Company says it asked the site to remove content that incited violence before telling it to find another domain name registrar.
Last week, gun site and forum AR15 .com said it was “de-platformed” by GoDaddy. It claimed that GoDaddy didn’t tell it which content violated its terms, and informed it that the decision was final and it was given no way to appeal:
— AR15.COM (@AR15COM) January 12, 2021
GoDaddy released a statement explaining that it provided a specific warning to AR15 .com, and the site did not take action to address it:
Why did GoDaddy suspend services to AR15.com?
On January 8, we received a complaint regarding certain content on AR15.com. Per our policy, our team investigated the content in question and confirmed it violated our terms of service because it incited violence. On that same day, we notified AR15.com that they had 24 hours to remove the content, or their domain name would be suspended. AR15.com responded that the content had been removed, yet when we checked to confirm, the site showed the content still live. Accordingly, we suspended services on January 11.
Although we informed AR15.com they had 24 hours to take action, we actually provided them with 53 hours to remove the content. Again, because the content was not removed, we followed our terms of service and suspended services to AR15.com.
Does GoDaddy plan to take the same action with other gun sites?
GoDaddy supports a free and open Internet. We do not take action on complaints that would constitute censorship of content that represents the exercise of freedom of speech and expression on the Internet. In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence, as was the case with AR15.com, we will take action.
This is the same rationale the company provided when it told DailyStormer to find a new registrar in 2017 after the violence in Charlottesville. GoDaddy took a lot of heat leading up to that point. It was a bit squishy in that case — it seemed that GoDaddy suggested the content on the site could lead to violence, even if it didn’t directly call for it.
AR15 .com moved its domain name to Epik.