Dating Sites Are Kicking Nazis And White Supremacists To The Curb

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08.24.17 6 Comments

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Christopher Cantwell, the Nazi who helped organize the Unite The Right rally where Heather Heyer was killed, has quickly felt the consequences of his actions: He’s been widely mocked, abandoned even by his lawyer, and is currently in jail. Today the hits kept coming: Cantwell has also been booted off of popular dating site OKCupid. And he’s not alone.

The New York Times has a discussion of Silicon Valley’s abrupt about-face from its argument that it’s “just the platform,” and leading the charge, surprisingly, are dating sites. In addition to OK Cupid, Bumble joined with the Anti-Defamation League and kicked hate group members off the service. While it may not be quite as visible as webhosts shutting down sites or YouTube shutting down channels, it’s still a fairly visible method.

The main question likely raised will be, is this a slippery slope? After all, the Times notes OK Cupid asks about bigotry as part of its popular question-and-answer function, where people can offer answers to specific questions and theoretically find better matches:

Like most dating sites, OKCupid allows its members to filter their search for companions by age, location, race and religion. Paying members can even refine their results by attractiveness, body type and their answers to specific questions such as: “Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias toward a certain race of people?” and “Do you believe that there exists a statistical correlation between race and intelligence?”

It’s a tough call, and to some degree, it’s a call every site, and arguably every person, will need to make for themselves. OKCupid, for its part, asks users about acts they perceive as threatening. However, it’s worth remembering that while the line between free speech and hate speech is continually being refined, Nazi ideology pretty clearly falls on the hate speech side of it. Cantwell, in particular, made direct threats in the Vice doc. It’s unlikely any website can spot a bigot, something OKCupid leaves largely to its users, but somebody saying Hitler did nothing wrong, well, that guy’s going to get booted. Better for the rest of us.

(via The New York Times

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