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    Now that they have shown that they will take down websites for moral reasons (or give in to public pressure), they will be forced to police more and more of their customers. This is one year after their first public take-down. I expect the rate to accelerate from here on.

    One day they will be taken to court and will try to argue that they are just a pipe and all those cases will be cited as an argument that they are not.

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      I agree with all of that. I’d just add that if history is anything to go by then long before they lose in court their takedown procedures will be formalized and captured by the political right.

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        My point was more that Cloudflare is signaling that they are part of the politician toolbox and so are going to lose control of who they can serve or not. Both sides are using the same tools. This is going to directly impact the trust and relationship they have with their customers.

        Anyways, alternatives will popup and the Internet will be fine. The real tragedy is really the families who are suffering right now and all the American people pointing fingers at each-other and trying to solve a crisis in 140 characters.

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        This is the most likely, and most concrete, takeaway I have seen all day.

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        News is the mindkiller, and I doubt discussion here will be worth the flames that we risk.

        That said…

        Among other things, that resulted in us cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence. We will continue to work within the legal process to share information when we can to hopefully prevent horrific acts of violence. We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare’s scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.

        This is problematic in the extreme.

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          News is the mindkiller, and I doubt discussion here will be worth the flames that we risk.

          Yaaaaawn.

          This is problematic in the extreme.

          I’m inclined to agree with you there, maybe not that strongly. A subthread that I see in the Shopify and Cloudflare statements of the last years is that they consider themselves basic, unreplacable, state-critical infrastructure like a phone provider, which just isn’t the case.

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            While I agree that legally mandating such things would be problematic (it isn’t currently mandated, as far as I’m aware), I suspect you and I would come up with different reasoning for why it’s problematic.

            Meanwhile, Cloudflare mostly seems concerned with public perception, and wants to be seen to be doing something rather than actually do something. I’ve seen claims that this is probably also related to plans to IPO in the not-too-distant future, which often motivates a bit more curation of a company’s public image, at least for a little while.

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              I’ve seen claims that this is probably also related to plans to IPO in the not-too-distant future

              Highly likely. They’re a big, growing company aiming to make a pile of money. Such companies often do PR work to boost sales and/or retain customers.

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              This is problematic in the extreme.

              As this has been a potential legal requirement for a long time now [0], is the problematic part that they are doing this willingly (as I infer from the paragraph’s tone) rather than under threat of federal penalties [1]?

              Or is the problematic part something simpler, i.e. that they are saying this aloud? And in either case, is it any more problematic than it was last week or last month?

              [0] So-called “National Security Letters” have existed in something like their current form since 1986.
              [1] They initially had no penalties, technically, and got their teeth in 2006.

              (For anyone new to this topic, remember to support the EFF. They fight long and hard on the principles about exactly these sorts of things)

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                Yes, it is a legal requirement. The problematic part is using it as an argument why they should do it.

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                  Good clarifying questions!

                  In order: yes, sorta, again sorta.

                  Yes, it’s more problematic because they are saying that they view a personal moral requirement and that they will voluntarily exercise their (growing, vast) surveillance capabilities to do this. Again, quoting for emphasis:

                  We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare’s scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.

                  Like, references to “the deeper problem” looks a little spooky–especially when the deeper problem isn’t explained in terms of the social/political/economic conditions that make radicalization so attractive.

                  For the next bit, sorta. It’s not quite that they are saying this out loud–like, the problem was already there, they’re probably already doing it. Buuuut, it does give them the chance to get mainstream techie support for their behavior and capabilities because of leveraging an odious event. That’s always how these things happen, right. That’s also why my answer to your third question is sorta.

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                    get mainstream techie support for their behavior and capabilities

                    I feel the negative moral valence attached to the “behavior and capabilities” in question here, but I really struggled to put my finger on the specifics, and it led to some interesting thoughts.

                    First I considered this it in the context of Network Neutrality-esque discussions: maybe a CDN could legally be required to be a “dumb cache” similar to the Network Neutrality goal of requiring an ISP to be a “dumb pipe” (broadly and conceptually, not necessarily thinking about the former Title II implementation).

                    But then I realized the capability you referenced had a key phrase above: “growing, vast surveillance capabilities”. Even being a “dumb cache” doesn’t stop anyone from looking in said cache and performing services, for legal authorities or for customers.

                    It seems you take issue with Cloudflare being able to perform monitoring of any users of any site that has opted to be their customer? That seems like the responsibility of the site itself, no? Wouldn’t Cloudflare just be helping? Or is the issue that, because Cloudflare is in the US but a customer might not be, the customer is now subject to a form moderation beyond what is required in their jurisdiction? The Cloudflare blog post does mention that their are no shortage of competitors who are happy to step in, so there is a market alternative in that case.

                    On the other hand, if Cloudflare is helping a site enforce its existing content policies (e.g. 8chan supposedly has a policy against violent threats?), that seems like it might equally be a useful service offering. The only difference from the “but they’ve been doing that” status quo is the visibility.

                    Think of all of the recent hullabaloo about moderation (ala Facebook and Twitter), especially discussions of legal requirements to do so (to say nothing of Australia passing an actual law). For any site or community which relies on user-generated content, and which has policies they would like to enforce, but cannot afford the moderation workforce to do so (i.e. is not Facebook-scale), they could pay their CDN to help them do so for much cheaper. They are already paying the CDN to have the data, so it seems like the most efficient spot for that kind of moderation assistance? Especially if it comes with a CYA for the site operator from the oncoming dogpile of content liability legislation.

                    And if the site owner is making the choice, and paying for Cloudflare Cloudmod™ Content Reports a service, it would at least be more transparent in the website’s ToS, privacy policies or otherwise (hopefully?).

                    That is: people would not join huge online communities and still feel a false sense of flying-under-the-radar complacency? It’s not that people expect “privacy” in these situations, because they are making public posts, but I have always felt people have a sense along the lines of “Who am I, Stephan McUnimportant, to be banhammered for my threats?”

                    Anyway, pulling back from psychological analysis of forum posters, and having laid out my thinking on a content moderation service, I half-expect to see an applicable AWS CloudFront add-on spring up next week. After all, they are the #2 CDN after Cloudflare (iirc) and it might make for a compelling competitive offering.

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                Boy, this might not be a popular opinion, but here it goes…

                Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it?

                If 8chan uses Let’s Encrypt (I don’t know if they do), should their TLS certs be revoked?

                It’s no secret that 8ch is extreme compared to the rest of the internet. But on the gunman’s thread, apparently 8chan mocked the shooter. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the thread; that info comes from hearsay around the internet. The point is, we’re getting our news about this incident from sources other than 8chan, because it seems like most of us don’t participate on 8chan.

                Note that Cloudflare has terminated support for a social network for sex workers: https://twitter.com/SarahJamieLewis/status/1158203593071067136

                It’s very easy to jump on the bandwagon of targeting 8chan for this. It’s not so easy to carefully consider the long-term implications of shutting down years-long websites with active communities.

                8chan’s cloudflare protection terminates in just over three hours. We’ll see if a gigantic DDoS is about to follow.

                I think this is one step closer to the web becoming a series of centralized institutions. And personally, I don’t like the implications of that. The New Zealand shooter livestreamed his attack on Facebook, yet faced no repercussions. When I tried to google for 8chan, the site is completely absent in the search results. I had to use ddg just to get to it.

                This is simply my own point of view though. I understand and respect that others have different feelings on the matter.

                EDIT: I found a copy of the 8chan thread: https://web.archive.org/web/20190803162950/https:/8ch.net/pol/res/13561044.html

                I encourage all of you to read the community response and form your own conclusions.

                EDIT2: 8chan is now offline. I assume they’ll be back up within 48 hours, but for better or for worse, cloudflare basically took down this site on short notice in the middle of the night on a Sunday.

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                  Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it?

                  I assume the post would be removed for violating site policy and wouldn’t harbour it - no need for the state to force the site.

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                    Certainly. Calls for violence are against 8chan’s ToS too.

                    It could be true that 8chan doesn’t enforce their ToS. But we don’t have the data, and it seems plausible that 8chan deleted the thread when the moderators became aware of it.

                    EDIT: It’s impossible to know for sure, but people are claiming that 8chan took down the manifesto within minutes, and reacted faster than Facebook did. https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/cm4on1/cloudflare_to_terminate_service_for_8chan/ew075j6/

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                      I think the ToS and how fast the manifesto was removed is irrelevant.

                      The events leading up to the shooting rampage are what matter. There is every indication that over the last six months multiple terrorist attacks were committed by people radicalized on 8chan. The whole extremist community is the problem, not how fast they respond to obvious signs of extremism once an atrocity has been committed.

                      There is one method we know that works for extremist communities like this: cutting off their platform restricts the extent they can recruit and pushes them underground, where they can be better contained.

                      Are there some non-extremist parts of 8chan? Possibly, but it’s also irrelevant. Having a community engage in extremism or being taken over by extremists should have consequences and that applies to people willingly associating with that kind of community.

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                        radicalized on 8chan

                        I would assert most people aren’t radicalised on 8chan. It’s where you end up once you’re radical, because only a radical can find that kind of environment sufferable. In a sense, 8chan works as refuge for radicals.

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                          There is probably a progression, however the evidence seems to bear out that 8chan’s environment heavily contributes (but probably isn’t the only factor) in making extremists out of these people.

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                            Radicalization isn’t a binary. I’m sure there are plenty of people posting on 8chan and similar corners of the web who are quasi-racist trolls posting “for the lulz” and wouldn’t escalate to violence. But how much does the insular environment push them further to violence? How much does an environment filled with people saying “kill (((them)))” further push people who are already willing to become violent?

                            Some research on this topic paints a picture of the impact of sites like 8chan:

                            For lone wolf terrorists of the post-9/11 period, traditional loci of radicalization have been replaced by informal online social networks, the civilian workplace, and mass media

                            Lone wolves are enabled through either direct means in the form of people who unwittingly assist in planning attacks, or indirectly by people who provide inspiration for terrorism.

                            During the pre-9/11 era, 57% of the lone wolf terrorists were enabled by others. In the post-9/11 era, the figure rose to 67%. Nearly all of the enabling was indirect.

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                              Out of a morbid curiosity, are they including lone wolves that were groomed by overzealous feds?

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                                In their longer book on the subject, Hamm and Spaajj pull no punches there:

                                The strongest and most provocative work exists in the book’s final two chapters which provide a thorough indictment of the FBI’s Sting Program on its ethical grounding and “for diverting resources away from the real problem”

                                [they] accuse the FBI of “mythmaking”: exaggerating the threat of these suspects to appease a “results driven culture”, to give the impression that America is winning the war on terrorism and to justify additional funding.

                                (doi:10.1080/17539153.2017.1384154)

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                          8chan’s moderation is often laser-focused when it comes to rulebreaking, on the popular boards at least.

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                          8chan /pol/’s moderators did and were trying to remove it for violating site policy.

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                          I can see how you might get to this position, starting from zero or close to it. I don’t even think such a position is bad in the abstract, i.e., if we were to apply a veil of ignorance, I would generally agree that Cloudflare shouldn’t do this. But 8chan and lobste.rs are very different sites, as you allude to. Your hypothetical positions them as equivalents, but 8ch is not the same kind of site. Consider the work done by Bellingcat contributor Robert Evans, that links to his most recent (and relevant) work on the subject. He lays out clearly how the 8ch board members aren’t mocking the terrorist here, but rather encouraging and radicalizing others.

                          A more apt analogy would be if someone posted a manifesto to Daily Stormer, or the InfoWars message boards, or another site which actively works to radicalize it’s members, in those situations, is it ethical for someone to continue working with them if those sites show a longstanding tolerance for speech which leads to terrorist acts?

                          We don’t live in a perfect world, and I am happy to stand at the front of the line in criticizing Cloudflare for lots of things, but I find it difficult to defend a site which so happily supports terrorists and who’s participants work to create more of them. I don’t think it’s ethical to work with terrorists, I don’t think it’d be unethical for Cloudflare, LetsEncrypt, or anyone else to refuse them service.

                          I think it’s reasonable to worry about the web being centralized, but I don’t think that this is any more or less a step in that direction than the existence of cloudflare as a service in-and-of-itself. I’m also someone who generally dislikes any corporation because I’m a weirdo lefty. But that’s another topic.

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                            If 8chan is anything like 4chan

                            Certainly. Calls for violence are against 8chan’s ToS too.

                            Anon imageboards have a simply unsustainable community model. It’s impossible to hold anyone accountable for anything they do on there. Facebook and Twitter has serious problems, but at least if they kick someone off the site, it has some teeth to it (you lose all your followers). The closest thing 8chan has is an IP block, and that can be instantly routed around with a proxy and you lose nothing when you do so. There’s a reason why, despite nominally having a rule against it in their ToS, these sites are known for activities like the Anonymous group, /pol/, and cyberbullying. They might talk a good game about moderating their site in their ToS, but they deprive themselves of the tools to really pull it off.

                            But on the gunman’s thread, apparently 8chan mocked the shooter. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the thread; that info comes from hearsay around the internet.

                            These sites are a lot less conflict-averse than most online communities. I’m not surprised that somebody on there would mock the shooter. There’s probably someone else saying that the shooter did nothing wrong, someone else saying that the shooter was driven to it by our “degenerate” society, and someone else saying that the shooter should’ve just committed suicide and left everyone else out of it. A sufficiently long thread will always have a dissenter in it, pretty much no matter what.

                            I have reservations about this incident, because I don’t like the fact that it’s CloudFlare doing it. I’d rather just have the site shut down by the government for negligent publication of text that incites violence, but that’s never going to happen as long as the big websites lobby against it…

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                              Polite request - could you add a NSFW disclaimer to those top links? Those advertisements are not something I’d want popping up in the office :)

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                                activities like the Anonymous group, /pol/, and cyberbullying

                                These are not against the rules, and so are not bannable offenses.

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                                  You know that hacking, hate speech, and harassment are illegal, right?

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                                    Anonymous are not inherently hackers, hate speech is free speech, and cyberbullying could be depending on the context: I doubt posting about someone online without posting directly to them would be deemed harassment in court.

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                                      I’ve seen calls to directly harass someone not be removed, (and was moderating the other end), so my view of their mods are not as positive as yours.

                                      Hate speech is only free speech in a very fundamental interpretation of it and definitely illegal in many jurisdictions.

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                                        Anonymous are not inherently hackers

                                        Sure, they also did zero-hacking DDoS, spear phishing, and intentionally flooding phone lines, all of which would at least be grounds of a restraining order if it weren’t such a pain to figure out who the order should even be served to.

                                        hate speech is free speech

                                        As was already brought up elsewhere in the conversation tree, “free speech zones” suck like a Hoover. That’s probably one of the reasons you’re on Lobsters instead of /g/.

                                        cyberbullying could be depending on the context

                                        I’m talking about planned raids when I refer to cyberbullying. Not just calling people names in public, but rather calling people names in places where they will be notified about it (like if I posted @WilhelmVonWeiner is a poopy-head on here, so that you would be automatically notified and thus making it probable, rather than merely possible, that you will read it).

                                        Obviously, there’s always an element of context to something like that, but considering how beyond-the-pale the instances have been known to get, I’m curious what definition of cyberbullying you’d use that doesn’t include 4chan raids on other sites.

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                                          No, I’m not on /g/ because 8chan’s equivalent is /tech/, and nobody on /g/ or /tech/ actually knows anything about technology

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                                            I agree, but I’m curious: have you ever thought about why so much more interesting discussions happen on here compared to there?

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                                              …nobody on /g/ or /tech/ actually knows anything about technology.

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                                                Why? Why don’t people who know anything about technology hang out on anon boards?

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                                                  Probably for the same reason. More people who know nothing past consumer technology post there than people who do, so it drowns out anything interesting. This was the case long before the extreme politicisation of imageboards.

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                                    I’m not sure entirely how it works, but I’ve flipped though 4 and 8chan enough to notice that 8chan must have some sort of moderation.

                                    4chan pol is all over the place. Extremists and conspiracy theorists of all stripes constantly arguing with each other and trying to out-troll each other. It’s hard to tell what’s even serious, and I’ve never noticed any consistent position to it all.

                                    8chan pol appears to be full-on Nazis. No serious opposition noticeable. But there also appears to be a leftypol that is full-on Communists, calling for violent communist revolution. Apparently they raid each other periodically, though the righty pol seems to be much bigger.

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                                    Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it? […] It’s not so easy to carefully consider the long-term implications of shutting down years-long websites with active communities.

                                    I would shut down Lobsters rather than run a site where mass murders regularly propagandize their atrocities, yes. This is, in fact, a very easy question.

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                                      There are less easy, more realistic scenarios. Suppose someone posted a manifesto, and then took down an electric grid due to an unpatched security issue, resulting in some deaths. (This may seem contrived, but public infrastructure has historically been the most vulnerable.)

                                      Lobsters has become my home. It’s unfortunate that the community would be shut down due to the actions of one malicious person.

                                      On the other hand, even if you wanted to keep Lobsters running afterwards, you might not be able to, because the wider internet might deplatform your CDN: https://twitter.com/CodeMonkeyZ/status/1158422046176530432

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                                        Why do you keep imagining scenarios of one lone wolf when 8chan has been home to three mass murderers this year?

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                                          Personally, Im looking at the potential of and actual good Ive seen on Lobsters vs some asshole who might do their evil deed anywhere. Destroying all the good Lobsters did and might do over one murderer is a poor trade in my book. I’d rather fight the specific behavior or commenters promoting violence against innocent people to eliminate the problem while keeping whatever good the site brings.

                                          8chan couldve adopted this philosophy. They and that channel didnt care. Damage followed. It wasn’t because 8chan as a whole existed, though. They just didn’t cut out those with the worst intentions consistently working toward delivering on them. The haters weren’t even hiding what they were doing per articles Lobsters shared. Bad administration over there is all.

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                                            Because I am trying to persuade you to think about the implications of what you’re saying. Calls for violence are against the site’s ToS, just like Lobsters, and they actively moderate and ban offenders, just like Lobsters. Yet 8chan is being forced offline for not doing a good enough job in the eyes of the wider internet.

                                            We don’t know how much those people used 8chan. Before the internet, crazies sent mail to news stations to get attention. Why is this any different?

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                                            You seem to be trying your best to treat both sites as equal and come up with a “this could happen anywhere!” argument. But it wouldn’t. Because most sites are not the first port of call for white nationalist terrorists looking to chat with other white nationalists in advance of a terror attack; that honor falls to 8chan and friends.

                                            If your hypothetical came true, most likely the manifesto would be downvoted from the beginning. I can’t speak for mods but would be shocked if it wasn’t removed immediately and the poster banned. The community certainly would not repost it multiple times after that; if you’re looking for that experience, try 8chan.

                                            And the site wouldn’t face any harm afterwards because the community does not have a history of supporting terrorism and terrorists - 8chan does.

                                            These things don’t just happen in a vacuum. Context matters.

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                                              I can’t speak for mods but would be shocked if it wasn’t removed immediately and the poster banned.

                                              That is literally what happened on 8chan. They reacted within minutes.

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                                                Cool. Now try the other two.

                                                Context matters.

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                                              Don’t use weasel words such as “deplatforming” - it’s not what’s happened here. The CDN in question (BitMitigate) was renting hardware and broke the acceptable use policy of their host.

                                              “Deplatforming” refers to the practice of “meta service providers” such as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook of removing content from popular listings, search results, and/or ad revenue for reasons that are unclear to the content producer, or that can change over time. It’s also a dog-whistle used by right-wing commentators who believe that content they approve of is being suppressed by these large social media companies.

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                                                Then why isn’t 8chan up and running again? The site’s still down.

                                                This is a legit use of the term deplatforming. The entire world is coming together to make sure 8chan stays offline.

                                                The host wasn’t the one demanding that BitMitigate be taken offline. The internet was. Reporters even showed up on the Twitter thread – if they had said no, what do you think would have happened? You’re literally not allowed to say “Yes, this content can stay” in that context, because you’d lose business.

                                                Framing it as an AUP violation isn’t really true in that context.

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                                                  Then why isn’t 8chan up and running again? The site’s still down.

                                                  Presumably because they didn’t have a contingency plan in place, other than contracting with BitMitigate, who seem to have built their free-speech mansion on shaky ground.

                                                  No doubt they will be up on the internet in a couple of days. Non olet as the Romans used to say - money doesn’t smell.

                                                  This is a legit use of the term deplatforming.

                                                  I don’t agree. It’s more restrictive than deplatforming. The content is, as you say, inaccessible. Deplatformed content is accessible, as long as you have the direct URL to it. But you are using “deplatforming” in the wider, politicized context. This is just confusing, because people might think that it’s just a question of 8chan not being indexed by Google, or them not being able to use AdWords for ads.

                                                  The entire world is coming together to make sure 8chan stays offline.

                                                  This does not seem to be the case to me. It might look that way on Twitter though.

                                                  Framing it as an AUP violation isn’t really true in that context.

                                                  I’m obviously not privy to the specific terms of that AUP that Epik/BitMitigate signed with Voxility, so I’m quoting from the Verge article I’m using as source for this (it was submitted to HN yesterday):

                                                  “As soon as we were notified of the content that Epik was hosting, we made the decision to totally ban them,” Voxility business development VP Maria Sirbu told The Verge. Sirbu said it was unlikely that Voxility would work with Epik again. “This is the second situation we’ve had with the reseller and this is not tolerable,” she said.

                                                  It seems pretty cut and dried to me. This is a business decision by Voxility, regarding the kind of customers they want to work with.

                                                  (Edit added a quote and a response)

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                                                    It’s probably productive to agree to disagree then.

                                                    A website was cut off from ~all services within 24 hours on short notice. If AWS, Digital Ocean, and every other host refused to do business with you, would you say you didn’t have a contingency plan?

                                                    No doubt they will be up on the internet in a couple of days.

                                                    This is looking increasingly unlikely. I think we may very well be looking at the first large-scale deplatforming of a relatively popular website. I keep using that word because that is the definition:

                                                    Deplatforming, also known as no-platforming, is a form of political activism or prior restraint by an individual, group, or organization with the goal of shutting down controversial speakers or speech, or denying them access to a venue in which to express their opinion.

                                                    No business in the world can host 8chan and face no backlash from their customers. There is no business incentive to do business with 8chan, so all of them will say no. Therefore the world is cooperating to see that 8chan is removed from a venue to speak: the internet.

                                                    By the way, I was blacklisted from HN nearly a year ago after asking about their moderation policies publicly. This is partly why these issues are rather important to me.

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                                                      I agree, I think it’s best we end our discussion.

                                                      Thanks for clarifying what you mean by “deplatforming”. What’s the source of that quote, by the way? I’ll update my vocabulary accordingly.

                                                      No business in the world can host 8chan and face no backlash from their customers.

                                                      You have a higher opinion of the morality of global capitalism than I do.

                                                      Therefore the world is cooperating to see that 8chan is removed from a venue to speak: the internet.

                                                      Let’s get real here - the world is depriving a website the ability to monetize speech that is explicitly anonymous. I have very little sympathy for people espousing the sort of ideology apparent on /pol/, but I have even less for cowards who won’t stand behind their words.

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                                                        At least I was able to persuade you from “It’s not happening” to “It’s happening, but our cause is righteous.”

                                                        The main point isn’t really about 8chan. It’s about leading indicators. Once it’s in vogue to start banning social networks and working together to keep them off the internet, it seems like a matter of time before various communities are targeted by news agencies.

                                                        By the way, you could make the same argument about Twitter: It’s allowed white supremacist content for years. It’s a platform where people go to reinforce their own views. And it served as the largest hub for 8chan followers to figure out where to go next. Ban twitter? Why or why not? What’s the difference?

                                                        (re: the definition, honestly I just typed define: deplatforming into google.)

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                                                          At least I was able to persuade you from “It’s not happening” to “It’s happening, but our cause is righteous.”

                                                          You have done no such thing. I have never denied that 8chan is offline, or the processes that caused it.

                                                          I am not advocating online for the banning of 8chan - I’m not naive enough to believe that this will stop the radicalization of lone wolves. I’m interested in the mechanics of modern web publishing at scale, and how it interacts with free speech. I’ve learned a lot about the roles of CDNs through this story.

                                                          As to my distaste of people anonymously or not advocating mass murder - that’s hardly a fringe position.

                                                          Finally, the definition of “deplatforming”. This is the link I get from searching like you did:

                                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deplatforming

                                                          A quick glance through the reference list shows that this is most likely a partisan article that’s worked hard to satisfy Wikipedia’s standards for notability. Like many other hot-button issues and terms, I do not believe a Wikipedia definition to be a good basis for discussion.

                                                          This is my final comment in this matter. Thanks for the discussion.

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                                            When I tried to google for 8chan, the site is completely absent in the search results. I had to use ddg just to get to it.

                                            Yep. And this censorship feeds directly into the narratives peddled by the hate groups.

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                                              And this censorship feeds directly into the narratives peddled by the hate groups.

                                              Any circumstance would be bent to fit their narrative, so this isn’t particularly relevant to informing policy.

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                                                Sort of, but there’s a little more to it than just that.

                                                As an outsider, it is hard to sell me on “look at the (((people))) that run everything, fluoridate our water, and steal our precious bodily fluids!”. Like, that’s clearly some neonazi nutjob.

                                                But, a smaller complaint–“hey, some metagroup of people don’t like us (nevermind why) and they keep banding together to kick us off of public platforms…you could be next!”–is, critically, able to be backed up with evidence and sold to a rube really easily.

                                                We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of, and, what’s more, we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused.

                                                1. 14

                                                  We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of, and, what’s more, we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused.

                                                  The point of the parent is that they will accuse others of any tactic (and exactly that can be found in relevant playbooks). Opposition is an important democratic property and refusal of support is a the most basic and important form of opposition. And that’s precisely what that strategy aims for.

                                                  Following that demand is just as good as dropping dead.

                                                  1. 17

                                                    We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of

                                                    You absolutely weaken their positions! No platforming is a patently effective way to deny people the ability to spread a fascist message with ease.

                                                    Nobody is saying you are forbidden to print your neonazi newspaper, just that the printing press in town will politely decline your business and the community won’t let you set up your table in the farmers market. Go try to pass it out on the street if you want. If you want to spread your message, we won’t make it easy, you’re going to have to add your own effort & money to the mix.

                                                    More concretely, 8chan didn’t get null routed: a business decided that it was within their best business interests to decline to take money from a web site linked to multiple fascist terrorist attacks. Another business, one willing to attract a similar clientele will likely extend their service. I find it strange that so many capitalists all over the internet are wringing their hands over this… it’s what the system demands, right?

                                                    we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused

                                                    Oh mate, the next time you see coverage of BLM protesting police brutality, people marching against ICE, or a counter protest against the KKK, take a look at the pictures the media puts out: see who is holding riot shields and tear gas guns and which group they’re pointed at.

                                                    The state - not just private enterprise - has favored certain categories of speech over others for over a century. In some cases it has been direct, by passing laws that criminalize membership in certain named organizations, and in other cases indirectly through the use of “investigative committees”, surveillance and support of oppositional groups.

                                                    1. 10

                                                      We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of

                                                      Deplatforming hate groups literally weakens their position. It’s not only acceptable but ethically responsible to do so. Or even ethically necessary: sunlight is not always the best disinfectant.

                                                    2. 2

                                                      Yes! Also, these arguments ignore that there’s also a tangible effect: labor that needs to be invested to build the features yourselves.

                                                    3. 4

                                                      Google delisted 8chan a long time ago because people kept (keep?) posting child exploitation images in there.

                                                    4. -1

                                                      Wow, be careful on that slippery slope! They should really put up a caution sign or something…

                                                      1. 5

                                                        …slippery slope? A quote from a later comment on this post…

                                                        MasonJar avatar MasonJar 1 hour ago | link |

                                                        Uhhh guys, seems to be a bit of an update on this, but it seems that the free-speech-absolutist CDN BitMitigate, which took over 8chan’s service and was also serving DailyStormer, was just taken down by its upstream provider, Voxility. Is this getting disturbing to anybody yet? If you’re okay with a website that doesn’t censor opinions you don’t like being dropped by companies providing services to it, are you also okay with an internet service provider being dropped by its upstream provider because it refuses to terminate services to that website?

                                                        1. 3

                                                          I don’t see how this outcome has anything to do with the alarmism of the parent post.

                                                          And, although you didn’t ask:

                                                          Are you also okay with an internet service provider being dropped by its upstream provider because it refuses to terminate services to that website?

                                                          Yes, absolutely: this was a good and correct maneuver by the upstream provider.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            I replied to the comment in question here:

                                                            https://lobste.rs/s/j72cp9/terminating_service_for_8chan#c_pgcwks

                                                      2. 15

                                                        Good. And a big reversal after todays mealy-mouthed rationale for keeping them

                                                        1. 10

                                                          Cloudflare also used the press release to claim moral superiority over their competition. There is some serious hypocrisy in using that as a marketing point.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            “Of the 2 million-plus Cloudflare customers, they don’t matter”

                                                            That’s also being really honest about Cloudfare customers in general in a way he probably didn’t intend. Companies often have PR people write or review their official statements to avoid exactly that kind of mistake.

                                                          2. 13

                                                            It’s not censorship if it’s a private service, revoking service. It’s reasonable for Cloudflare to decide who it does and doesn’t want as customers.

                                                            What’s not reasonable is for Cloudflare to become a fundamental gatekeeper to infrastructure. As long as 8chan aren’t dependent upon Cloudflare to be able to operate, it’s not a problem. The moment they are, it is.

                                                            1. 10

                                                              What’s not reasonable is for Cloudflare to become a fundamental gatekeeper to infrastructure. As long as 8chan aren’t dependent upon Cloudflare to be able to operate, it’s not a problem. The moment they are, it is.

                                                              They aren’t. There’s multiple other options, including building a CDN yourself.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                It’s not to one needs to have a CDN to provide a website, however much the CDN providers want you to believe that, but including building a CDN yourself as a realistic[1] option is laughable.

                                                                [1] Yes, I know, you didn’t use that word.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  I don’t agree that building a CDN setup yourself isn’t feasible. It’s been done before CloudFlare was on the market. As an example, major FOSS projects do binary distribution, self-built on volunteer time.

                                                                  It’s just expensive compared to just buying CFs services.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    Website in general: yes, you can build without a CDN.

                                                                    Imageboards serve a lot of images(its in their name), which uses a lot of bandwidth. You really need a CDN for even a medium sized imageboard. 8chan is an imageboard.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      Imageboards serve a lot of images(its in their name), which uses a lot of bandwidth. You really need a CDN for even a medium sized imageboard. 8chan is an imageboard.

                                                                      Yes, you really need a CDN. But images are also relatively easy to distribute and extremely disk-cache friendly. You can build a special-cased CDN for an imageboard. I don’t want so say it is cheap or as high-quality and can just be done on the side, but it is a relatively well-understood problem.

                                                                      (I used to build image and video-CDN, FWIW)

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Yes, but there is still price problems, and 8chan would rather not have those. Also, they probably want DDoS protection, as they host controversial content, and building your CDN to handle DDoS attacks adds even more cost. Needing to build your own CDN is not exactly a nice problem to have, and you rather just use somebody’s CDN.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          If 8chan’s business model is only cost effective because they are subsidized by CloudFlare that’s a problem with 8chan’s business model, not CloudFlare.

                                                                          Although I guess it is kind of a problem with CloudFlare as well.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            There’s no moral right that every cheap option is available to you unless you are a protected class as much as there is no moral right to your business model.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Freedom of speech means the government can’t interfere with speech, not that uttering that speech should be as cost-effective as possible.

                                                                              1. -1

                                                                                Yes, but if there was a 1000$ tax on anything that you want to say publicly, it wouldn’t be free speech, would it?

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  This is a non-sequitur. No such tax exists and if it did in a country with freedom of expression, it would be rightfully challenged in court.

                                                                                  Before the internet, if you wanted to get your views out there, you had to pay to publish a newspaper, or a pamphlet, or a book. There was no expectation that you could do this for free.

                                                                  2. 5

                                                                    It always terrifies me that a few years back I was using these boards (albeit not for /pol/, and always opposing it’s brigading) and might have encountered these people in discussions. What’s sad is that even if such a site is taken down, it’s quite easy for them to move on, as long as this movement manages to be coordinated and they don’t fragment.

                                                                    It took a while for infinity chan to take the place of the second western image board, next to 4chan, but honestly, if it would come to the site being taken down, I think the chances are higher than ever that they could set up a new host faster than before, or even start using a decentralized approach, which coupled with anonymity might become even more “dangerous” (only limited by the need for images to be stored).

                                                                    It’s horrible what this kind of format has been associated with, and I sometimes wonder (but don’t hope) that it isn’t intrinsic to image boards per se.

                                                                    1. 7

                                                                      Yeah, I used to use 8chan a lot. Moved from 4chan in 2014 (the exodus) after the moderation started banning people for speaking out against the cultural zeitgeist, and never went back. The site never used to be like this. I think the political situation in the US radicalised the userbase of /pol/ to such an extent they just took over the entire site. It wasn’t always about antisemitism, white nationalism, and celebrating mass murder. /pol/‘s incessant spamming of every board drove most of the users who aren’t far right away to different platforms.

                                                                      1. 6

                                                                        /pol/‘s incessant spamming of every board drove most of the users who aren’t far right away to different platforms.

                                                                        I am reminded of a quote from Scott Alexander’s The Eternal Struggle:

                                                                        The moral of the story is: if you’re against witch-hunts, and you promise to found your own little utopian community where witch-hunts will never happen, your new society will end up consisting of approximately three principled civil libertarians and seven zillion witches. It will be a terrible place to live even if witch-hunts are genuinely wrong.

                                                                    2. 4

                                                                      Uhhh guys, seems to be a bit of an update on this, but it seems that the free-speech-absolutist CDN BitMitigate, which took over 8chan’s service and was also serving DailyStormer, was just taken down by its upstream provider, Voxility. Is this getting disturbing to anybody yet? If you’re okay with a website that doesn’t censor opinions you don’t like being dropped by companies providing services to it, are you also okay with an internet service provider being dropped by its upstream provider because it refuses to terminate services to that website?

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        This comment exemplifies why “breaking news” items are a poor fit for Lobste.rs. Commenters assume that everyone else is in tune with their personal news flow, and reference the general contents instead of providing a source.

                                                                        I figured I’d find something about this latest development on HN, and exactly as expected there’s a Verge article with 800 upvotes and 1,300 comments that covers this.

                                                                        The article headline is clickbait, as expected. It turns out that the vaunted “say anything” CDN BitMitigate is owned by a company called Epik, that rented hardware from a company in Europe, Voxility. (@owen refers to this in their comment). Epik violated the terms of their rental agreement and service was terminated.

                                                                        Frankly, if you’re selling CDN services with promises of being resistant to state interference, not owning your own servers and not having robust, independent peering is akin to false advertising.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Why should anyone be disturbed? Bitmitigate is nothing more than a reseller of Voxility, the company that said “my ASN, my rules”. And indeed they nuked Bitmitigate because of AUP violations.

                                                                          8chan is more than free to call Zayo or HE to buy colo or IP transit!