Discord Shuts Down White Supremacist Servers In Wake Of Charlottesville Rally

Gaming chat client Discord has banned servers and several users linked to white supremacist and Nazi ideologies, according to a tweet sent out from the official Discord account. "Discord's mission is to bring people together around gaming," their statement on Twitter read. "We will continue to take action against white supremacy, nazi ideology, and all forms of hate."

Saturday's Charlottesville rally to retain a statue of Robert E. Lee drew participants from alt-right, Nazi, white supremacist and KKK groups. Violence broke out when pro-Confederacy protesters clashed with counter-protesters. Following the rally, which resulted in the death of a counter-protester attacked by a car, a member of the Daily Stormer Discord, a group associated with the white supremacist movement, allegedly offered to "bring weapons" to the victim's funeral.

Journalist Laura Loomer reported the message to Discord via Twitter, spurring Discord to conduct an investigation which apparently resulted in them shutting down servers relating to Daily Stormer and Altright.com, another website associated with white supremacists and neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer. Discord also ceased service for "a number of accounts associated with the events in Charlottesville."

In subsequent tweets, Discord added that while they don't read users' private conversations, they will swiftly take action when people violate their Terms of Service (Discord's ToS prohibits threatening or abusing anyone).

Altright.com swiftly posted a response, referring to Discord's employees as "pathetic nerd cucks" who, in their actions, "joined the war against free speech."

They added, "The Globo-Corpo-Homo-Judeo establishment is coming at us from all angles and lobbing everything that they have our way ... Boy, oh boy. They sure picked the wrong enemy. History has shown us that regions of disenfranchised, intelligent and motivated young men are very very good at resisting tyranny."

Neither Discord nor Altright.com representatives have responded to Kotaku's requests for comment. Altright.com's Twitter has also been suspended, and Discord's actions today contribute to a galvanizing push for platforms to hold users accountable for harmful behaviour organised through their services.

Discord also sent Kotaku an official statement from CMO Eros Resmini: "We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, neonazism, or any other group, term, ideology that is based on these beliefs. They are not welcome on Discord. While we don't read people's private servers our Terms of Service explicitly forbid harassment, threatening messages, or calls to violence ... The public server linked to AltRight.com that violated those terms was shut down along with several other public groups and accounts fostering bad actors on Discord. We will continue to be aggressive to ensure that Discord exists for the community we set out to support - gamers."


Comments

    History has shown us that regions of disenfranchised, intelligent and motivated young men are very very good at resisting tyranny.

    It's a shame these morons aren't intelligent

      Or disenfranchised, for that matter. They do seem to be motivated though, more's the pity.

    I look forward Microsoft shutting down their white supremacist SharePoint 365 tenancies.

    Am I the only person that's against this? I mean, I'm no alt-right kiddy, but this kinda stuff just reinforces their views. One of their main sticking points is the destruction of free speech. So, what are they meant think when Discord bans them from using the program to speak with people of a like mind? I know that Discord is a private company, but you shouldn't just start silencing groups of people. When you stand back when the Neo-nazi's and alt-right people are silenced, then you have no right to complain when they choose to silence you as well.

      The issue is that they are in their own little bubble and no matter what happens they will take it and twist it to reinforce their views.

      Spank the little assholes with every damn thing that is legally available to let them know this shit is unacceptable.

        I guess the problem is that, sure, the alt-right are in a bubble that loves to twist reality to prove their points, but so is the far left. While the far right is pushed down and encouraged to communicate in private, the left ideology is promoted by almost every major online media outlet (and in a manner that is dripping with obnoxious snark, often literally goading the right into reacting). I need to make clear that i'm all for progressive thinking and totally against hate and fear based ideologies, but both sides are just as bad as each other here.

        Trump won because of the echo chamber the left created for itself, thinking if they said Hillary would win enough it would make it true. They shamed and shut down everyone with a dissenting opinion instead of engaging them in debate and Discourse (the irony). But that doesn't change their mind, that just keeps you in the dark about what they're really thinking. Trump's victory was a prime example of why this method of ostracisation does not work.

        This isn't the victory of truth and goodness over evil. This is the victory of one ideology over another.

          I tentatively agree with this except for the fact that if they're white supremacist groups, they should be shut down and silenced wherever they appear.

          That said - the exact same standards should apply to violent groups like Antifa that openly discuss attacking people they disagree with.

            the exact same standards should apply to violent groups like Antifa that openly discuss attacking people they disagree with.

            I agree with you there. They should be free to say that they want to attack people they disagree with. Only when those words turn into action is it acceptable to punish them.

              As long as that attack doesn't involve hate speech then I'm fine with them saying what they want

                That brings up the age old question of "What is hate speech and who gets to decide it?"

                Irrespective of that, in the united states Hate Speech is unquestionably covered under freedom of speech laws. The supreme court decided this.

            I agree with you there in that both violent groups of any sort as well as hate speech should be stomped on by the anti discrimination laws

            Sure, but without pointing fingers (that are going to entice the sort of downvotes without dialogue we're already falling victim to here); there's more than a few supremacist groups operating publicly on both sides right now.

          This is why I've left kotaku.com for kotaku.com.au. The articles are identical, but I don't have to deal with the political BS they cross-post from their sister sites.

          They should shut down alt-right and alt-left sites immediately.

          God Bless Trump.

      There are not being silenced because they are unpopular, they are silenced for 'threatening or abusing anyone' against TOS. If a discord group for cake lovers was organising to bring harm to those who did not like cake and got shut down you wouldn't accuse discord of being anti-cake would you?

      Cake is good.

      Also don't be the guy who defends nazis 'on principle' its something of a contradiction.

        Also don't be the guy who defends nazis 'on principle'
        I will defend everybody "on principle". From what I've noticed around the web, people who are labeled as nazi's (even if they're not) are being silenced by the people that own the major social media websites and programs. I don't care if they're nazi's, I don't care if they're commies, I don't care if they're black, white, hispanic, asian, I don't care if they THINK that everybody of a certain race should be killed. I don't care about what they think or who they are. What I care about is when somebody in a position of power starts making life hard for people that think differently to them. The only thing that should be looked at when banning people is their actions. Their INDIVIDUAL actions. I hope you'll agree with me on this, but, we shouldn't punish everybody for the actions of a few.

          The principle that people of colour are worth less than people who are white isn't a principle at all. It's openly racist, insulting to the human condition, and not defensible in the slightest.

          At some point people have to draw a line and say, "This is unacceptable in this day and age. Humans are beyond this. We have evolved past this. We made mistakes, but we know what is better and what is the best way to move forward."

          Entertaining the idea that different ethnicities and backgrounds are genetically inferior is, apart from debunked horseshit, is detrimental to society and completely destructive to any reasonable debate.

            If somebody thinks that a certain race is inferior to theirs, then all power to them. As long as that stays as a thought, it's not harming anybody. If they then put those thoughts into action, that's when it becomes a problem. Actions can be harmful, thoughts cannot.

              But this isn't about things that stay as thoughts, this is about things that are expressed. Discord didn't shut them down for having 'bad thoughts', they shut them down because they were inciting violence. Thoughts may not be implicitly harmful, but words certainly can be, and that's what's at play here - words and threats, not just thoughts.

              That's pretending that those thoughts don't filter into any actions, behaviour or interactions where that thought might be related. Which isn't usually how humans behave.

              Take therapy as an example. How many people go to therapy to resolve issues with their thoughts so they can move on with their lives, sort out anxiety, latent anger, and so forth? I get where you're coming from, but the human psyche and human interaction is a touch more complicated. And no, I'm not proposing that we start ruling against what is in people's heads or anything. But illuminating the nuance is important.

                While I do thoroughly dislike Nazi ideology, it is a dangerous slope thought policing. It starts to move fairly far into authoritarian territory very quickly.

                By all means stamp out the truly horrible ideologies that would actively seek to harm people, but you can't start policing how people think or we will end up with more dissidents and run the risk of the turds becoming actively militant (like Isis).

                I feel the problem there is - who gets to decide the point where thoughts should be policed before they become action?
                On your earlier point of racial genetic inferiority, one of the co-founders of Toronto's Black Lives Matter group wrote this: https://archive.fo/kpjIG/e8a79ca1246ad6955332b9dba2e69fe1f03bde88.jpg

                It's obviously absolute horseshit, but I much prefer it being out in the open so the ideas can be discussed and shown for the folly they are.

                  Exactly, let's not encourage the crazies to keep their thoughts to themselves. Keep your enemies close, and let ideologies be embraced or shut down based on the merit of their ideas.

                  We have to discuss this stuff, we're never going to change people's minds by shaming them. We have to show them the error of their ways by killing them with kindness and strong arguments.

                  If you're using a service like Discord, the simple answer is that Discord gets to decide. Those are the terms you agreed to when you signed up. Their decision isn't discriminating against a protected class, so they have have complete discretion here. If you don't like that, you can start your own chat service.

                  @jamesh Yeah it does come down to this. Similar to the Google dude getting fired situation, it's the decision of the company. The disappointing thing is that they are going for the quick and easy solution rather than the one that will actually encourage progress and create a long term solution.

          Wait.

          You're claiming the guys parading about with actual swastika flags, chanting "blood and soil" and "Jew will not replace us" and waffling on about white heritage weren't Nazis?

          What do you think they were? Particularly enthusiastic Indiana Jones cosplayers?

            I specifically said "around the web". I wasn't referring to the protest that happened recently. I mean, even if I was, they weren't all nazis and shouldn't all be labeled as such.

      You may claim to not be a member of the alt right (though your regular commentary would suggest that's a dubious claim) but with this view you're certainly someone as bad as them.

      Only the most privileged of people get to prattle on about complete freedom of speech - because you're not someone who knows what it's like not to have your views taken as the dominant ones, and you know very well that you're the last one to be hurt by any actual hate speech (and no, please don't play the white males are being oppressed card). I'm talking about actual hate speech that is connected to real life danger.

      Because of your immense level of privilege, you don't see the danger in these groups. You also seem to lack a grasp of history - the last time these folks were allowed to parade around openly, speak openly, and gain ingress to politics, we ended up with the holocaust.

      And you know what? The people like you, the ones who argued that Nazis should be free to do what they want, were the ones who watched their neighbours thrown in cattle cars and taken to gas chambers, silent because their own privilege and safety was what mattered.

      That's how these things happen. And if you think that's far fetched, just remember this conversation is happening because GODDAMN NAZIS WERE MARCHING OPENLY IN THE STREETS OF AMERICA.

        The people like you, the ones who argued that Nazis should be free to do what they want
        I specifically said that they should be punished for their actions. I just believe that people shouldn't be punished for what they THINK. No matter how disgusting, depraved, insulting or offensive those thoughts are, they shouldn't be silenced for holding those thoughts. Thoughts cannot hurt people.

          I'm of the left and I completely agree with you re: freedom of speech and that thoughts don't hurt.

          The authoritarian left lacks the imagination to consider that they might be on the wrong side of an issue one day. When that day comes, they'll thank people like you that stick up for free speech. Everyone is cheering the fact that companies are shutting thoughts down, but they won't be laughing when it happens to them.

            Exactly! That was my point in my first post. If you stand by while a group of people are silenced, you can't complain when you yourself are silenced.

          "Thoughts cannot hurt people." I disagree. Maybe people shouldn't be punished for what they think, but they should definitely be called out on it. Thoughts become opinions, opinions become beliefs, and beliefs influence actions.

          Hatred is like a weed, a cancer or a poison; it starts out slow, it starts out as just a thought, just some "harmless" mental concepts... but it festers. It spreads, and it grows. It can and it WILL eventually hurt people. The Holocaust didn't just automatically happen; it started over decades and decades of amassed thoughts, feelings and beliefs that were given voice and validation and encouraged others to either act the same, or look away.

          So yes, thoughts can definitely hurt people, especially when you have large communities of people gathered who share in and are willing to act on them.

      Wrong. There is a difference between free speech and hate speech. free speech should espouse the encouragement of new ideas, embracing change, basic sociological progression and debate. Hate speech is just screaming about all the other people that you don't like. so don't give me the free speech rap when even you yourself can't tell the difference.

      When these numpties bleat about "losing free speech" they are relying on the ignorance of the general public as to what the right to free speech actually is. Shut that nonsense down.

      The right to free speech, under the American Constitution, guarantees that the government will not censor you or arrest you for expressing a point of view, however unpopular, unless it is an incitement to violence or it causes public danger (shouting fire in a crowded theatre; saying the only good $minority is a dead $minority) . It does not mean that everyone is obliged to allow you to go into any space, public or private, to spew vitriol and make a pillock of yourself. It also doesn't mean that once you have said something obnoxious and harmful, you are free from the consequences, criticism and social censure that follows. The people who were arrested in that rally were the ones who were violent. No one was arrested for expressing themselves.

      Private companies, on the other hand, are not the government. They are not obliged to provide a platform for any speech which they don't like, any more than you have to invite a Jehovah's Witness into your front room to proselytise at you. The JW (or the Nazi) can piss off and find their own space to blather in; they do not have a right to yours. Whether you are an individual or a company.

      Now, in one respect, you're right; if I was to say something so egregiously awful that it violated Discord's ToS, they could toss me right the hell out. But I've read the ToS and I'm OK with that. Also, I try to live my life as a decent human being rather than a white supremacist, so I'm pretty sure I'll be there for a while.

      Last edited 15/08/17 10:54 am

      thing is, their right to free speech is not being taken away from them. Free Speech only stops the Government from Silencing you which is why the ACLU actually sued the Mayor of Charolettesvile to give the rally members their permits back. Discord and Go Daddy are private companies and basically do what they like. its the same here with Kotaku.

      The Donald on Reddit still exists as does Stormfront and all the other extremist sites, they can still use twitter and facebook too. So far only Discord and Go Daddy (go daddy pulled The Daily Stormer alt-right news site) have taken action

      One of their main sticking points is the destruction of free speech

      This reminds me of a recent video by Sid Alpha shortly after he introduced moderation to this threads due to recent events (not saying what, enough people have been harmed as is).

      In it, he pointed out that there is a difference between Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression.

      A lot of groups, including those in opposition to Discord's decision, seem to think the terms are interchangeable.

      As others pointed out, Freedom of Speech is not being eroded. If I may say so, what we are seeing are people complaining about their Freedom of Expression now having consequences.

      When you stand back when the Neo-nazi's and alt-right people are silenced, then you have no right to complain when they choose to silence you as well.

      Actually, no. The neo-Nazi stand for some of the worst actions in our history thus deserve to be silenced.

      Why should they be entitled to basic human rights when their own ideology is the removal of those same basic rights from others they fell are less human?

        Why should they be entitled to basic human rights when their own ideology is the removal of those same basic rights from others they fell are less human?
        Because if I take away their basic human rights, then I'm just as bad as they are. I won't sink to their level.

          Silencing though who try to place ideas that lead to inhuman acts is not sinking to their level.

          There is an old expression, "Evil succeeds when good people do nothing."

          My letting those spout hate and inhuman acts, one let's evil win.

          Censoring and shutting down the platform is not removing a human right. It sends the message "No" to their inhuman ideas.

            So bullying people into silence, refusing to publicly and intellectually tackle and destroy these points of view and threatening peoples lives for the sake of progressivism is sending the right message?

              Those are your words. They are not mine nor a correct description of what I've said.

            It's only one way to send that "no" message though, and it's by far the least effective. The best way to say no is face to face, in a conversation, with the empathy that's required when interacting with people who don't have the mental and emotional faculties others of us take for granted.

            You will never fix this problem permanently like this, we need to turn our enemies into our friends, and acting like an antagonist towards them (as reprehensible as their views are) just feeds into the narrative they are spouting. We're better than them, so we need to act like it.

              The best way to say no is face to face, in a conversation, with the empathy that's required when interacting with people who don't have the mental and emotional faculties others of us take for granted.

              There are some who go down a given path purely by choice. Effectively they don't wish to hear different.

              Therefore, such people are beyond reasoning with and will never adhere to any boundaries.

              Neo-nazis and others of that same ilk fall into this category. There is no reasoning with them, they will never stop inciting hate nor be reasoned with.

              Again, suppressing their encouragement of inhuman acts is not stopping to their level. It is the act needed to stop bad ideas from becoming evil acts.

              Sorry but some things do not need nor deserve to be uttered. And white supremacy and racism is two of those things.

                There is no reasoning with them, they will never stop inciting hate nor be reasoned with.
                But you can never know that until you try. At the moment, people don't try to debate the ideas of these people. They just jump to the "You're a nazi? Oh well, there's no changing you then!" line of thought and start to censor them. Censorship in any form is bad. I believe in the free trade of thoughts and ideas. No matter how reprehensible those ideas are, I think they should be shared. If people then grasp onto those ideas and start sharing them to, then so be it. Like I've been saying in this entire thread: You can think whatever you want, you can say whatever you want, but you cannot DO whatever you want. Thoughts do not harm anybody, actions do.

                  But you can never know that until you try. At the moment, people don't try to debate the ideas of these people

                  People have tried and what I have stated is nothing new. If anything, your posting seems to ignore the history and it tied to a fear of censorship more than anything else.

                  Like I've been saying in this entire thread: You can think whatever you want, you can say whatever you want, but you cannot DO whatever you want.

                  Thinking is in itself something one can do. And all evil acts are backed by ideas. You repeat the same idea but the idea itself is still flawed.

                  This is where I exit this hopeless cycle you are in. And I'd be very careful with the claim any form of censorship is bad. But I leave you to learn the consequences yourself.

                There are some who go down a given path purely by choice. Effectively they don't wish to hear different.

                No kidding.

      The right to free speech does not oblige other people to provide you with a platform. It just stops governments from interfering with speech.

        I'm talking about the basic human right of free speech. I'm not talking about free speech in regards to the US constitution.

    Good on you discord. Any group using your service to promote racism and intolerance does not deserve to be on the platform.

    "The Globo-Corpo-Homo-Judeo establishment is coming at us from all angles

    Im laughing so hard at the image of Hasidic business men in leathers dancing to techno around a giant globe.

    On a more serious note, when will they realise that the same type of tactics used in American foreign policy are being used in their own backyard?

    The US doesn't just drop bombs, it begins with funding fringe groups and extremists causing division and civil unrest that spirals in to open conflict.
    Many of the Alt right and extreme left elements are heavily funded by government and corporate actors, often by the same damn people.

      hahaha Thank you for the visual that I strangely want to see now.

    People have been pretty decent, and I'm eternally grateful for that (as is everyone else who comes in and moderates the comments - and yes, we do read and see everything).

    But as a note going forward, I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread throughout the coming days. If people start being shitbags, I'm not going to be lenient. Have several chill pills before posting, and we'll all get along just fine.

    Continue being good people.

    "joined the war against free speech."
    Free speech protects you from the government. It does not mean people need to listen to you. It does not mean that people have to give you a platform. It does not protect you from the consequences of your words and actions. If you say something and people don't like it they are well within their rights to refuse to associate with you.

    Warning: dial it back people. I've nuked a few threads already because things are getting a bit too heated.

    One thing people have to understand is that just because you have anti discrimination laws it's not a slippery slope.

    Sure you are not going to change their minds, they will still believe what they want and still complain and put down people in private but that sort of shit has no place in a modern society and should be treated as the vile and unacceptable shite it actually is.

    You only have to look at the latest trouble in the US, where these literal nazi's are able to freely spew their hate and someone ends up dead because they gave them ground to grow their ideology.

    For those who still fail to understand what Freedom of Speech is, here's a very simple and effective comic that clearly indicates what Free Speech is.

    https://xkcd.com/1357/

    Does this mean they will close down Antifa and BLM or are they afraid of the violence that would cause?

      That same redirection has been asked dozens of times on Twitter, and they've answered it each time. They don't read server communications without cause because it would be a breach of privacy - if you know of a server that is violating their terms of service, report it with evidence and they'll investigate.

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