Dating service OKCupid says it has banned a white supremacist for life. And it’s asking its members to report other OKCupid members who belong to hate groups.
OKCupid joins a growing corporate backlash against neo-Nazis in the U.S. after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Technology companies that once tolerated white supremacists are now booting them from their services.
The latest rally participant to see his digital footprint erased is Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist and Web commentator who was filmed by Vice in Charlottesville. Facebook and Instagram removed accounts belonging to Cantwell and his YouTube account appears to have also been shut down. Now even his dating life is being targeted.
“We were alerted that white supremacist Chris Cantwell was on OkCupid. Within 10 minutes we banned him for life,” OK Cupid tweeted. “There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love. If any OkCupid members come across people involved in hate groups, please report it immediately.”
Reached by email, Cantwell wrote: “Hahaha! Okcupid shut me down? These k—- will stop at nothing!”
On his personal blog in 2014, Cantwell wrote about his thoughts on romance: “8 Online Dating Tips, for the Ladies.”
No. 8: “If all I can see is your face – you’re a fat girl.”
No. 7: “I’m here for you, not your kids” (“Now put the little brat to bed and show me a photo of you by yourself.”)
No. 5: “In a photo of you and a friend, I assume you are the ugly one.”
From social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to web hosting services Google and GoDaddy, to music service Spotify and security firm Cloudflare, tech companies are severing ties with hate groups and removing material that they say spreads hate and violates their terms of service.
The crackdown resulting from Charlottesville reflects a dramatic reversal for technology companies that for years have taken a more hands-off approach to freewheeling debate on their services.
The more aggressive stance is being applauded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors the activities of hate groups and has pressed Silicon Valley to take action.
While tech companies have removed accounts belonging to the Islamic State and other terrorist groups under growing political pressure, tech companies until now have not been as aggressive in policing hate groups in the U.S.