(New York, N.Y.) – Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen released the following statement today after Hostinger International, Ltd., an international web hosting company, suspended Fascist Forge, a neo-Nazi web forum. Hostinger suspended the forum after CEP flagged its history of advocating violent fascism and inciting its followers toward terrorism and the murder of people of color, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people and others.
“Hostinger acted with haste – and very rightly so – in suspending Fascist Forge, an online forum that promotes neo-Nazi violence and radicalizes recruits. Fascist Forge came back online soon after being dropped previously by DreamHost, which was alerted to the nature of the content by CEP. Websites like these need to be prevented from so easily popping back up online once they are flagged for violations and removal elsewhere. The return of these extremist sites is not a new problem. The tech industry must put in place the necessary policies and resources to address these issues sufficiently and transparently and, importantly, standardize industry-wide databases and measures that will pre-empt extremist websites from reappearing.”
On Friday, March 15, CEP wrote to Hostinger’s CEO Arnas Stuopelis to inform him that the company had become Fascist Forge’s web registrar less than a week earlier. CEP noted that Fascist Forge had migrated to Hostinger after its previous registrar, DreamHost, placed it on “hold” status following a release from CEP. In Hostinger’s case, the neo-Nazi forum was in violation of the company’s terms of service, which prohibit any malicious or offensive material. The forum provided a platform for recruitment propaganda for the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), a neo-Nazi group that calls for a “white revolution” ending in “Aryan victory.” It also promoted propaganda featuring an AWD member alleged to have murdered a Jewish LGBTQ man because he was gay. Previously, a prolific user of the forum called on more than 500 fellow users to commit “sexual terrorism” against women. However, following CEP’s correspondence, only the propaganda section of the Fascist Forge website was removed. CEP followed up with Mr. Stuopelis on March 26, urging Hostinger to decisively sever its relationship with Fascist Forge and remove the site in its entirety. Hostinger responded that same day and made the responsible decision to remove Fascist Forge.
CEP continues to identify extremist content across the web and immediately informs tech companies on whose websites the content is uploaded. Last month, CEP called on WordPress to take a white supremacist group’s website offline following a publicly released report and letter addressed to the company. CEP also alerted Freenom, an online domain name provider, that ISIS extremist followers were using its services to spread radical Islamic teachings in South America in English and Spanish. Freenom ceased providing services to the extremists following CEP's contact. In 2017, CEP pressured YouTube to remove tens of thousands of radical Islamic extremist Anwar al-Awlaki’s propaganda videos in a “watershed moment.”