Registrars continue to grapple with thorny questions about content.
What role do domain name organizations play when it comes to free speech? This continued to be a hot topic in 2018.
In the United States, the government cannot limit free speech. But businesses are not obliged to do the same.
Domain name companies try to stay out of thorny issues about content on websites but they have limits. Last year, GoDaddy told the operator of the white nationalist site Daily Stormer to move his domain off the platform after the death during the Charlottesville rallies. The website’s content wasn’t hosted at GoDaddy, but GoDaddy faced lots of pressure. The kicker was when GoDaddy determined that the site was inciting violence.
This year GoDaddy took similar action with Gab.com after the person who murdered people in a Pittsburgh synagogue was found to have posted hate speech on the site.
Rob Monster, the founder and CEO of domain name registrar Epik, welcomed Gab.com onto his platform. Although he doesn’t agree with much of the commentary on the site, he believes that sites should not be “de-platformed”. The decision to accept the domain brought a lot of heat and a subpoena from Pennsylvania’s attorney general.
It will be interesting to see how domain companies approach this thorny issue going forward. Will registries get more involved on various types of domain takedowns?