8chan Goes Offline After Cloudflare Pulls Support After El Paso Shooter Used Website

8chan was slammed by founder as refuge for 'domestic terrorists' in wake of shooting

Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, August 4, 2019
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

U.S. cyber security firm Cloudflare on Monday said it would terminate online message board 8chan as a customer after a gunman used the messaging forum prior to killing 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas on Saturday. The website went offline Monday as a result of Cloudflare's termination of support for the site.

The gunman is believed to have posted a four-page statement on 8chan, and called the Walmart attack "a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas".

Fredrick Brennan, who founded 8chan in 2013, told the Washington Post, “Once again, a terrorist used 8chan to spread his message as he knew people would save it and spread it. The board is a receptive audience for domestic terrorists.”

Police in the Philippines, where 8chan is hosted, told Reuters they were investigating the messaging board but were unable to give details, such as when the inquiry began and what prompted it.

The suspect was officially identified as a 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb about 650 miles (1,046 km) east of El Paso, which lies along the Rio Grande, across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juarez. Citing law enforcement officials, media named the suspect as Patrick Crusius.

The suspect's post on 8chan expressed support for the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

"We just sent a notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time," Cloudflare Chief Executive Matthew Prince said in a blog a post.

"Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he (gunman)posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack."

Prince's blog added that while 8chan did not violate the law by not moderating the "hate-filled" content posted by users, it had "created an environment that revels in violating its spirit".