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GoDaddy CEO: We booted the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website for inciting violence

  • "It's a very fine line between making sure we're not being a censor and making sure we're acting in a responsible manner," GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving says.
  • The domain name provider cut ties with The Daily Stormer because the neo-Nazi website crossed that line, Irving explains.

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving told CNBC on Tuesday that the domain name provider cut ties with The Daily Stormer because the neo-Nazi website crossed the line from exercising freedom of speech to provoking further mayhem in the immediate aftermath of the white supremacist chaos over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"We always have to ride the fence on making sure we are protecting a free and open internet. And regardless of whether speech is hateful, bigoted, racist, ignorant, tasteless, in many cases we will still keep that content up because we don't want to be a censor and First Amendment rights matter not just in speech but on the internet as well," Irving said on "Squawk Alley."

"But when the line gets crossed. And that speech starts to incite violence then we have a responsibility to take that down," he added.

That's exactly what happened, Irving said, when a Daily Stormer post verbally attacked Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed on Saturday when a car plowed into her group of counterprotesters who were demonstrating against the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. The neo-Nazi website called her "fat" and "childless" and said "most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness."

GoDaddy, in a tweet on Sunday, said it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider.

Asked why it took so long to oust a website that espouses hate, Irving said, "I understand that position. But still First Amendment rights protect people's ability to represent their beliefs. As ignorant and tasteless as those beliefs are they have the right to do those things."

But as soon as a site engages in "inciting violence against a group or an individual," that violates GoDaddy's terms of service and necessitates it be taken down, Irving said. "It's a very fine line between making sure we're not being a censor and making sure we're acting in a responsible manner."

GoDaddy did not host the website on its servers but "hosted the domain," he explained. "When you manage the DNS, the domain name space, the address, you can take them offline."

After being given notice by GoDaddy, The Daily Stormer moved its domain name registration to Google, which on Monday also kicked the site off for violating its terms of service.

The actual host of The Daily Stormer was France-based Scaleway, which confirmed to Vox that it has terminated the site's account and locked its hosting server.

According to The Associated Press, Andrew Anglin, the website's publisher and author of the post about Heyer, said he couldn't immediately comment Monday on GoDaddy's move.