Cloudflare cancels “cesspool of hate” 8chan’s service

Responding to a number of recent incidents involving the website’s users, the internet infrastructure company has decided to revoke its security service for 8chan, potentially opening up the  forum to DDoS attacks which could shut it down entirely.

A mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend in which 20 people were killed was preceded by the publishing of a white nationalist manifesto on 8chan, allegedly by perpetrator Patrick Crusius. And this isn’t the first time – the mosque mass shooting in Christchurch and synagogue mass shooting in California were also associated with 8chan.

“8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explains in a statement on the firm’s blog. “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.”

Launched in 2013 by Fredrick “Hotwheels” Brennan, 8chan has been the subject of multiple controversies since, including claims of promoting white supremacist ideology, misogyny, and child porn, with links to Gamergate, doxing and swatting incidents, Pizzagate and other stupid conspiracy theories, and almost everything else in the category of despicable shit – mostly as a result of zero moderation from its admins and a no-limits free speech policy.

And even Brennan, who resigned in 2016 and vacated the website entirely in 2018, wants it nuked.

Cloudflare has previously also shut down its service for nazi website The Daily Stormer, but as Prince concedes, this “caused a brief interruption in the site’s operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor”. Expect 8chan to do the same.

“Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online,” writes Prince. “It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do.”

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