Watchdog: GoDaddy, Shopify, Other Major Online Vendors Connected to Insurrection Groups Must Sever Ties
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report from government watchdog Accountable.US found several vendors, including the domain registrar and host GoDaddy.com and the e-commerce platform Shopify, provide services to organizations closely involved with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. In all, GoDaddy.com is the registrar of eight and host of three websites for the organizations involved in the events leading up to the deadly assault on the Capitol. Shopify serves as the e-commerce platform for two involved organizations. Other major companies, including Google, Linode, and Fastly, also host the websites of insurrectionist groups.
Following its findings, this week Accountable.US sent letters to the vendors’ CEOs raising questions about their standards of service and urging them to cut the cord with the groups involved in the insurrection. In an encouraging sign, GoDaddy responded to Accountable.US’ findings, telling The Hill that the vendor is investigating the services it provides to the groups named in the report and noting that service to “promote, encourage or engage in violence” violates its company policies.
“Upstanding, mainstream online vendors shouldn’t wait for public scrutiny before cutting ties with groups that traffic in dangerous rhetoric and hate,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “That’s more than a violation of their terms of service, it’s a value judgment. While it’s encouraging that GoDaddy now says it is reviewing the services it provides to these insurrectionist groups, we would expect GoDaddy and other vendors to take a more proactive role in squashing the spread of dangerous propaganda in the future.”
The report was the latest in a series of Accountable.US’ ‘Subsidizing Sedition’ project that aims to make crystal clear to the public that the January 6th Capitol riot wasn’t a spontaneous event by fringe right-wing extremists, but rather a well-coordinated attack on our democracy supported and promoted by mainstream corporations, GOP and conservative politicians, operatives, groups and funders. It comes as Speaker Pelosi plans a 9-11-style commission on what led the deadly events of January 6th.
EXCERPTS FROM ACCOUNTABLE.US LETTER TO VENDOR CEOs:
“As a prominent American business leader, who you choose to conduct business with demonstrates your corporate values. We believe that providing a platform for dangerous rhetoric and conspiracies that gin up would-be insurrectionists does not reflect well on those values and poses a serious reputational risk.
If your company maintains a policy against using your services to promote hate and violence, it was undoubtedly violated by the groups that used their platforms to peddle election conspiracies that culminated in the death and destruction we saw at the nation’s Capitol.
As an online vendor, you are America’s first line of defense against normalizing hate and misconduct. You should not have to wait for public scrutiny before cutting ties with groups that traffic in sedition. It is far more productive to nip hate in the bud rather than distance yourself from those who used your services to spread it once things inevitably get out of hand. We hope you do the right thing — the public will be watching.”