Toronto internet company Tucows cuts ties with 8chan after El Paso shooting
8chan, an image board believed to be frequented by the perpetrators of at least three separate, racially-motivated terror attacks across the world is in the crosshairs of internet-kind today — along with any company that even so much as refuses to cut service to the website.
At least 22 people were killed and 24 more injured on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire within a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Suspect Patrick Wood Crusius, who has since been arrested and charged with capital murder, is believed to have published an anti-immgrant, white nationalist "manifesto" to 8chan roughly an hour ahead of the attack.
8Chan, where three racist mass killers have posted their screeds, is protected by @Cloudflare, hosted by @tucows and is monetized by @amazon.— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) August 4, 2019
If you’re doing business with a site that helps people spread violent, racist ideologies, you are just as culpable. Full stop.
Police in El Paso are treating the document, which was uploaded to the controversial message board around 10:30 a.m. the day of the shooting, as "a nexus to a potential hate crime."
More relevant f0r the purpose of this post, it was not the first such ominous (and ultimately violent) manifesto posted to the anonymous online message board within the past year.
An 87-page-long white nationalist manifesto was posted to 8chan just minutes before the deadly March 15 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the suspect behind a shooting outside a San Diego synagogue in April is also thought to have posted a "hate-filled open letter" to the site.
New BenGarrison freedom of speech cartoon today "Pieces of 8chan..."The social media giants keep repeating, “We’re private companies and we can do as we please!”— GrrrGraphics Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) August 6, 2019
post worth a read at https://t.co/g5gNvSVEhR pic.twitter.com/azpXrZv9yS
As news spreads of the connection between 8chan and Saturday's shooting in El Paso, so too did calls for the site to be shut down.
The U.S. security company Cloudflare was first to announce that they'd be cutting ties with 8chan. Web services company Voxility banned the site from its own server, as well as from the sites of any company leasing web space from them.
Toronto's own Tucows — one of the world's leading domain name wholesalers — told a New York Times reporter on Sunday that it had "no immediate plans" to oust the site, but the situation has since changed.
New: Tucows, 8chan’s domain name registrar, which said last night that it had “no immediate plans” to boot the site, tells me it is no longer providing services to 8chan.— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) August 5, 2019
"8chan is no longer with us and hasn't been since late Sunday night," said a spokesperson for the Liberty Village-based company by phone.
"We were working very closely with law enforcement at the time as to what our options should be... we were limited in what our choices were."
Noting that some 10 per cent of the entire internet uses the Tucows platform, the spokesperson noted that the company doesn't normally shut down sites based on content.
Tucows, the internet services company, has said it will no longer register the domain of extreme forum 8chan after the El Paso gunman posted a hate-filled manifesto on the site just minutes before killing 22 people https://t.co/Au89rCMXdT pic.twitter.com/QGVCTxeQJ0— Forbes (@Forbes) August 5, 2019
"Giving us the ability to say what is and is not on the internet is very serious," he continued. "We will not take action for content scenarios. We need to be very careful with that."
The rep wouldn't say how, exactly, it happened, but confirmed that as of 1:30 a.m. on Monday, 8chan had "been transferred out to another registrar."
As of Tuesday afternoon, the controversial image-based message board, which bills itself as "the darkest reaches of the internet" remains up and running.
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