Nearly everyone participates anonymously, and the only rule is that users should not post content that is illegal in the United States, such as child-exploitation material. "Ultimately, we believe that the best disinfectant for darkness however this must absolutely occur within the bounds of the law".
Cloudflare is also aware that it will likely face accusations of censorship as a result of its decision to terminate its dealings with 8chan.
Even if that weren't the case, content on sites like 8chan are also hard to stamp out because users can simply move on if moderators grow stricter or if a site shuts down. Prince notes: "While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online".
Following a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday that left at least 20 people dead and dozens more injured, an anonymous forum at the centre of the tragedy, 8chan, is no longer protected by the website security firm Cloudflare.
Within a few hours of losing security from Cloudflare, 8chan was able to move to one of its competitors, BitMitigate, highlighting the difficulties in removing a website completely from the internet. He nonetheless said that terminating Cloudflare's services to 8chan is the right thing to do. The site went offline temporarily after the move, though it is now operational.
Online imageboards, like 8chan that allow users to post text and photos, are the latest manifestation of social media's use to spread racism and white supremacy.
Cloudflare's Prince cited other cases in which hate-filled content was posted to the online forum in the run-up to politically motivated violence, such as the attacks on mosques in Christchurch and a synagogue in Poway, California.
As of Monday morning, the websites for 8chan and BitMitigate were only sporadically reachable amid reports that BitMitigate's own infrastructure provider had taken steps to disconnect the company from the web.
"You can be sure that if somebody starts a thread about fluffy bunnies, it will be only a couple of posts before that devolves into hate as well", he said. "Even after these bad crimes and the connection the 8chan forum has to them, I don't see much of a likelihood of a pretty serious debate about how the companies should be regulated". 8chan has crossed that line.
"We continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter and do not plan to exercise it often", Prince said in the post.
Cloudflare had earlier resists de-platforming 8chan, though in the wake of the 2017 events in Charlottesville, it did remove the neo-Nazi-associated site The Daily Stormer, under pressure from politicians and the media. Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and "still disgusting", Prince said.
"I have little doubt we'll see the same happen with 8chan".
"In taking this action we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the Internet's", said Prince.
Visitors attempting to reach 8chan around 5pm Sunday evening received a "TIMED OUT" error message saying, 'This site can't be reached.' It's unclear when the site officially went down.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, denounced online communities for "propelling young people towards violence", stating: "The Homeland Security Committee has been closely tracking the accelerating pace of online radicalization".