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GoDaddy removes AR15.com, one of world’s largest gun forums

AR-15. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
January 15, 2021

One of the largest gun forums was temporarily shut down after the web hosting service GoDaddy removed the site and said it violated the company’s terms of service.

AR15.com announced that they had been removed on Monday, tweeting, “ARFCOM Is Down. We’ve been booted from GoDaddy and are looking for an alternative solution. The site will return at https://www.ar15-backup.com,” the website said, noting a temporary URL. “Standby for more information.”

GoDaddy’s immediate termination forced the website’s leadership to create the temporary URL in an effort to allow “freedom lovers and firearm enthusiasts” to access the site’s information and resources. The website returned on Wednesday, though leadership did not mention the details of the domain’s return.

According to AR15.com, GoDaddy wouldn’t disclose any details behind the immediate removal, only claiming the website violated their terms of service.

“On Monday, January 11, 2021, I received notice from our site registrar that AR15.com had violated their terms of service and that AR15.com would be shut down immediately,” Juan Avila, president and co-founder of AR15.com, said in a statement posted to the site’s official Instagram account. “The registrar’s decision to de-platform AR15.com was final and no method to appeal was offered.”

“It remains unclear specifically what content allegedly violated the registrar’s terms of service,” Avila continued.

GoDaddy told The Federalist that the decision to remove AR15.com was made after it was determined the site “both promotes and encourages violence.” They wouldn’t provide any examples to support the claim and gave the gun website 25 hours to relocate.

The sudden termination caused a minor hiccup in AR15.com’s traffic, with Avila noting that the website quickly found “a new, First Amendment-friendly sit registrar” that will host the website during its transition.

The move from GoDaddy comes on the heels of a series of bans from big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Twitter and Facebook, who banned President Donald Trump from a number of social media platforms last week.

On Saturday, Amazon announced it would suspend the free-speech platform Parler from its web hosting service Sunday night, claiming content on the social media app violated the service’s rules.

Buzzfeed News reported that an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Trust and Safety team notified Parler that “violent content” on the platform violated their terms of service, and that the free-speech alternative to Twitter would be suspended as a result.

Parler CEO John Matze shared his response to the announcement on his Parler account, noting that the Amazon’s “attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet” is part of a “coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place.”

“Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies,” Matze said in his post, shared by Dinesh D’Souza on Twitter.

Matze said the suspension would cause Parler to be offline for up to a week while the social media platform finds an alternative host, adding, “You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”