The controversial website 8chan, allegedly used by the El Paso shooter to post a hate-filled screed before killing 20 people at a Walmart over the weekend, was taken offline Monday.
The internet infrastructure company Cloudflare that hosted 8chan announced in a statement that it would terminate its relationship with the website for failing to “moderate their hate-filled community.”
“We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. 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,” Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO wrote in a blog post on Sunday.
Prince called the weekend massacres “horrific tragedies.” He said he felt “uncomfortable” serving as the role of a “content arbiter,” but said there was enough evidence to make an exception in this case.
The 8chan website was also where the New Zealand mosque and San Diego synagogue shooters posted about their intentions ahead of their attacks.
Prince lamented that the website was probably not gone forever. Cloudflare used to host the “disgusting” anti-Semitic website Daily Stormer before it kicked it off its network two years ago. The website was briefly taken offline, but eventually resurfaced with another host.
“Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare’s problem, but they remain the Internet’s problem,” he wrote.
“I have little doubt we’ll see the same happen with 8chan,” he continued. “While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we’ve solved our own problem, but we haven’t solved the Internet’s.”
Read the full blog post here.