How the Tech Industry Supports Hate

In response to the violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August, a number of prominent tech companies rushed to enforce longstanding acceptable use policies and took action against the hate groups that participated in the rally.


As the SPLC wrote, it took “blood in the streets for tech companies to take action.”

Now, more than six months later, tech companies continue to provide services to SPLC-designated hate groups. From payment processing to domain hosting to data mining, some of the biggest tech companies keep hate group sites up and running. What follows below is a breakdown of what services are used by hate groups in the SPLC-designated ideologies of Anti-Muslim, Neo-Confederate, Neo-Nazi, Radical Traditional Catholicism, and White Nationalist. A methodology section is located beneath the chart.

Interested in how the extremists are using Bitcoin? See our list of some of the most prominent white nationalists and other extremists who accept Bitcoin.

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Methodology

We obtained public WHOIS records for every site listed above. Registrant info was extracted from those records. By querying nameservers of each site, we could find where content is hosted – or through where content is routed in order to protect from DDoS and other types of attacks (e.g. CloudFlare).

The "ad tech" section details the third-party data and services embedded in each website. Multiple ad tech providers are used to support hate sites; this summary highlights some of the more well-known data collectors used by hate sites. For the purposes of this report, we use the term “ad tech” to refer to any third-party data service: advertising, tracking, loading, or collecting.

For each site, researchers visited a total of four pages on each site and allowed the content to load for two minutes (or until the process completed), including the home page, a page linked from the home page, a page linked from the second page, and a page linked from that page. If there was a donate, support, subscribe, or store page on the site, we included that in the four pages.

Using the intercepting proxy tool, OWASP ZAP, we monitored and recorded all calls to web sources while visiting those pages. 

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