Published: Thu, August 08, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Website Used By El Paso Shooter Shut Down Over 'Hate-Filled Community'

Website Used By El Paso Shooter Shut Down Over 'Hate-Filled Community'

In a blog post, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince described 8chan as "a cesspool of hate". The El Paso shooter, the Christchurch shooter and the Poway Synagogue shooter have all left manifestos on 8chan, manifestos that were deliberately shared and spread as inspiration for future shooters.

BitMitigate, Voxility and 8chan have not responded to a request for comment from Business Insider. Epik also owns the security company BitMitigate, whose clients include the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist site. In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, he said the site wasn't doing any good and called for it to be shut down. "In taking this action, we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the internet's". "That caused a brief interruption in the site's operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor", Prince wrote.

8chan would have difficultly operating if it didn't receive protection from Cloudflare, a US-based company that provides internet infrastructure services to websites, including protection from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

"What differentiates 4chan and 8chan from other online forums is the anonymity".

Administrators say the site has enlisted another US-based security firm, BitMitigate. Evans himself is a combat journalist who's spent the last few years examining how terrorists are using the internet as a tool for radicalising users and for recruitment.

8chan has been clearly linked to three horrific mass murders: the Christchurch massacre in March where 50 Muslims were shot dead; the Poway, California synagogue shooting in April where one person was killed; and the El Paso mass shooting on August 3 where 20 people were murdered. 'At some point, somebody needed to make the decision on where the limit is between what is illegal and what is freedom of speech and today it had to be us'. The gunman openly said on 8Chan that "In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto".

Fredrick Brennan, the site's founder, has even called for the site to be shut down. "Almost the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand", the Cloudflare statement reads.

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Shooters accused in other mass shootings posted their hateful statements on 8Chan. 8chan appeared to be back online early Monday.

But some critics believe governments should take a more proactive role in stemming online hate speech and the proliferation of ethno-nationalist propaganda, instead of relying on commercial discretion.

"We're at a new dark place today, and the negative attention on 8chan and other platforms that provide this type of hatred room to grow and oxygen are really awful sites".

Cloudflare has been "cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence", Prince said tonight.

8chan returned an error message after midnight California time, when the security company Cloudflare said it would no longer be provide service. 8chan calls itself the "Darkest Reaches of the Internet", and many counterterrorism experts wouldn't disagree. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically.

A researcher from Stanford posted on Twitter Monday that BitMitigate/Epik would effectively be hosted by another company, Voxility, from whom they rent servers and other services from.

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