Posted on August 18, 2017

‘Is this the Day the Internet Dies?’

Jeremy Carl, National Review, August 18, 2017

When I wrote my recent article for NRO arguing that we must regulate Internet monopolies as public utilities, I had no idea how timely it would become.  I submitted it to NR on Friday afternoon (The day before Charlottesville) with the plans to run it on Monday.


A bit later in the week, the big Internet companies began undertaking an orgy of censorship far beyond that even described in my article–kicking dozens of sites from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PayPal, and numerous hosting providers.


Of course, I understand people get offended at the hate speech such as we heard at the Charlottesville rally: “Separation. We don’t want to integrate with these people. We’re tired of being with them. We want to be with ourselves in a land of our own.”

Oh no wait, that wasn’t the Charlottesville rally, that was posted by Louis Farrakhan on his Facebook Page the day after Charlottesville. Two days later he posted a picture of himself with Carlos Santana. Should Amazon stop selling Carlos Santana’s racist music? Will Facebook not take down this Santana’s hateful pages? Or Farrakhan’s?


Contrast the free hand given to left-wing offensive speech to the strict controls put on right-wing speech.


Daily Stormer, a vile Neo-Nazi site, was kicked off the Internet entirely this week when numerous infrastructure entities refused to host it and when finally CloudFlare, which prevented the web site from being attacked by hackers, refused to proxy for it or protect it anymore.


The decision of CloudFlare to ban Daily Stormer explained in a private company email and then subsequently largely reproduced in a public blogpost. is actually remarkable for its honesty.  Mathew Prince, Cloudflare’s CEO, wrote that

“Let me be clear that this was an arbitrary decision. . . I woke up in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. . . It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company. No one should have that power.”

According to Prince one of his employees, understanding the full import the banning, asked him: “Is this the day the Internet dies?”

I don’t know.


If we don’t stand up, even for speakers we loathe, the leftists will just increase their demands for censorship until they come to our own doorstep. If you think people who want to blow up Mount Rushmore and demolish the Jefferson Memorial are going to be happy just going after going after neo-Nazis, then I’ve got some land on the National Mall I’d love to sell you.  I think there may be some prime-location building space there soon.