Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has ramped up the pressure on websites spreading “evil” hate messages after more than 20 people were killed in a suspected terrorist attack in the US.
American authorities have cited a statement posted online and attributed to suspect Patrick Crusius, 21, as evidence the bloodshed in El Paso, Texas, was racially motivated.
The four-page statement posted to the forum 8chan, which is often used by extremists, called the attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.
Mr Dutton said companies must do more to remove hateful content from the internet.
“They are making a lot of money and they are involved in spreading these hate messages and we need to stop it,” he told Seven’s Sunrise on Tuesday.
Mr Dutton said many online media companies operated out of Russia or other countries, where the rule of law did not apply in the same way as Western democracies.
“If people in Australia can access that evil content, we want to make sure we can pull it down,” he said.
Mr Dutton confirmed racist, anti-immigration views were being shared online in Australia.
“There are crazy people in all of our societies and we need to face up to that reality and we need to deal with it,” he said.
Australian man Brenton Tarrant has pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one terror offence over shootings in New Zealand, which were broadcast on Facebook.
The post attributed to the Texas shooting suspect expressed support for the gunman who attacked two Christchurch mosques in March.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison secured agreement at the G20 leaders’ summit in June from world leaders who banded together to condemn live-streaming of hateful content.
Meanwhile, 8chan has suffered sporadic outages after its cybersecurity provider cut it off for what it called a “cesspool of hate” following the weekend’s twin mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
But the board also quickly found a new online host. That company also provides such support for Gab.com, another social media site frequented by white supremacists that doesn’t ban hate speech.
8chan was up and down on Monday after Cloudflare said it would no longer provide services that protect websites from denial-of-service attacks that can make them unreachable.
Online records indicated 8chan had been moved to a new domain host: Washington web services provider Epik.com. The company bills itself on its site as “the Swiss bank of domains”.
Police are investigating commentary posted on 8chan and believed to have been written by the suspect in a shooting on Saturday that killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas.
If there is a connection, it would be the third known instance of a shooter posting to the site before going on a rampage following mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques earlier in the year and another at a California synagogue.
In a blog post on his company’s site, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said the suspect in El Paso “appears to have been inspired” by discussions on 8chan.
“8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate,” Mr Prince said. “They have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths.”
Two years ago, Cloudflare terminated service to the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist site.
“Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting,” Mr Prince said. “They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare’s problem, but they remain the internet’s problem.”
The Daily Stormer’s new security provider, BitMitigate, was purchased in February by Epik.com.