8chan, the controversial website that encourages its users to “embrace infamy,” went offline Monday after its network and security provider, Cloudflare, terminated service after reports that the El Paso gunman posted a ‘manifesto’ to the site just before the shooting.
8chan is an online forum containing mostly image and message boards, where users can communicate anonymously and share content in a barely-moderated setting.
“We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time,” wrote Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a blog post. “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.”
Prince referenced that “this is not an isolated incident,” where a shooter has posted about their crimes prior to the act. Both the Poway synagogue shooter and the Christchurch mosque shooter posted on the site before their respective acts of violence – the latter referenced in the El Paso shooter’s uploaded ‘manifesto.’
Prince wrote that the company “did not take this decision lightly” as they “feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter,” but they “draw the line at platforms that demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design.”
“8chan has crossed that line,” wrote Prince.
This is the second time that Cloudflare has terminated a site due to their content. In 2017 the company removed neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer from its services.
Frederick Brennan, the creator of 8chan but no longer affiliated with the website, welcomed Cloudflare’s decision in a tweet, writing; “Finally this nightmare might have an end…They could have prevented this and chose not to.”
On the official 8chan Twitter account they acknowledged Cloudflare’s decision, and said that there “may be some downtime in the next 24-48 hours.”
One of 8chans administrators posted on Twitter that the site will be back online as soon as they migrate to a new service provider, but that has proved no easy feat.
After being terminated from Cloudflare, 8chan was picked up by BitMitigate - which was acquired by company Epik earlier this year, according to The Verge.
Epik, which is another network and security provider, is perhaps known best for working with far-right friendly site Gab.com.
A researcher from Stanford posted on Twitter Monday that BitMitigate/Epik would effectively be hosted by another company, Voxility, from whom they rent servers and other services from.
Voxility in turn completely removed them from their network.
“Hate speech is totally against our policy,” said VP of business development Maria Sirbu in an email to CTVNews.ca Monday. “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.”
“This is a firm stand from our team and we will not reinstall services for this reseller.”
Sirbu went on to say that in addition to their actions with Epik/BitMitigate, they have been “cutting access” for several IP addresses related to the neo-nazi site The Daily Stormer “over the last two weeks.”
For its part, the same 8chan administrator reiterated on Twitter that they would give BitMitigate “time to find a solution [to] their peering problem” but would explore other options if the problems persist.
Going to give bitmitigate some time to find a solution for their peering problem. If we are still down in a few hours then maybe 8chan will just go clearnet and we can brave DDOS attacks like Ishmael on the Pequod.— Ron (@CodeMonkeyZ) August 5, 2019
In case you were wondering, it looks like the new host of 8chan and Daily Stormer will effectively be @voxility. It looks like Epik/Bitmitigate owns very little of their own hardware and instead rents Voxility's servers and AS.https://t.co/K3NXyVYcUThttps://t.co/zC0csJpQZp pic.twitter.com/pml4bL0kUU— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) August 5, 2019
In light of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince announced that the company would stop providing support to 8chan, adding the site has "proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused tragic deaths." https://t.co/vUdbQbDv3N— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) August 5, 2019
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.— Fredrick Brennan (@HW_BEAT_THAT) August 5, 2019