Have been you conscious that the “.af” area extension is run by Afghanistan’s authorities? That’s a fact that the “queer.af” Mastodon occasion is now reckoning with because the Taliban, which has managed the nation since 2021, has shut down the area, in accordance with 404 Media. And it will not be alone, given stories that different .af domains have abruptly gone darkish, too.
Erin Shepherd, the administrator of the occasion and key ActivityPub developer, advised the outlet they had been already planning “to close issues down” as an alternative of renewing in April, however that the early termination was a shock. An electronic mail from the Afghanistan Ministry of Communications and IT that Shepherd posted mentioned that the queer.af area had been suspended and that web sites or emails linked with it “will stop working shortly.” The occasion had been in place since July 2018, 404 writes, as a spot “for individuals who are queer or queer-adjacent who would really like a extra nice social media expertise.”
Shepherd mentioned in one other put up that each one .af domains acquired by means of the Gandi area registrar had been shutdown, mentioning inet.af as one. We’ve reached out to Gandi to confirm and to ask for extra data, however in the mean time, a message on Gandi.net says that the registrar is not registering, renewing, transferring, or restoring .af domains. Web Archive captures present the location had already stopped taking new registrations for the area extension by October 2020 and disabled renewals of it by November of last year.
When nation code top-level domains (TLD), or ccTLDs, are used exterior of these nations, it will probably have substantial downstream results like this or, as 404 notes, may even be an enormous supply of earnings for smaller nations like Tuvalu, which made sufficient cash off of its “.television” ccTLD to fund its entry into the United Nations in 2000.
However there are much less cheerful potential ramifications of selecting to make use of ccTLDs, whether or not as a gag or another cause. For instance, Ukraine requested the Web Company for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to disable the Russia-administered “.ru” extension after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. ICANN denied the request, however area suppliers like Namecheap ended services for patrons utilizing the extension, whereas Reddit blocked links appended with it.
The safer different is to make use of generic TLDs like “.com” or “.web,” or any of the many others that haven’t any particular affiliation with a rustic or group, and naturally, most web sites on the web use extensions like these, according to Statista.