America’s open letter to Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince: fuck you


8chan is a cesspool. So is your office.

Dear Mr. Prince:

So, you flipped the switch on 8chan.

In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the first weekend of August, internet domain masking service Cloudflare cut ties with the anonymous web forum 8chan, citing its role in radicalizing white supremacist extremists.

The El Paso shooting suspect was at least the third person in 2019 to announce a shooting on 8chan prior to the actual event. Prior to this, the individuals accused of mass shootings at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March and Poway Synagogue in San Diego in April both posted manifestos to 8chan attempting to justify and amplify their actions.

In a blog post published Sunday night, August 4, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince observed that 8chan “has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.” Citing the company’s own precedent of shuttering the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer in 2017 — a response to the murder of peaceful protester Heather Heyer during the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — Prince explained that his company developing policy regarding 8chan and extremist sites was something of a revised version of its former commitment to free speech above all else.

“We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible,” he wrote, “but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design. 8chan has crossed that line.”

You concluded, in the most truthful thing you may ever have said:

“…they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths,” wrote Prince.

Good for you.

Except no.

Is 8chan a “cesspool of hate”? Absolutely. Did it become one over the weekend? Nuh-uh. They are what they are, but more importantly, they’re what they have been for a long time. Their crimes against our society include:

  • 2015-2019: Swatting
  • 2016: Pizzagate
  • 2016: Donald Trump presidential campaign
  • 2018: Gamergate
  • 2018: QAnon
  • 2018: Louisiana Police’s antifa list
  • 2019: Christchurch mosque shootings
  • 2019: Poway synagogue shooting
  • 2019: El Paso shooting
  • Ongoing: Child pornography

You and your company have provided aid and comfort to this, well, cesspool for years. You’ve been the Web Performance & Security Company of choice for white supremacy, pedophilia and radical misogyny, even as they time and again demonstrated, in unambiguous terms, who they are and what “values” they serve. You’ve had ample opportunity to do something and you chose not to.

You aren’t the first tech CEO we Americans have encountered, and your attempt to stand on the principle of free speech is the funniest thing many of us have probably heard all day. You cut the cord on 8chan for one reason and one reason only: you took a look around and saw your actions threatening to catch up to your revenue numbers.

Yes, the denizens of 8chan are down in the cesspool, all right. And you’re flopping around with them.

They couldn’t have done it without you, and may the remainder of your life be rich with karma’s blessings.