The Terrifying Power of Internet Censors
The New York Times
After the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last month where a man drove a car into a crowd, killing a counter-demonstrator, the American neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a long, hate-riddled post mocking the victim.
Outcry over the article led its domain registrar, GoDaddy, to end The Daily Stormer’s service. The site then registered with Google, which also quickly canceled its hosting. But it wasn’t until Cloudflare, a website security and performance service, dropped the site as a client that The Daily Stormer truly lost its ability to stay online.
Because of the precise nature of Cloudflare’s business, and the scarcity of competitors, its role censoring internet speech is not just new, it’s terrifying.
What makes Cloudflare an essential part of the internet is its ability to block malicious traffic from barraging clients’ websites with requests that take them offline. Cloudflare is one of the few companies in the world that provide this kind of reliable protection. If you don’t want your website to get taken down by extortionists, jokers, political opposition or hackers, you have to hire Cloudflare or one of its very few competitors.