by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Nearly the same thing happened on 8chan before the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The El Paso shooter specifically referenced the Christchurch incident and appears to have been inspired by the largely unmoderated discussions on 8chan which glorified the previous massacre. In a separate tragedy, the suspected killer in the Poway, California synagogue shooting also posted a hate-filled “open letter” on 8chan. 8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate.
8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare’s service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.
We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design.
Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet. At some level firing 8chan as a customer is easy. They are uniquely lawless and that lawlessness has contributed to multiple horrific tragedies. Enough is enough.
In other words despite the fact that publishing a manifesto is not illegal in the United States and the site in question is based in the United States, despite the fact that “hate speech” is protected by the First Amendment according to the Supreme Court (multiple decisions on same have been rendered) and despite the fact that as a platform there is no mandate to proactively moderate content these folks have declared this specific site, and others, to be “lawless.”
But the fact is that they’re not lawless. They in fact are fully within the boundaries of the law.
Nobody has alleged that 8Chan, or Daily Stormer, has refused legal process or tried to evade it. Indeed, in order to avail yourself of the protections under Section 230 you can’t evade it and you must publish, in a Library of Congress mandated format, contact information and act on take down notices in a reasonably-expeditious fashion. If you don’t you can get tagged for liability, and in the case of something like this, that liability could be criminal.
In other words what Cloudflare has done is declare what the law is on their own as a corporation. They have declared multiple web properties lawless when in fact they are not. That’s knowingly false, it’s actionable and it’s the action of a firm that by its own statements claims market power standing alone, along with going even further and claiming to be efforting to work with others in collusion to effectuate and enhance that market power and enforce its corporate viewpoint upon others.
I remind you that 15 USC Chapter 1 makes any such attempt to monopolize or restrain trade, especially when it infringes on a Constitutionally-guaranteed protection, felonious. It does not matter if you succeed; the mere attempt is a criminal felony.
Yet in today’s world everything is, indeed, backward. Those calling other people “lawless” appear, on their face, to arguably be engaged in collusive action intended to violate Constitutional rights, despite claiming otherwise. Indeed, Cloudflare admits they have no ability to set actual laws, yet they wish to dance on the head of a pin — on the one hand claiming the common business right to “refuse service to anyone” and at the same time claiming to be directly involved in trying to change the political landscape to what they want it to be.
Corporations do not have the ability to vote for a very good reason. And hate, whether online or otherwise, is a serious issue. However, hate speech is not illegal nor can any legitimate government make it so as hate speech is really nothing more than an extension of hate thought, which is exactly where this goes next: Into the gulag you go if you don’t agree with a position that some political leader adopts.
They’re doing that right now in China, but China is hardly the first nor shall it be the last. Stalin “purged” a huge number of people because….. they disagreed with him. Hitler murdered 6 million Jews because…. he disagreed with them. Right now, today, you can be criminally punished in some nations for using a pronoun that someone finds disagreeable yet is factually accurate. We had a declared candidate for President in the present cycle (he has since withdrawn for lack of support) who threatened to nuke anyone who opposed his gun control proposals. We have an active candidate who threw 1,500 people in prison for a crime she herself committed and has admitted to (consumption of marijuana) and she laughed about it on national television. We have a cadre of media organizations who have tried to cover that up and a government office that has conspired with them to remove those arrest statistical records from easy, public view. We have another batch of candidates (Democrats) who have all promised to violate the Constitution, intentionally, upon election in multiple forms and fashions, including but not limited to the right to keep and bear arms. And we have corporate media who have engaged in the most-outrageous of hate speech themselves.