U.S. Company Revokes 8chan's Service After El Paso Shooting: The Website Is a 'Cesspool of Hate'

Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based website infrastructure and security company, on Sunday announced it will discontinue support for 8chan after a gunman allegedly uploaded an anti-immigration manifesto to the website, before killing 20 people and injuring at least 26 others in El Paso this weekend

In a blog post, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince declared that the company will end 8chan's service by midnight on the West coast and revealed the move was sparked by the El Paso shooting on Saturday. "In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as 8chan," he said. "Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack on the El Paso Walmart killing 20 people."

Prince also noted other instances where mass shooters have allegedly posted similar manifestos or open letters to 8chan, such as the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand which left 49 dead earlier this year and the Poway, California synagogue shooting.

"8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate," he continued. "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 went on to reveal that the decision to end support for 8chan was not taken lightly. "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," he added. "8chan has crossed that line. It will therefore no longer be allowed to use our services."

Although the move will interrupt 8chan's operations, Prince conceded that the website will probably come back online "using a Cloudflare competitor."

Cloudflare kicked The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, off their network almost two years ago, but the website quickly bounced back with a competing infrastructure provider and is still available today.

8chan, an anonymous fringe online messaging board, went live in 2013 and drew a large amount of users within its first year. 8chan has repeatedly been criticized in recent years for its lack of proper moderation, which allows for hateful sentiments to prosper and spread. In April, the Anti-Defamation League called 8chan and 4chan websites that "serve as round-the-clock white supremacist rallies."

Cloudflare's decision came hours after Frederick Brennan, the creator of 8chan, told CNN on Sunday that the website is currently being run "in a way that is indefensible." "If it's going to keep on like this it should be shut down," he said. "I don't want to pile on but they are not doing anything to solve this. They should at least shut down the board for a week or a month after something like this. They are letting their users incite violence."

El Paso
El Paso Police Department Sgt. Robert Gomez briefs media on a shooting that occurred at a Wal-Mart near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019. A shooting at a Walmart store in Texas left multiple people dead. At least one suspect was taken into custody after the shooting in the border city of El Paso, triggering fear and panic among weekend shoppers as well as widespread condemnation. Joel Angel Juarez/Getty