8chan goes offline as provider pulls support after Texas shooting

In a blog post announcing the move, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince describes the site as 'a cesspool of hate'.

    8chan goes offline as provider pulls support after Texas shooting
    Far-right activists, misogynists and conspiracy theorists have posted to 8chan, which does not moderate content [Getty Images]

    US-based digital security and infrastructure firm Cloudflare has said it is terminating its services to 8chan, the online message board believed to have been used by the suspected El Paso gunman to post a racist screed shortly before killing more than 20 people. 

    In a blog post announcing the move at 08:00GMT on Sunday, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince described the site, which was also used by the suspected attacker in the Christchurch mosque shootings, as "a cesspool of hate."

    "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 wrote.

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

    A few minutes after the Cloudflare service was withdrawn, 8chan, which has also been used by far-right sympathisers and conspiracy theorists, became unavailable.

    But hours later, an 8chan administrator said the service, which does not moderate content, was migrating to BitMitigate. The US-based company calls itself "a non-discriminatory provider" of security "that operates in the fullest consistency to free speech."

    8chan is run out of the Philippines by US Army veteran Jim Watkins

    Its founder Frederick Brennan, who has cut his ties with 8chan, said the site 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 on Sunday. "Shut the site down."

    "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 realise it," he added. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies