The Lawless Way to Disable 8chan: The decision to disable an infamous message board fell to Matthew Prince, an internet executive who is deeply uncomfortable with his own power.

Posted in: Government & Policy at 11/08/2019 22:51

Two years ago, Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, saw this controversy coming and begged not to be put in this position. Then and now, his company—which helps provide some of the basic plumbing of the internet—found itself at the center of the battle over which speech should and should not be easily available online. The more fundamental question is who gets to make these decisions, and it’s being answered by default, in the absence of any legal norms. Who are the deciders? This week, at least, companies like Prince’s are.

Until recently, the infamous message board 8chan was one of Cloudflare’s clients. A breeding ground for violent extremists, 8chan has been the host of advance announcements of three mass shootings in less than six months, including the shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. Early yesterday morning, Cloudflare stopped serving 8chan—thereby disabling it, if only temporarily.

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