New York, NY – Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen released the following statement today after Netherlands-based Freenom, an online domain name provider, took a pro-ISIS website offline following CEP’s effort to alert Freenom about the website’s proliferation of terror propaganda.
“CEP commends Freenom for taking appropriate action in enforcing its terms of service once alerted to their provision of services to an extremist website. ISIS and its supporters have figured out how to remain online, in part by using different domains and registrars across the globe. It is vital that domain hosts, most of whom have strict policies against terrorism on their platforms, moderate and remove extremist content.”
On Tuesday, February 12, CEP wrote to Freenom’s CEO and COO to inform them that their domain service was hosting a site that endorses and encourages terrorism. In hosting the site, the company was in contravention of its own policies for its domains, policies which forbid any “support [for] terrorism.” The site used the domain for Equatorial Guinea and hosted multiple videos, photos, and “news reports” celebrating ISIS in a mix of English and Spanish. Among the multimedia were videos and photos that glorified suicide bombings and executions of Iraqis and Kurds, besides venerating killed ISIS leaders and propagandists like Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and Abu Omar al-Shishani.
CEP has been at the forefront of flagging the technology industry’s lapses in basic safety and security. In 2017, after CEP accelerated a years-long campaign to name and shame YouTube for hosting tens of thousands of ISIS propaganda videos by radical Islamist extremist Anwar al-Awlaki, it removed the videos in a “watershed moment.” More recently, CEP was successful in pressuring WordPress, a website management and blogging platform, to take offline a white supremacist group’s website following a publicly released report and letter addressed to the company. CEP was also responsible for revealing that GoDaddy, the world’s biggest webhosting company, continues to host terror group Kataib Hezbollah’s (KH) website. GoDaddy was forced to admit that KH’s website was in violation of its terms of service after being questioned by 9News reporter Mark Saunokonoko, but refused to take the website down.