Slack removes nearly 30 accounts with hate group ties

Slack removes nearly 30 accounts with hate group ties
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Slack on Thursday announced it had removed almost 30 accounts with ties to "known hate groups," days after leaked messages revealed neo-Nazis were using the messaging platform to coordinate and organize events.

The company, whose platform is geared mainly toward business communications, said use of its service by hate groups "runs counter to everything we believe in."

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"Slack is designed to help businesses communicate better and more collaboratively so people can do their best work," the company said in a statement. "Using Slack to encourage or incite hatred and violence against groups or individuals because of who they are is antithetical to our values and the very purpose of Slack."

Alternative media group Unicorn Riot last week published a trove of messages showing neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa using Slack to coordinate media strategy and organize across the country.

Talking Points Memo first reported on Unicorn Riot's findings.

According to the messages, Identity Evropa maintained as many as eight Slack workspaces online that they used to recruit and organize members.

Most of the country's leading tech companies have taken steps to remove hate speech and hate groups from their platforms, an endeavor that moved into the spotlight after a 2017 white supremacist rally Charlottesville, Va. led to the death of one counter-protester. Many of the supremacist groups in attendance used online forums and messaging services to organize the rally that turned violent.

Facebook and Twitter have also sought to remove and ban neo-Nazi groups and users.  

Slack in a statement to The Hill clarified that it did not discover the hate groups by looking through users' groups or messages.

'"We want to be clear that the privacy of our customer data is sacrosanct," a Slack spokesperson said. "In this case, we were informed of the possible use of Slack by hate groups and we were able to determine their affiliation on an organizational level."

"When we are made aware of an organization using Slack for illegal, harmful, or other prohibited purposes, we will investigate and take appropriate action and we are updating our terms of service to make that more explicit," Slack said in its statement.

The company's policies do not detail its approach to hate groups and hate speech.

Updated 3:16 p.m.