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Network provider drops website 8chan after El Paso shooting

By
Darryl Coote
Cloudflare stopped providing service to 8chan, a website connected to three mass shootings. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI
Cloudflare stopped providing service to 8chan, a website connected to three mass shootings. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Internet services provider Cloudflare said it has stopped hosting a controversial website that is connected to at least three mass shootings.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince made the announcement Sunday following revelations that shortly before the El Paso, Texas, shooting at a Walmart Supercenter, the alleged gunman posted a four-page manifesto to 8chan, a controversial website his company hosted.

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"We have just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight, Pacific Time," Prince said in a statement. "The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and 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."

Authorities are reviewing the manifesto to determine if it was written by 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who is being held on suspicion of killing 20 people Saturday at the Texas Walmart.

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In the manifesto, the writer expresses support for the gunman of the Christchurch, New Zealand, massacre when a self-proclaimed white supremacist allegedly opened fire on two mosques killing 51 people.

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Prince said 8chan is also connected to two other mass shootings.

Prior to the Christchurch massacre, the alleged shooter posted a manifesto to 8chan while a "hate-filled 'open letter'" was published on the website allegedly by the man accused of killing one woman in a shooting at a California synagogue, he said.

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"8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate," Prince said.

The anonymous website has long been criticized for harboring hate speech. The Anti-Defamation League has said 8chan is "rife with white supremacist, hateful, anti-Semitic bigotry."

Prince said his company has previously terminated business with the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, which not long after being booted from the internet found another company willing to host it.

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Similarly, he expects 8chan to soon be back online.

"While removing 8chan form our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online," he said. "it does nothing to address why mass shootings occur."

Earlier Sunday, Frederick Brennan, the founder of 8chan, told the New York Times that the site should be shut down.

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"It's not doing any good," he said. "It's a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It's a negative to them, too. They just don't realize it."

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8chan told its users via Twitter that they might experience "some downtime in the next 24-48 hours" after being dropped by Cloudflare

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