Monday 19 August 2019

'Cesspool of hate' website used by gunman is forced offline

People take part in a rally against hate a day after a mass shooting at a Walmart store, in El Paso, Texas. The placard reads, 'This is caused by racism'. Photo: REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
People take part in a rally against hate a day after a mass shooting at a Walmart store, in El Paso, Texas. The placard reads, 'This is caused by racism'. Photo: REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Rozina Sabur

Internet message board 8chan went offline temporarily after its cyber-security provider cut off what it called a "cesspool of hate" linked to the shootings in Texas and Ohio.

But the website, which has a history of use by violent extremists, quickly found a new online host.

That company also provides such support for Gab.com, a social media site frequented by white supremacists that doesn't ban hate speech.

Security company Cloudflare said that it would no longer provide 8chan with its services, which protect websites from hacker-led denial-of-service attacks that can make them unusable.

Police are investigating commentary posted on 8chan and believed to have been written by suspect Patrick Crusius in the shooting on Saturday that killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas.

If there is a connection, it would be the third known instance of a shooter posting to the site before going on a rampage, following mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques in the spring, and another at a California synagogue.

The suspect in El Paso "appears to have been inspired" by discussions on 8chan, said Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a blog post on his company's site. He said a suspect in an earlier shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, also posted a "hate-filled 'open letter'" on 8chan, as did the mosque attacker in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate," wrote Mr Prince. "They have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths."

The move follows calls from Fredrick Brennan, 8chan's founder, to shut down the site. Mr Brennan, who is no longer involved with the forum, said its administrators "are running it in a way that is indefensible".

"If it's going to keep on like this it should be shut down," he said. "They are not doing anything to solve this. They are letting their users incite violence." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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