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VERIFY: Yes, Antifa.com redirects to Joe Biden's campaign website, but that doesn't mean the two are affiliated. Here's why

Viewers emailed the Verify team about a website called "antifa.com," asking why it redirects to Joe Biden's campaign site. Here's what our Verify team found out.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

If you search Antifa.com, does it take you to Joebiden.com, Joe Biden's official campaign website?

ANSWER:

Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean the two are affiliated. One website can redirect to another, even if there's no affiliation between the two.

SOURCES:

Internet Archive Wayback Machine- examples from June 2, 2020 , August 23, 2020, August 29, 2020, August 31, 2020

ICANN Domain Name Registration Data Lookup

NameCheap Whois Lookup

NameCheap blog

PROCESS:

Three viewers emailed us to Verify a claim about the Democratic presidential nominee: if you search "antifa.com” why does it take you to "joebiden.com," Biden’s official campaign website?

It’s a claim spreading all over Twitter right now.

Our researchers started by typing in the url and yes, as of September 3, "antifa.com" does redirect you to Joe Biden's website. But our researchers discovered that it hasn't always.

Here’s how we know, using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Through the archive, our researchers found that the website has recently redirected to all sorts of things.

In June "antifa.com" showed an anti-fascism message. 

In August, it redirected to a site called “itsgoingdowntonight.org, ” Biden’s website and to "kamalaharris.org," which also redirects to Biden's website.  

So who registered the domain?

We wanted to know more about the domain name “Antifa.com"

So, using a domain name database called ICANN Domain Name Registration Data Lookup, our researchers were able to see that the domain was registered by a company called "NameCheap."

So we contacted the company, who referred us to this blog post published on September 2. It discusses “domain redirects" -- that’s how any website can redirect you to another website, even if it’s unaffiliated. 

Under reasons why someone would use a redirect, Name Cheap writes:

“Redirects can also be used in unauthorized ways, some of which are intended to be malicious. These are redirects that intend to fool or mislead people into believing one site is actually associated with another and can be used to harm a brand or cause confusion.”

Under the blog's FAQ section, it goes on to explain how unauthorized and malicious redirects are allowed and writes in part: 

"...The landing site usually has no knowledge that it’s happened and/or learns later. Second, unless the redirect is in violation of laws, there is nothing to prevent them from redirecting. Usually, there are no laws that prohibit this."

So bottom line--we can Verify, yes, as of the time of publication, the website does redirect to Biden’s campaign website. However, just because one website redirects to another, doesn’t mean that the two are affiliated. 

Our Verify researchers have reached out to Joe Biden’s team for comment, but have not yet received a response.