By Nigel Boys
Although Amazon.com is known worldwide for their vast array of items for sale and they are visited by an estimated 80 million people every day, not many know that they are giving money to white supremacist organizations, according to the Washington Post.
The article continues that Counter-Currents.com, a website who few have even heard of, let alone encountered, belong to Amazon’s Affiliates program, which means they receive money for traffic they send the online sellers way if they make a sale. The white supremacist website was created to promote books by neo-Nazi authors and to advance the creation of an “all-white nationalist state.”
In the five years that the website has been affiliated with the program, Counter Currents has received 7 percent or more of the sales they have funneled Amazon’s way, which amounts to over $5,000 between 2010 and 2012, according to its own reports.
Heidi Beirich, who directs research at a civil-rights advocacy group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), confirmed Counter Currents’ report and noted that several other white supremacist groups receive funds through Amazon by using its affiliate program.
According to a series of research reports from the SPLC, white supremacist groups use three major Internet companies to fund their activities: Amazon, PayPal and Spotify. Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for comments from the Washington Post, nor did their public relations firm.
Although some may claim that these Internet companies have thousands of affiliates and are not aware they are supporting white supremacist organizations, that’s not the case at all, according to the SPLC.
Beirich states that “In all three cases, they’ve been contacted repeatedly by the SPLC and have either declined to enforce their existing policies against hate speech or simply have not replied.” She continues, “I have contacted them and explained, ‘You are literally funding hate groups,’ but they never respond. Someone says they’re concerned, they’re looking into it, they’ll get back to you soon, then, nothing. You never hear back.”
The “banking system of the hate movement,” as Beirich refers to PayPal, collects a 2.9 percent fee on payments sent, she said. She adds that PayPal stood to make more than $1,000 from a summer fundraising event by Counter Currents, which earned the group $40,372. Sixty-nine designated “hate groups” by SPLC used PayPal as of last spring, she added.
A spokesman for PayPal said, “PayPal’s policies prohibit individuals and groups from using PayPal to promote hate, violence or racial intolerance, or to call for violence of any kind against any group.” He continued, “We assess potential violations of our policy objectively on a case-by-case basis.”
PayPal added that they have “a team dedicated to investigations,” but would not further elaborate on that process.