(New York, N.Y.) — For the second time in two months, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) alerted print-on-demand platform Spring to a neo-Nazi clothing shop being hosted on its platform, which Spring subsequently removed.
The first shop located by CEP in April was selling merchandise to financially benefit an Austrian neo-Nazi rapper known as “Mr. Bond,” a.k.a. Philip Hassler, who had recently been sentenced to 10 years in prison for inciting violence and glorifying Nazism by an Austrian court. Weeks later, a separate shop affiliated with a Telegram channel with over 2,800 subscribers selling goods featuring neo-Nazi and white supremacist iconography and slogans was located by CEP. The shop was removed after Spring was notified by CEP.
Following CEP's flagging of the second store to Spring in May and its resulting removal by the platform, the store owner confirmed the store had been shut down in a Telegram post:
While Spring responded promptly and decisively in removing the offending shops from its platform, its actions are indicative of a reactive posture, as opposed to proactive content moderation on its part. The platform’s Acceptable Use Policy specifically outlines that Spring does not “allow campaigns that promote or glorify hatred toward people based on their age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and religion, including people, organizations or symbols dedicated to hatred against these groups.” However, the web store was able to operate for almost nine months before it was located and reported by someone from outside its intended audience.
CEP’s subject matter expertise and reliable content moderation in each instance directly resulted in the extremist storefronts’ removal from the platform, in turn stymying their efforts to further their cause.