Shutting Down 8chan

By Abhijit Phanse – 11, Aug 2019

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It has come to our attention that the UnitedLayer datacenters have been used by one of our customer’s customer to host 8chan. We have taken action to immediately and permanently shut down all services related to 8chan. A platform promulgating hate and inspiring mass shootings in ElPaso and Dayton like 8chan will not be hosted in our datacenters.

As a cloud and hosting provider, we take our responsibility of providing robust cloud and internet infrastructure to all on a fair and equitable basis very seriously. We consider ourselves to be guardians of our freedom of speech and passionately support the internet to be an amalgamation of our diverse opinions — We never want to be an arbiter of information. However, companies like 8chan have crossed a line and we, as a community, have to be on the right side of history in shutting them down. Enough Is Enough. Our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been impacted by these horrific incidents.

We are at a pivotal moment in the history of the internet in determining the rules of engagement, the boundaries of our lawlessness, and the role of government. Over the last two decades the Internet has been the great equalizer, providing access for all — rich and poor — to information and has been the greatest transformation tool in providing opportunity to the broadest segment of our society. It has also become the source of “expected” truth and has achieved the status of “perceived” credibility, which can be exploited by certain bad actors. We are now seeing how the internet can be weaponized to spread misinformation, target and take advantage of the most vulnerable amongst us, and spread hate and promote violence.

While our real world has evolved to develop laws, albeit with many shortcomings, to protect our basic needs to be safe and free, there is no law, regulation, or standard to protect those same basic needs in the virtual world. With so much of our virtual world being tightly intertwined with our real world, these bad actors are causing serious and deadly threats to our society’s wellbeing.

Tech companies are struggling to develop standards for policing their platforms to develop some protections (their Acceptable Use Policies) and each is setting its own standard for how best to protect its users … while trying not to compromise our freedom of speech and expression. It is scary that such decisions are being driven by individual private organizations without a common standard of what is Acceptable Use for the public good.

However, given our lawmakers inability to develop a common standard, individual decisions by tech companies to create a pseudo operating model to protect our society’s basic needs to be safe and free is the only available interim option. While this approach is by no means perfect, Inaction Is Not An Option and we, as a community, need to be on the right side of history in taking the action we can against those who cross the line.

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