Web services company Cloudflare has announced that it will no longer provide security protection to the imageboard site 8chan following last weekend's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
Without the company to protect it, the controversial site will be vulnerable to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have the potential to permanently disable it unless 8chan is able to find another security service.
Cloudflare has cited free speech issues as the reason it has not pulled its services from extremist websites though the company did end support for the white extremist site the Daily Stormer in the past.
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The attack in El Paso, which left 20 people dead and 24 injured, has been described as “one of the deadliest days in Texas history” by Texas Governor Greg Abbot. It was the third shooting this year and has been linked to white nationalist ideology which 8chan reportedly allowed to spread on its site.
8chan is at the center of the discussion regarding the attack in El Paso due to the alleged shooter posting his 2,300 word 'manifesto' on the site 19 minutes before the shooting began. The site's original founder Fredrick Brennan asked Cloudflare to terminate its services to 8chan despite the fact that he is no longer connected to it.
In a blog post announcing that it would terminate 8chan's service, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained its rationale in doing so, saying:
“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.”
Following the announcement, Brennan criticized Cloudflare on Twitter in a tweet which read: “They could have prevented this and chose not to”.
8chan is currently unavailable but the site could still make a return if it is able to find another security service.
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