Security Cut Off for 'Cesspool of Hate' 8chan Forum

Ruben Fields
August 8, 2019

Prince said Cloudflare will terminate its services to 8chan effective August 5 midnight Pacific Time.

Online imageboards, like 8chan that allow users to post text and photos, are the latest manifestation of social media's use to spread racism and white supremacy. "We are a registered telco that provides services to identifiable resellers and as soon as we were notified on the content hosted by Epik/BitMitigate - we proceeded with completely removing the reseller from Voxility network". Writing about 8chan for Bellingcat in April, author Robert Evans said, "the overarching goal of /pol/, held by most of its members, is to radicalize their fellow anons to 'real-life effortposting, ' i.e. acts of violence in the physical world".

As of now, 8chan is offline and their Twitter account is the only place remaining on the Internet about the website.

Alex Stamos, a professor at the Stanford Internet Observatory and former chief security officer at Facebook, said Voxility and Cloudflare's rejection of 8chan will make it "super hard for them to find a content delivery network", making the site unreliable and much harder to use and maintain.

In the absence of regulation, it falls on internet services companies in the United States to ban online speech deemed unacceptable.

We're not going to get rid of message boards, ' said Donovan.

While 8chan's role in the El Paso massacre was the last straw, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said it was a chain of events that forced the company to boot 8chan, one of which is the role the New Zealand mosque attack played in triggering the recent rampage.

Legislation has struggled to keep up, especially with regards to online content, but some countries have taken steps.

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A site on the internet is catching some blame for encouraging - the El Paso shooter - to attack. "Shut the site down". In 2017 the company removed neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer from its services.

8chan creator, Fredrick Brennan, praised Cloudflare' s move.

Cindy Cohn, executive director of digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, urged caution in looking to tech platforms and services to address mass violence.

8chan returned an error message after midnight California time, when Cloudflare Inc. said its support would end.

"The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths", Prince wrote. Back in 2018, Epik gave room to Gab, a social network that is laced with people termed anti-Semitic, hate speech supporters and more.

Something similar is now expected to happen to 8chan, a website that users created from the old 4chan community and has a controversial history of its own. 8chan's site administrator tweeted a line from BitMitigate's terms of services agreement that reads, "we leave law enforcement to the experts and will not stop service to any of our clients unless by final court order".

8chan, which is run by an American living in the Philippines, was struggling to stay online on Monday after USA cyber security firm Cloudflare terminated it as a customer in response to the Texas shooting.

However, this weekend's El Paso incident isn't the first mass shooting with ties to 8chan. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. The suspected terrorist gunman had posted to the website 8chan shortly before the tragedy, prompting Web companies to cut 8chan off.

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