Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cloudflare ends services for ‘lawless’ 8chan after El Paso massacre

 

 

Digital security and infrastructure firm Cloudflare said Sunday it was terminating its services to 8chan, the message board where the El Paso gunman reportedly posted a racist “manifesto” shortly before killing 20 people.

In a blog post announcing the move, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince described the no-censorship site as “a cesspool of hate.”

“8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare’s service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time,” Prince wrote.

“The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.”

Other right-wing extremists, misogynists and conspiracy theorists have posted to 8chan, which does not moderate content.

Cloudflare’s move terminating its cybersecurity and other services means 8chan could be exposed to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, in which hackers take down a site by flooding it with fake traffic.

8chan was offline early Monday and its administrator tweeted that it was moving to a new service following Cloudflare’s termination of services.

Prince said Cloudflare had not taken its decision lightly.

“We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design,” he wrote.

“8chan has crossed that line.”

Shortly before the El Paso mass shooting on Saturday, the suspect named by the media as Patrick Crusius, who is white, was believed to have posted a racist “manifesto” on 8chan that includes passages railing against the “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.

The author praised the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, which were also announced on 8chan in a racist manifesto allegedly posted by the perpetrator of that massacre.

‘Shut the site down’

8chan founder Frederick Brennan, who has cut his ties with the site, said it should be closed down.

“Whenever I hear about a mass shooting, I say, ‘All right, we have to research if there’s an 8chan connection’,” Brennan told the New York Times Sunday.

“Shut the site down,” he said.

“It’s not doing the world any good. It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.”

The site is now run out of the Philippines by US Army veteran Jim Watkins.

Despite Cloudflare’s move, Prince said terminating services to sites like 8chan would not make the internet safer or reduce online hate.

Two years ago, after a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which a woman was killed, Cloudflare stopped providing services to neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.

“Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare’s problem, but they remain the Internet’s problem,” Prince wrote.

“Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online. It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do. Hate online is a real issue.”

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Abattoir compliance for game meat will kill Eastern Cape industry,...

Last month, the department of agriculture issued a notice saying that the slaughter and dressing of game meat at any place other than an abattoir was prohibited, and that those not complying could be fined or imprisoned

Gauteng health system is heading for catastrophe

While officials remain entangled in bureaucratic knots, clinicians warn that the continued closure of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital risks a ‘humanitarian disaster’

Entrepreneurship will save South Africa’s youth

Complaining about ‘reverse racism’ and BEE serves no one. South Africa’s white youth should focus on entrepreneurship instead

Union calls on government to nationalise ‘profit-driven’ Clover

The dairy’s Lichtenburg factory, which is being closed due to service delivery issues, employs about 380 permanent and 40 temporary workers
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×