Update: April 18, 2017: Disqus has adopted a hate speech policy! We are glad to see Disqus take a proactive role in monitoring violent and hateful rhetoric and urge other companies to follow Disqus’ lead in recognizing that hate is bad for business.
Corporations are starting to realize how disgusting and hateful Breitbart, aka “Trump News,” is—and they don’t want anything to do with it. But Disqus, the third-party software that runs its comment section, so far has no problem hosting one of the vilest cesspools on the Internet.
If Breitbart is bad—and it is—its comment section, run by Disqus, showcases the worst of humankind. Racist, sexist and homophobic slurs are standard, with other users calling for the mass murder of feminists, people of colour and refugees. The sheer ferocity and volume of hate will leave you breathless. We know Breitbart doesn’t care—but shouldn’t Disqus?
Already, over 1,800 corporations have pulled their ads from Breitbart, and more are joining each day. Over 700,000 SumOfUs members have joined our campaign so far, and 2 weeks ago we delivered over 200,000 signatures at Shopify's HQ, the business that sells its merchandise.
Disqus is slow to learn that there is no middle ground when it comes to hate. It can’t turn a blind eye to calls for the murder of Muslims that occur on the software it designs, sells and hosts.
We’re calling on Disqus to develop a hate speech policy and ditch Breitbart News.
Normally this would be the part of the mailing where I would outline the racism and sexism displayed on Disqus’s Breitbart comment section. But it’s so bad, I can’t—not only because it may be illegal, but because it makes me sick to my stomach. And that’s nothing compared to the vulnerable people targeted by this reckless hate, which has only been emboldened by President Trump’s horrible executive orders.
Disqus will say that it believes in free speech first and that its hands are tied. We believe in free speech too—that’s why hundreds of thousands of us have fought for net neutrality and press freedom from corporate influence. But this isn’t about free speech. It is about providing a privately-funded platform to spread hateful slurs and literal calls for the mass murder of minorities.
Disqus is absolutely complicit and we need to make its leadership team understand that.
Join us and tell Disqus to adopt a hate speech policy and drop Breitbart News immediately.
The Independent. 25 February 2017.
Fast Company. 23 February 2017.