4Chan’s well-known unofficial counterpart, 8Chan, experienced a temporary disruption in service after Cloudflare dropped 8Chan from service following the recent shootings.
Internet services provider Cloudflare announced on Sunday that it planned to cease doing business with an online forum that a gunman apparently used before killing 20 people in El Paso, Texas, the company said.
Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, wrote in a blog post that his company was dropping 8chan after gunmen in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Poway, California, also used the site.
Terminating Service for 8Chan
The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are horrific tragedies. In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website…
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The anonymous forum, which the Anti-Defamation League has tied to the rise of online extremism, had shown itself to be “lawless,” Prince said. “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.”
The message board suffered intermittent outages on Monday morning after Cloudflare cut its services.
In El Paso, investigators are “reasonably confident” that suspect Patrick Crusius, 21, posted an anti-immigrant screed on the site shortly before the shooting. That note referenced the mass killing in Christchurch, when a white supremacist gunman allegedly gunned down 51 people and posted links to a livestream of the attack on 8chan.
In Poway, a gunman also posted “a hate-filled ‘open letter’ on 8chan,'” Prince said. “8chan has repeatedly proven itself to a be a cesspool of hate.”
Cloudflare provides services like protection against common cyberattacks that can cripple websites, and Prince has described himself as a “free-speech absolutist.” The company has only cut service once before — to neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer after a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At the time, Prince, called the decision “arbitrary” and “dangerous,” and warned of growing calls to censor speech on the internet.
Frederick Brennan, who started 8chan, told The New York Times on Sunday that the website should be shut down.
Cloudflare’s decision to stop doing business with Daily Stormer did not mark the end of the extremist website. It is still operational thanks in part to Bitmitigate, a Seattle-based company that provides similar services to Cloudflare.
8chan’s Twitter account seemed to hold out hope that the decision would be reversed or modified.
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 discussion.
Cloudflare, however, is a different type of company, providing services that help websites stay online, which put it in a position of power over the internet as a whole rather than just a particular platform. Prince has pointed to Cloudflare’s role in the internet ecosystem as a major reason why his company has almost always declined to take action against particular websites.
On Sunday, message threads lionizing the recent mass shooters were eclipsed by 8chan users mourning Cloudflare’s decision.
In threads titled “It’s over,” and “The end,” some users suggested alternative sites alongside racist rants and downplayed the effects of a shutdown.
One offered bleakly, “so just post our manifestos to facebook now?” (source, source)
One can read the full statement from CloudFlare here (here).
This is not the “beginning of the end” at all. The rising “censorship,” which is really the restriction of speech coming from the “right” but equally socialist as the left “wing,” is likely not going to die down, but intensify, and probably was done intentionally so for this purpose.
Outright censorship can work, but it depends on the context. In the American context, at this point in history, it is not going to work but rather cause a sever backlash that generates more support. As noted before, the striking details of both attacks- the use of body armor, the connections of the shooters some are drawing between various groups and governments based on the evidence presented, and the consistent statements of multiple shooters -suggests that there is a lot more that is taking place. These “mass shootings”, in a modern context, would seem to be similar to the infamous incidents of “defenstrations of Prague” that happened in Bohemia, after which Germany would just “happen” to call such as a justification for going on war rampages that would involve invading her neighbors, seizing territory, and plundering.
Remember it was on 8Chan that the FBI was openly caught through their own court documents produced to show support for their side that they were provoking violence on the board by responding to their own posts as though they were having a conversation with each other.
The country would seem as though many times it is a giant stage, and we are the stage actors, willingly or unwillingly, in a drama whose climax is meant to be that of a war on a global level, and the public is expected to yield her support of it on some level. Increasingly, the political discourse is either “leftist/communist” or “rightist/national socialist”, with no other positions being proposed as socially acceptable, yet if one notices, both the communist and national socialist positions are rooted in socialism, and so are not different in their philosophical essence, but are the same thing just with difference faces.
This is not a fight between good and evil, but between two demons for the same pile of sand and which they are both attempting to seize the support of the public for it. This is not about “censorship,” but about who gets to censor who for saying what, and neither side is seeking the moral or social good of anybody else, but merely the realization of their own power.
There is another way. It is the way of the Church, which would be to reject both sides as evil, and instead enter through the narrow way, which few desire to avail themselves of but which leads to life.