North America

Outages at website used by El Paso shooter

Fredrick Brennan started the online message board 8chan in 2013. Source: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The website 8chan, which hosted screeds by the El Paso shooter and the Christchurch gunman, has found a new host after being dumped following the mass shooting.

The online message board 8chan has suffered sporadic outages after its cybersecurity provider cut it off for what it called a "cesspool of hate" following mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

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

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

8chan was up and down on Monday after the security company Cloudflare said it would no longer provide services that protect websites from denial-of-service attacks that can make them unreachable.

The operators of 8chan said there might be downtime in the next one or two days as the site sought a solution, and online records indicated the site had been moved to a new domain host: Washington-based web services provider Epik.com.

8chan has become a megaphone for mass shooters, with white nationalists actively recruiting.
8chan has become a megaphone for mass shooters, with white nationalists actively recruiting.
8chan

The company bills itself on its site as "the Swiss bank of domains".

Police are investigating commentary posted on 8chan and believed to have been written by the suspect in a 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 earlier in the year and another at a California synagogue.

The United States is in mourning following two mass shootings that left 29 people dead in less than 24 hours.
The United States is in mourning following two mass shootings.
NYT

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 California, also posted a "hate-filled 'open letter"' on 8chan, as did the mosque attacker in Christchurch.

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

Prince acknowledged that little can be done under current rules to silence sites like 8chan.

Two years ago, Cloudflare terminated service to the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist site.

"Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting," Prince wrote. "They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare's problem, but they remain the internet's problem."

In fact, the Daily Stormer's new security provider, BitMitigate, was purchased in February by Epik.com , whose CEO is Robert Monster of Washington.

In November, Monster defended in a blog post his company's decision to host Gab.com after its previous domain host, GoDaddy, dropped it.

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