Big Tech Targets AR15.com, Virginia Citizens Defense League in De-Platforming Push

The gun industry hasn’t been immune to de-platforming campaigns by big tech. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Update 1/13/21 7:33PM: GunsAmerica received the following statement from AR15.com president and co-founder, Juan Avila:

“It remains unclear specifically what content allegedly violated the registrar’s terms of service. However, it should be noted that AR15.com has been in existence for more than 25 years and does not, and has never condoned or promoted violence or unlawful acts of any kind.

“As of Wednesday, January 13, 2021, I am happy to report that we have found a new, First-Amendment-friendly site registrar and AR15.com has been restored to full functionality has resumed normal operation.”

***

Several gun-related businesses and organizations have reported this week that big tech companies have launched de-platforming campaigns as part of the larger purge of anyone considered even tangentially connected to President Trump.

On Monday, AR15.com, one of the nation’s largest pro-gun online forums, announced on Twitter that its website had been slated for termination by its host, GoDaddy.

“ARFCOM Is Down. We’ve been booted from GoDaddy and are looking for an alternative solution,” the tweet read.

Later that day, the website released a statement explaining that GoDaddy had offered no avenues for appeal and the website would be taken down immediately. AR15.com is in the process of transitioning to a different site registrar, which they said would take place within the next five days.

SEE ALSO: Watts Calls for Credit Card Companies to Ban ‘Ghost Gun Kits’ and ‘Core Components’

AR15.com is still live as of 12:13 pm 1/13/2020, but the website said in a tweet that the site would likely be taken down soon. While users wait for the new registrar, AR15.com moderates have opened a temporary site at AR15-backup.com.

The Virginia Citizen Defense League has also come under fire from big tech only days before the group has planned to hold a massive pro-gun drive-in rally at the state capitol in Richmond.

First, Facebook took down VCDL President Phil Van Cleave’s personal Facebook account, Van Cleave told GunsAmerica. The social media company’s automated system did not say which policies Van Cleave had violated and it did not give him the chance to appeal.

Then, Van Cleave learned that MailChimp had suspended the VCDL’s email account.

“MailChimp is playing games with us,” he said. “It’s BS. We’ve been using it for years and never had any issues until now. And there was no warning of it… boom, there it is.”

SEE ALSO: SAF: Biden’s Tweet Was Attack on All Gun Owners

MailChimp claims the VCDL violated their acceptable use policy, but they don’t explain which portion of the policy the VCDL allegedly violated.

“Our automated abuse prevention system, Omnivore, has detected an action or content in your account that may be in violation of our acceptable use policy,” the message from MailChimp reads, according to Van Cleave.

“They haven’t said what the violation was. We’ve looked at their rules and we can’t find anything that we would have violated,” he said. “We’re in never-never land.”

The VCDL was already in the process of moving to a different email system, and they were able to send an email directly to their members. But many more people are subscribed to their MailChimp list than their membership list, and Van Cleave said the suspension of their account has hampered their ability to coordinate their planned pro-gun rally.

For now, Virginia residents who wish to attend can check out the latest news on the VCDL’s website, Facebook, and Instagram. The rally is planned for January 18 in Richmond.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Dusty January 23, 2021, 3:59 pm

    I saw a troll-like comment by “Bob Sanders” on another thread. We know he can write, but apparently he can not/does not, read well. TEA Party stands for “Taxed Enough Already” Bob.
    Also FYIW Bob- “Democratic Socialist” is an oxymoron- or an undefined contradiction in terms- there is no democracy under socialism, there is one party to vote for, so elections are unnecessary, inconvenient, and generally suspended ‘for the good of the country’.
    Socialists have a lot of other warts Bob- for example, they seem to be pretty much OK with mass murder.
    Perhaps a modern definition of “Socialist” would/should be- “an as yet unidentified mass murderer”.
    Much shorter than current OED definition, and a real time saver for those who can’t/don’t read well Bob.

  • Tj January 16, 2021, 5:39 pm

    I’m 65 and I can remember sending messages through the actual mail. I don’t have a FB, Twitttird account and I still use the snail mail. It takes a little planning but it still works.
    Just sayin
    Tj

    • Big Al 45 January 19, 2021, 4:49 pm

      OK, does that mean we should also go back to Ma Bell and landlines?? Or DOS?
      Your analogy is silly.

  • BuzzLOL January 16, 2021, 12:47 pm

    I’m suspended from Twitter, The Hill, and Youtube for telling the truth… I consider it a Badge of Honor… wrote to Trump and told him to also feel that way!

  • Kane January 15, 2021, 4:15 pm

    All the moralistic left wing stands that have ever been made will at some point be contradicted be left wingers themselves including the cry of “McCarthyism.”

    • BuzzLOL January 16, 2021, 12:41 pm

      McCarthy was a drunken Catholic Religious Terrorist like Hitler, EvilJFK, Jomentia Bribery, and Nancy Pelosi! They should NOT be heroes to any American. McCarthy drank himself to death 2 years after his ‘heyday’…

  • Groyper January 15, 2021, 3:55 pm

    I have five plus examples of people contacting godaddy about ar15.com being taken down, and being told that it wasn’t done by godaddy, as well as someone who examined the DNS a results and pointed out that it was a settings change and not a removal.

    We’ve seen what happens when domains are deplatformed. The daily stormer is a good example. They don’t get given an extra 24 hours to sort things out, and the registrar doesn’t deny knowing what happened.

    IMO it was staged to get the exact result it got- hundreds of arf boomers clamoring to buy gold memberships to “support the site” (never mind how much more is made by industry advertiser accounts, referral link hijacking, click tracking, and user data sales)

    It’s also highly interesting that this happened the very next morning after someone was posting dirt on arfcom leaking user data and the owners covering it up.

  • Michael Galloway January 15, 2021, 3:46 pm

    If they stop this attack on the first and second amendments. I see a reboot of 1776

  • Stan d. Upnow January 15, 2021, 12:37 pm

    Years ago, I had a FB account to keep abreast of events in my Tea Party. Many in the group were harassed constantly with deleted posts and suspensions. They finally attacked me and suspended my account. The reason? They said I signed-in to my account too quickly!!
    I immediately closed my account permanently. FB tried for months to get me reopen it. I told them to Go Fk themselves.

    • Bob Sanders January 15, 2021, 5:34 pm

      You should try tea bagging websites for you and your tea bagging friends.

      • Tj January 16, 2021, 5:34 pm

        Bob
        Spoken like a true leftist and socialist.
        Tj

  • Gun Owner January 14, 2021, 10:05 am

    Lots of speculation and no proof as to why. This stuff happens all the time to all sorts of users. AR15.COM was only down for 2 hours and was right back up. Looks like a stunt to me to get people riled up on their part to be honest. Although some of the forums are filled with vile hate and threats, it’s a great source of info. They just need to moderate it better. Can’t comment on the VCDL issue, i have no information on that.

    • TXMike January 15, 2021, 3:29 pm

      A stunt? You mean you haven’t noticed the overall attack by Big Tech on conservatives?

      As far as some forums filled with “vile hate and threats”, please give a concrete example. Arfcom COC specifically forbids threats and the moderators are quick to squelch any questionable comments.

      As far as “hate”, that term is usually employed by Leftists in regards to anything they disagree with. Maybe you could supply any examples of that and tell us how it differs from stuff on DU.

      • Groyper January 15, 2021, 3:54 pm

        I have five plus examples of people contacting godaddy about ar15.com being taken down, and being told that it wasn’t done by godaddy, as well as someone who examined the DNS a results and pointed out that it was a settings change and not a removal.

        We’ve seen what happens when domains are deplatformed. The daily stormer is a good example. They don’t get given an extra 24 hours to sort things out, and the registrar doesn’t deny knowing what happened.

        IMO it was staged to get the exact result it got- hundreds of arf boomers clamoring to buy gold memberships to “support the site” (never mind how much more is made by industry advertiser accounts, referral link hijacking, click tracking, and user data sales)

        It’s also highly interesting that this happened the very next morning after someone was posting dirt on arfcom leaking user data and the owners covering it up.

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