COMPANIES DON'T LIKE having to cut customers loose. Even if you're dealing with the absolute worst people, turning down money is never easy when you're the one with access to the spreadsheets of income and expenses. That's doubly true on the internet, where people will be happy to misunderstand freedom of speech at the first sign of companies getting cold feet.
But enough is apparently enough for Cloudflare, which has decided to cut 8chan - the anonymous troll factory associated from everything from Gamergate to perpetuating the QAnon conspiracy theory - loose once and for all.
It seems Cloudflare follows the 'three and out' rule for mass shootings. After both the Christchurch shooter and Poway synagogue murderer posted their manifestos to 8chan before they acted, the killer in this weekend's El Paso tragedy followed suit causing the security company to finally call time on the internet cesspit. That'll leave it open to DDoS attacks until it finds someone else to take it on.
"The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths," wrote Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a blog post. "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."
It's not the first time the site has (belatedly) decided to take a hard line with internet hatemongers. Cloudflare hit headlines when it kicked off white supremacist site The Daily Stormer two years ago, and after a little turbulence, it's still going depressingly strong.
"They are no longer Cloudflare's problem, but they remain the Internet's problem," Prince wrote. "I have little doubt we'll see the same happen with 8chan.
"While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the Internet's."
For now, 8chan is hunting down a new security company and has tweeted that "there might be some downtime in the next 24-48 hours while we find a solution." µ
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