Genetic testing companies grapple with how to deal with white supremacists

white supremacist dna test embed
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

White supremacists are using cheap, rapid DNA-testing services such as 23andMe to post “evidence” of their white European ancestry on Twitter and alt-right forums, often in threads filled with hateful language about the genetic inferiority of nonwhites — but the companies selling those services won’t kick them off.

23andMe, which has more than 2 million customers, has banned and closed the accounts of people who make racist, abusive, or threatening comments on its own community forum; however, it stops short of kicking users off the platform for using their genetic testing results to further racist or hateful ideology elsewhere online.

“We condemn all forms of racism. This includes people using our test to advance hate-based agendas,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We don’t condone individuals misusing our test to promote hate.”

Lori Andrews, a law professor who specializes in science and technology at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, told BuzzFeed News that DNA-testing companies don’t have a clear legal responsibility to police how their customers talk about their results on outside platforms.

If a white supremacist posts their 23andMe results on Twitter, for example, “it’s not really 23andMe’s problem, though it’s a hate speech issue,” Andrews said.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: White Supremacists Use DNA Tests To Prove Their Racial Purity Online. But Companies Won’t Necessarily Kick Them Off.

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend