Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained why his company suspended hosting for neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, Wednesday, branding them “assholes” and claiming, “I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.”
“Earlier today Cloudflare terminated the account of the Daily Stormer. We’ve stopped proxying their traffic and stopped answering DNS requests for their sites. We’ve taken measures to ensure that they cannot sign up for Cloudflare’s services again,” declared Prince in an email to employees. “This was my decision. Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough.”
“Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. It was different than what I’d talked with our senior team about yesterday,” he continued. “I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. I called our legal team and told them what we were going to do. I called our Trust & Safety team and had them stop the service. It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company.”
Prince then added, “Having made that decision we now need to talk about why it is so dangerous.”
“Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power,” Prince proclaimed. “[Cloudflare employee’s name redacted] asked after I told him what we were going to do: ‘Is this the day the Internet dies?’ He was half joking, but I actually think it’s an important question. It’s important that what we did today not set a precedent.”
“The right answer is for us to be consistently content neutral. But we need to have a conversation about who and how the content online is controlled,” he concluded. “We couldn’t have that conversation while the Daily Stormer site was using us. Now, hopefully, we can. I’ll be publishing a blog post with all our thoughts on this issue in a few hours. Until then, I’d ask that you not talk about this externally.”
In a profile 0f Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom published this week, Wired claimed that free speech in Silicon Valley had become a dying concept.
“The notion of free speech is shifting at the companies that run the internet,” they claimed. “Facebook had a reckoning after false stories on its News Feed—free speech, in a sense—may have helped elect Donald Trump… Perhaps not coincidentally, the company changed its mission statement this past June.”