Speed Reads

good riddance

8chan creator wants site shut down following El Paso shooting

Frederick Brennan, creator of the online message board 8chan, would love nothing more than to see the site shut down, he told The New York Times on Sunday.

He set up 8chan in 2013 as an alternative to 4chan, another online message board, saying it was open to all legal speech. In the years since, the site has become a favorite of white nationalists who encourage violence, with several users becoming radicalized. Authorities say a racist manifesto was left on 8chan just minutes before Saturday's deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, by a person saying he was the gunman. Messages were also left on 8chan prior to the recent shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Poway, California.

Brennan, who gave up control of 8chan in 2015, told the Times he wants to see the site taken offline before more people die. "Shut the site down," he said. "It's not doing the world any good. It's a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It's a negative to them, too. They just don't realize it." He said 8chan is now run by a father and son, Jim and Ronald Watkins, out of the Philippines, and he has no idea why they refuse to close up shop.

Critics have called on service providers to take 8chan down, and on Sunday night, the website security company Cloudflare said it planned on cutting ties, effective Monday. "We've seen a pattern where this lawless community has demonstrated its ability to create real harm and real damage," Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told the Times. "If we see a bad thing in the world and we can help get in front of it, we have some obligation to do that."