Service provider pulls Neo-Nazi website from internet to save IPO

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Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said in an interview on Sunday that the company nixed the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer in anticipation of going public with their stock.

“We were worried that people would say, ‘We won’t work with you anymore,'” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told CNBC.

“We had to have the conversation now because at some point we’ll be a public company. We had to prompt that discussion,” said Prince, who added “we want to be ready internally by July 2018,” for a possible stock offering.

The internet service company has more than 500 workers and plans to grow to at least 600 by the end of 2017.

Cloudflare’s services make websites faster and more reliable. For the Daily Stormer, the company was making it harder for attackers to take it offline in a denial-of-service attack, which happens when a website becomes flooded with fake requests.

But after the outbreak of racial violence in Charlottesville motivated by the gathering of neo-Nazi groups, Prince had second thoughts about continuing to do business with the Daily Stormer. The site praised President Trump for his “many sides” remark and also said it would help organize further rallies.

“We were stuck. We had this problem, [and] were very alone,” Prince told CNBC, as he sat on the rooftop of his company’s headquarters in San Francisco during the company’s annual Internet Summit in September.

When Google and GoDaddy withdrew their services from the site, Prince felt added pressure to do the same. He hesitated at first, for the sake of free speech, but when someone at the Daily Stormer said Cloudflare supports their ideology, Prince called it the “tipping point”.

Another CEO, who Prince admires, made a “thoughtful, rational argument” in favor of cutting ties with the Daily Stormer, Prince agreed.

But Prince says he has no regrets.

“I would regret that as a policy, but it was just one instance. I don’t regret the decision.”

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