Cloudflare, a company providing security and performance services for some of the world’s most popular websites, will stop providing these services for the controversial message board 8chan, announced Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a blog post Sunday evening. The step comes after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, whose perpetrator had announced the attack on the message board.
“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 wrote. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.”
Authorities are treating the mass shooting in El Paso as an act of domestic terrorism, and the shooter is said to have been inspired by the Christchurch shooting and it supporters on 8chan. “8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate,” Prince wrote.
Cloudflare is known for its fairly lenient policies around free speech issues; in addition to some of the world’s biggest companies, it also counts controversial groups like the Nation of Islam, the Westboro Baptist Church and The Pirate Bay among its customers.
In 2017, Cloudflare did terminate its agreement with the Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. That termination resulted in a short service interruption for the site, but it eventually managed to come back online with the help of one of Cloudflare’s competitors.
On Sunday, Prince predicted that the same may happen with 8chan. “Unfortunately the action we take today won’t fix hate online,” he wrote.” It will almost certainly not even remove 8chan from the Internet. But it is the right thing to do.”