord professes “Love. Not hate” in its servers
Discord executives and users reported that the altright.com server had been used to discuss and coordinate meetups ahead of the Unite the Right rally. It even served for people to arrange their stay, but after the protests, it all went south.
All of the above was in good spirits since people have the right to congregate and express their views as they please. However, administrators consider some members of the community crossed a line when they started celebrating the aftermath of the rally and posting personal information of opposition protesters.
“We’re about positivity and inclusivity. Not hate. Not violence,” read the official Discord release announcing the shutdown of the altright.com server. Soon, admins of the server responded in kind, calling executives of the messaging platform “nerd cucks” and threatening to rise against them.
Free speech is officially over on Discord, a large portion of your userbase will be moving to another platform. Shame. ???
— TheBigKK (@TheBigKK_) August 14, 2017
The internet against the alt-right?
Nevertheless, rise against online communities and real-life groups might be easier said than done, particularly in 21st century America where “free speech” does not precisely involve what some people think it does.
Alt-right supporters have accused internet platforms of being hypocritical since they tag them as “hate groups” and ban them from their spaces, but they don’t do the same with other organizations they call “terrorists” like Antifa.
Antifa, in a very simplistic reduction, would be the left-wing counterpart of the alt-right. They are often deemed extremists and they incur in demonstrations that edge on the violent. However, they are not an organized movement of the scale of some other groups that do indeed perform acts of terror.
Voices of the alt-right are often associated with white supremacy, extreme nationalism, and pro-Confederate ideas. Those who choose to identify themselves with a political stand in today’s America are mostly supporters of President Donald Trump, which has gained him much negative backlash over the last few days.