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.
ARFCOM Is Down. We’ve been booted from GoDaddy and are looking for an alternative solution.— AR15.COM (@AR15COM) January 11, 2021
The site will return athttps://www.ar15-backup.com
Standby for more information
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.
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.”
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.