8chan Is a Megaphone for Gunmen. 'Shut the Site Down,' Says Its Creator.
Posted in: Legal & Security at 05/08/2019 22:06
Fredrick Brennan was getting ready for church at his home in the Philippines when the news of a mass shooting in El Paso arrived. His response was immediate and instinctive.
“Whenever I hear about a mass shooting, I say, ‘All right, we have to research if there’s an 8chan connection,’” he said about the online message board he started in 2013.
It didn’t take him long to find one.
Moments before the El Paso shooting on Saturday, a four-page message whose author identified himself as the gunman appeared on 8chan. The person who posted the message encouraged his “brothers” on the site to spread the contents far and wide.
Three mass shootings this year began with a hateful screed on 8chan. Its founder calls it a terrorist refuge in plain sight.
The El Paso massacre began like the fatal attacks earlier this year at mosques in New Zealand and a San Diego-area synagogue: with a racist manifesto and announcement on the anonymous message board 8chan, one of the Web’s most venomous refuges for extremist hate.
Like after the shootings in Christchurch and the Chabad of Poway synagogue, the El Paso attack was celebrated on 8chan as well: One of the most active threads early Sunday urged people to create memes and original content, or OC, that could make it easier to distribute and “celebrate the [gunman’s] heroic action.”
8chan: the far-right website linked to the rise in hate crimes
The suspect in the massacre that left 51 Muslims dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, allegedly posted a white nationalist screed and link to his Facebook live feed on 8chan, a far-right message board and notorious bastion of hate speech. The suspect in the shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, that killed one person and injured three, allegedly posted a racist and antisemitic “open letter” on 8chan. And the suspect in Saturday’s attack at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which claimed the lives of at least 20 people, is believed to also have posted a white nationalist rant on the platform.
If the connection between the 21-year-old suspect in Saturday’s massacre and the 8chan document is confirmed – and law enforcement sources told NBC News that they are “reasonably confident” that they are linked – then the El Paso attack will mark the third mass shooting in less than six months that was announced in advance on the message board. The first targeted Muslims, the second Jews, and the third appears to have been aimed at killing Latinos.
Cloudflare cuts off far-right message board 8chan after El Paso shooting
Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare has announced it will stop offering far-right message board 8chan protection from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the wake of the El Paso terrorist attack.
The 21-year-old suspect in the El Paso Walmart shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 20 people, is believed to have posted a white nationalist rant on 8chan before the attack.
Terminating Service for 8Chan
The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are horrific tragedies. In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as 8chan. Based on evidence we've seen, it appears that he posted a screed to the site immediately before beginning his terrifying attack on the El Paso Walmart killing 20 people.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The El Paso shooter specifically referenced the Christchurch incident and appears to have been inspired by the largely unmoderated discussions on 8chan which glorified the previous massacre. In a separate tragedy, the suspected killer in the Poway, California synagogue shooting also posted a hate-filled “open letter” on 8chan. 8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.