A neo-Nazi deleted two posts on Gab, a social media company popular with the alt-right and white supremacists, after Microsoft's cloud computing service threatened to block the platform.
Gab said in a tweet Thursday that Microsoft ordered it to take down a pair of anti-Semitic messages written by Patrick Little, a neo-Nazi who ran for Senate in California. Azure said if Gab did not comply in two days it would suspend its cloud services for the microblogging site, effectively taking it down.
Little on Thursday afternoon voluntarily deleted the posts.
Little’s posts had advocated for physically harming Jews. In one post, Little said he would livestream himself destroying an unspecified Holocaust memorial in the U.S.
In a letter to Gab, Microsoft had said that the "Azure Safeguards team received a complaint about malicious activity” on their platform. The company told Gab that it is “responsible for addressing complaints from third parties” for violating Azure’s service terms.
Microsoft defended its decision in a separate statement.
"Microsoft received a complaint about specific posts on Gab.ai that advocate ‘ritual death by torture’ and the ‘complete eradication’ of all Jews. After an initial review, we have concluded that this content incites violence, is not protected by the First Amendment, and violates Microsoft Azure’s acceptable use policy," Microsoft said in a statement to The Hill.
Gab has been adopted by members of the alt-right and white supremacists who have been barred from other social media platforms. The company though insists its only committed to free speech and does not support any positions or ideologies.
Microsoft’s action comes as a wave of platforms has begun to crack down on Infowars, a site which has promoted conspiracy theories. Over the past two weeks, Spotify, Apple, Facebook and YouTube have all booted Infowars from parts of their platforms.
Little and Infowars are different ideologically, but the moves appear to a part of a larger effort to curb harmful speech online.
Infowars founder Alex Jones, for example, pushed false conspiracy theories that the students in the Parkland, Fla. shooting this year were crisis actors, and claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 was staged.
Updated at 3:52 p.m.