Since the expiration of U.K. government restrictions on him last year, internationally designated Islamist cleric and convicted ISIS supporter Anjem Choudary has continued to seek new online platforms for his extremist rhetoric. Six months after the murder of Conservative British MP David Amess by Ali Harbi Ali, Choudary, in a reported post on a GoDaddy-hosted blog, blamed British foreign policy in Syria and Iraq for Ali’s radicalization and murder of Amess. Previously, investigators reportedly pursued the theory that Ali self-radicalized online by watching YouTube videos of Choudary, who had been sentenced to prison in 2016 on charges of inviting support for ISIS. Ali’s close friends and family also stated that he radicalized after watching videos of Choudary.
While the blog post in question appears to have been taken offline, it is nonetheless indicative of Choudary’s ability to continually find new online hosts for his vitriol. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has found that GoDaddy, along with other webhosts and Internet technology companies, has a track record of removing content in a reactive manner. As such, CEP continues to call for clear guidelines from tech companies to target and remove the “worst of the worst” terrorist and extremist material on their platforms in a manner that is transparent and consistent.
CEP has previously found that GoDaddy provided services to several extremists and removed them to only varying degrees. After intense public outcry, the company ceased hosting the white supremacist website Daily Stormer and white nationalist Richard Spencer’s altright.com. On the other hand, GoDaddy has been unresponsive when CEP has confronted it with other examples of extremist websites, including from the notoriously violent neo-Nazi group Hammerskin Nation, U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Kata’ib Hezbollah, and pro-ISIS propagandist Sheikh Abdullah Faisal.
CEP Executive Director David Ibsen wrote in 2018 of GoDaddy’s content moderation practices and called on tech companies across the board to better monitor how their platforms are used and uniformly enforce their stated Terms of Service, not just when they are put under a public spotlight: “The best course of action is clear: upon any violation of a company’s terms of service, a website should be taken down. In the same way other Internet giants are expected to be held accountable for content moderation and preventing the dissemination of radicalizing extremist and terrorist content online, the same should apply in this case.”
Choudary led the now-banned al-Muhajiroun Islamist network in the United Kingdom with his mentor, Omar Bakri Muhammad. Between 1999 and 2016, Choudary and al-Muhajiroun were reportedly linked to almost one-quarter of the terror plots in the United Kingdom. British police have identified at least 600 members of al-Muhajiroun who have been linked to terrorism. Choudary is also reportedly linked to some 300 individuals who have traveled to Syria to become foreign fighters for ISIS. Since July, Choudary has been permanently banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
To read CEP’s profile Anjem Choudary, please click here.
To read CEP’s profile Ali Harbi Ali, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource Anjem Choudary’s Ties To Extremists, please click here.
To read CEP Executive Director David Ibsen’s op-ed Go Daddy’s Selective Outrage, please click here.