Last week, Cloudflare came under fire for their continued support of Kiwi Farms, an extremist website, before ultimately changing its decision and ceasing service to the site Saturday evening.
This story has pushed us to once again ask the question every foundational tech infrastructure company should be asking itself; what is our responsibility when it comes to these types of sites? For NS1 this isn't a complicated question: we will not provide services to sites whose primary purpose is enabling violence or hate. I don't think that is too high a bar and I believe infrastructure companies should be held accountable to that standard.
The Internet provides a place for us to connect, share ideas and find solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The debate about free speech on the internet is complicated and messy, and it’s one for which there is no easy answer. Protecting the right to share all ideas means protecting even those we disagree with. That means we shouldn’t and won’t shut down a site simply because our team has a differing viewpoint.
However, if the primary purpose of your website is to spread hate or enable violence, we will not support you by providing you infrastructure services, no matter how profitable it may be for us.
We can continue debating who is responsible for sharing hateful or dangerous viewpoints and opinions. But we should not and cannot extend that philosophical debate when it comes to keeping people from harm. Foundational tech infrastructure companies must do better, as should all companies that provide internet services. Our customers are demanding better and I am not surprised we are seeing them make their displeasure known by looking for alternative service providers when these expectations are not met.
While our line in the sand stands at supporting any company whose primary purpose is to sow hate and promote violence, other companies may draw a different line. That is fine. What is important is that infrastructure companies have a well defined policy to make these important decisions clearly, quickly, and consistently.