Slack, a workplace discussion company, today announced the removal of 28 accounts to have "a clear affiliation with known hate groups." The announcement, posted as a message on its website this morning, is a rare admission of the company that its platform can and has been used as a means of organizing odious user groups, some of which risk taking violent action in the real world in the future. The loose competitor Discord has always taken similar action against such groups in recent years, starting with the banning of servers promoting neo-Nazi ideologies in 2017.
Many other online platforms have taken action against hate speech and groups that spread and organize around it, including Discord, but also Facebook, Google, GoDaddy, GoFundMe, Reddit, Uber, YouTube and many others. The White Supremacy Gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 marked a turning point for the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer. Since then, technology platforms have taken a tougher stance on hate speech, especially when it comes to organizing well-known groups for their participation in demonstrations and rallies. .
Slack, however, has remained remarkably absent from the conversation, perhaps because his platform is intended for business and is not necessarily designed, like Discord's, to allow for large-scale and semi-structured discussion forums. public. Despite everything, Slack claims that he has policies that prohibit the use of his product for "illegal, harmful or prohibited purposes"
In this case, what is more interesting is that the way Slack discovered these accounts, the type of organization of these accounts and what triggered the division of Slack within the division within Slack n is not entirely clear, is responsible for handling these investigations. In a follow-up statement, a representative of the company stated The edge"Normally, we do not comment on how we conduct our investigations, but we want to be clear that the confidentiality of our customers' data is sacrosanct. In this case, we were informed of the possible use of Slack by hate groups and we were able to determine their affiliation at the organizational level. "
Here is the initial announcement on the subject in its entirety:
Today, we have removed 28 accounts because of their clear affiliation with known hate groups. The use of Slack by hate groups goes against everything we believe at Slack and is not welcome on our platform. Slack is designed to help businesses communicate better and collaborate better so employees can do their best. Using Slack to encourage or incite hatred and violence against groups or individuals because of their identity is contrary to our values and the very purpose of Slack. When we are informed that an organization uses Slack for illegal, harmful or prohibited purposes, we investigate and take appropriate action. We update our terms of service to make them more explicit.
Updated 3/19, 4 pm ET: Added a Slack tracking statement.