Cloudflare, an online infrastructure service that helps websites mitigate DDoS attacks, will be terminating its service for 8chan following the deadly, white nationalist shooting in El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
The owners of 8chan have already been notified that their services will be revoked, opening the site up for potential DDoS attacks that could shut it down entirely. Cloudflare will officially shut down service at midnight Pacific Time tonight. It is not clear whether 8chan’s owners have found a new security service to replace Cloudflare.
8chan’s owners did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
“While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online,” Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare wrote in a blog post Sunday night. “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,” he continued.
Thank you so much @CloudFlare. Finally this nightmare might have an end. I just want to go back to making my fonts in peace and not have to worry about getting phone calls from CNN/New York Times every time a mass shooting happens. They could have prevented this and chose not to.— Fredrick Brennan (@HW_BEAT_THAT) August 5, 2019
8chan’s founder, Fredrick Brennan, thanked Cloudflare for terminating its service, saying in a tweet “Finally this nightmare may have an end.”
Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, where at least 20 people were killed and two dozen injured, is the third mass shooting linked to both 8chan and white nationalist ideology this year. The first, in Christchurch, New Zealand, brought the fringe website into the mainstream discussion back in April, but Cloudflare declined to revoke its service.
Cloudflare has kicked other hateful sites off its services before, most notably the Daily Stormer, a Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi and white supremacist website and message board. However, a Cloudflare competitor stepped up to replace their services when they were revoked nearly two years ago, and the website is still available today.
“Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online,” Prince wrote. “It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do.”