Web security and infrastructure service giant, Cloudflare has cut off 8Chan from its list clients following the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas that resulted in death of over 20 people.
8chan is an American-based imageboard site composed of user-created boards. The site has been accused of being a breeding ground of harmful internet cultures along with the presence of child pornography.
The most recent mass shooting also happens to be the third separate occasion at which mass-shooters upload their manifesto on 8chan before going out and committing the crime. The same happened with the Christchurch shooting in March and another incident in California in April.
Cloudflare CEO explained that they had had enough of 8chan:
8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate. The rationale is simple; they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths.Matthew Prince – CEO
Cloudflare’s CEO also acknowledged the moral quandary they find themselves in when things like this happen. Essentially the company is forced to decide what is good and what is bad on the internet – an extremely trying task once you consider that what is good and what is bad is relative when you’re dealing with billions of people.
Mr Prince said “Cloudflare is not a government” and he feels that law enforcement agencies should be the ones deciding what constitutes free speech versus when that line is crossed and you’re dealing with something more malicious.
The move by Cloudflare to ditch 8chan as a client has resulted on the site being offline for a greater part of the day. Whilst being cut-off is a blow right now, 8Chan could move to a different service provider and restore their service but now there will be greater scrutiny on the website and it will be interesting to see if that results in any legislation against the site or if free speech will continue without limitations.