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8chan goes down after Cloudflare pulls support in wake of El Paso shooting

Inside the FBI's effort to profile mass shooters
  • 8chan, the website where the suspected El Paso gunman posted a hate-filled screed, was down on Monday.
  • The site wasn't available after its website security and network provider Cloudflare said it would no longer provide services for 8chan.
  • Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a Monday blog post that 8chan had "proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths."

8chan, the website where the suspected El Paso gunman posted a hate-filled screed, was down temporarily on Monday after its website security and network provider Cloudflare said it would no longer provide services for the controversial site. 

"8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate," Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said in a Monday blog post.  

8chan, in a tweet posted late Sunday, acknowledged the decision from Cloudflare and said it expected "some downtime in the next 24-48 hours while we find a solution." Several checks of the 8chan website Monday morning showed it was down. But the news website Vice reported Monday that 8chan's administrators said they had secured the services of a provider called BitMitigate and were back online, although not in all parts of the world. 

Without Cloudflare's security service, the site would be open to online attacks that could interrupt access, the Associated Press noted.

Cloudflare's Prince said the company made the decision to pull its support for 8chan because "they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths." The web security company noted that other alleged shooters -- including  a suspect gunman at a synagogue in Poway, California -- had posted angry letters on 8chan, and described a culture of an unmoderated "hate-filled community."

"We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design," Prince wrote. "8chan has crossed that line. It will therefore no longer be allowed to use our services."

8chan is a megaphone?

Separately, 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan told the New York Times that the site should be shuttered in the wake of the latest shooting. The publication called the service a "megaphone for gunmen."

"Shut the site down," Brennan told the newspaper. "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 realize it."

Brennan started the site as a more free-wheeling alternative to 4chan, which he viewed as too restrictive. Since he founded it in 2013, it's become a gathering site for conspiracy theorists and extremists. 

Daily Stormer

Cloudflare said it had previously made a decision to kick a business off its service, with that case involving the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. 

"That caused a brief interruption in the site's operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor," Prince wrote. "That competitor at the time promoted as a feature the fact that they didn't respond to legal process."

He added, "Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting ... They are no longer Cloudflare's problem, but they remain the Internet's problem."

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