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Cloudflare takes down 8chan, adds temporary fix to an ongoing problem

After enabling three of 2019’s worst mass shootings, the plug is set to be pulled on 8chan. The question, however, is for how long.

 

 

Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare has announced that they will stop providing service to 8chan in the wake of the El Paso shooting, with the company describing the site as a “cesspool of hate.”

“The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths,” wrote Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince. “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.”

Cloudflare is a company that handles around 10% of the globe’s internet traffic, and will not take down the site per se, but will choke off the flow of traffic to 8chan.

8chan has shot to notoriety as of late, as it was the platform the El Paso shooter chose to post his manifesto. The same medium was used by the individuals who enacted the mass shootings in two Christchurch mosques and a synagogue in California.

Prior to terminating service to the site, Prince told The Guardian that he wanted to “kick 8chan off our network,” but also expressed hesitation to The New York Times because pulling the plug would make it harder for the law to collate evidence. Nevertheless, 8chan will be offline in about five hours.

 

8chan has shot to notoriety as of late, as it was the platform the El Paso shooter chose to post his manifesto. The same medium was used by the individuals who enacted the mass shootings in two Christchurch mosques and a synagogue in California.

 

2017 saw Cloudflare taking a similar stand, terminating service to white supremacist site Daily Stormer. However, that site lives on with a Cloudflare competition. “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.

Clearly, 8chan will probably live on, as profit will overcome empathy, and another competitor will snatch up the site. But as some online are noting the complicated features of the internet’s new sheriff. The New York Times‘ Kevin Roose openly wondered who we’re most comfortable with playing the censor.

 

 

Prince noted that the company “continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter and do not plan to exercise it often.”

 


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In response to the ban, 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan tweeted his congratulations, stating: “Thank you so much @CloudFlare. Finally, this nightmare might have an end. I just want to go back to making my fonts in peace and not have to worry about getting phone calls from CNN/New York Times every time a mass shooting happens. They could have prevented this and chose not to.”

On that note, the 8chan’s current admin tweeted the following, seemingly confirming that Cloudflare’s replacement has already been found.

 

 

I don’t want to be cynical, but today’s decision echoes the same as the one they made in 2017. Leaving their stand as important, but rather useless. 8chan will remain the internet’s problem, not theirs.

 

 

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