LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — The online message board 8chan was effectively knocked offline Monday after it was cut off vital technical services following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
U.S. website infrastructure and security services provider Cloudflare announced late Sunday it would stop providing service to 8chan, after the alleged gunman in the El Paso shooting apparently posted a racist screed to the website before his attack.
In a blog post, Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince described the site as a “cesspool of hate,” adding that the service will be terminated at midnight Sunday Pacific Time (0700 GMT).
“The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths,” wrote Prince. “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.”
The suspect in the weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso posted a lengthy racist and anti-immigration “manifesto” to 8chan almost immediately before the attack, which killed at least 22 people.
Cloudflare’s move comes as platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have cracked down on hate speech, citing an interest in protecting their users and fostering healthy discussions.
8chan was also used by the perpetrator in March’s terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as the suspect in the April shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California.
In a tweet, 8chan suggested that the effects of Cloudflare’s decision would be temporary. “There might be some downtime in the next 24-48 hours while we find a solution,” it tweeted.
The message board suffered intermittent outages on Monday morning after Cloudflare cut its services.
Voxility, another internet services company, said Monday it would also cease working with 8chan. Voxility barred 8chan’s new host Epik from its platform, effectively cutting off other hate sites that also use Epik’s services.
Alex Stamos, a professor at the Stanford Internet Observatory and former chief security officer at Facebook, said Voxility and Cloudflare’s rejection of 8chan will make it “super hard for them to find a content delivery network,” making the site unreliable and much harder to use and maintain.