How do you shut down a website

How do you shut down a website

– After the horrific shooting in El Paso, a small barely moderated forum became the center of attention. – 8chan. – After 8chan. – I mean it was on 8chan. – A site 8chan. – The killer posted a
rambling essay on 8chan, laying out his hate fueled motives. And it wasn’t the first time
this had happened either. Since it’s launch in 2013,
8chan has become known as a place where hate can thrive. Even it’s founder has
said we’d be better off if the site just disappeared. And any company that works with 8chan is under pressure to kick it offline. But how do you take a
site off the internet? Running a website requires
a whole stack of services. And if it gets blocked, or
deplatformed at any level it can become either hard to use or completely inaccessible. At the bottom of the
stack you’ve got the host. The server that actually holds
information for the site. If you wanna reach that
host by typing a link you need a registered domain which is handled by an
organization called ICANN and a series of companies
called registrars. In the middle, you’ve got other services that serve more specialized roles. If a site wants to collect
money with credit cards for example it needs a payment processor, like Stripe or PayPal. If it wants to protect
itself from denial-of-service or DDoS attacks, it needs
a mitigation service from a company like Cloudflare. And on top on all that, there
are big social networks, mobile app stores and search engines that can boost the sites reach. Opponents of sites like 8chan
have targeted every level of that stack and they’ve
seen some success. Cloudflare cut off 8chan’s
DDoS protection shortly after the shooting,
leaving it open to attack. 8chan moved to a competing
provider called Epik but that provider was
leasing hardware from a different company called Voxility, which banned Epik as soon
as it heard about 8chan. After that, 8chan just
dropped off the internet. Is it going to stay offline though? Probably not. There are all kinds of internet
infrastructure companies that specialize in keeping offensive or even illegal sites online. Sometimes just outside the
reach of law enforcement. Anonymity networks like Tor can disguise where content is hosted
or let sites bypass the traditional domain name system. There’s usually no way to ban a site from the internet forever. One of the clearest examples
of this happened in 2017. When the neo-Nazi blog, Daily Stormer was widely condemned for mocking the death of anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer. GoDaddy, Cloudflare, Google and others, all stopped working with the site. And for a while it couldn’t
find anywhere to register a domain name, which made
it very hard to find. But once the controversy died down it found a new registrar
and resumed operating. Members of a site can also
just go form a new community. A lot of 8chan’s members came
from another message board called 4chan, which had
tried to moderate some of its most toxic elements and ended up just sending them somewhere worse. If 8chan gets shut down, users
can move on to other forums or launch private chat rooms. So, what’s the point then? Well, there are a few major arguments for pressuring companies
to deplatform hate sites. It makes it a lot harder
for sites to collect money or run ads, even if they get traffic. It can also make it harder
for people to encounter these dark corners of the
internet in the first place. These aren’t huge platforms
like Reddit or Twitter. At the end of the day, 8chan
is a pretty small place. And as we saw earlier this week, revoking things like DDoS protection can knock a site offline
while it’s experiencing a burst of publicity. Just because you can’t keep something off the internet forever, doesn’t mean you can’t reduce its power. But there’s also a dark
side to deplatforming because it basically
involves asking a handful of private companies or CEOs to act like internet gatekeepers. Cloudflare is incredibly powerful. Almost 20% of the top 10 000 internet properties use it right now. And it has no real system of
accountability or transparency. When Cloudflare kicked off
the Daily Stormer in 2017, Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew
Prince essentially got mad, pushed a button and dropped the site. – I woke up one morning and got sick of these jerks using our
platform and I flipped a switch and they were no longer on the internet. And I’m not sure that that’s a power that any individual,
especially any individual that isn’t politically sort of, has a political legitimacy to them that any individual should be making. – Cloudflare is a private company, and it has every right to ban a customer. But Prince said that he wasn’t comfortable making arbitrary decisions about which sites can stay online. These lower level
infrastructure businesses have traditionally tried to
stay out of content moderation. Because any decisions they make
will have huge ramifications for freedom of speech on the internet. And while banning some ugly sites might seem like an easy call, these companies also face pressure to ban political dissidents
across the world. And repressive governments use a lot of the same arguments to paint those groups as hateful and dangerous. It’s certainly not
ideal to have a few CEOs making huge decisions with no
oversight or appeals process. Cloudflare certainly thinks so. When it kicked out 8chan
it asked governments to establish better guidelines for when to pull a site offline. Lots of countries can access 8chan and if it weren’t so easy
to carry out mass shootings in America, online hate might not spill into deadly violence so often. But at least in the US,
where Cloudflare operates, institutions don’t seem sure how to deal with white nationalist terrorism. And when Congress has amended the law to keep bad content offline,
it’s often turned out badly. Like the FOSTA SESTA bill, which is meant to stop online trafficking. But has ended up making
web companies marginalize sex workers or purge
adult content in general. Crafting policies to address hate online and setting up systems to enforce them could take a long time
if it happens at all. So if people wanna keep
these sites off the internet they basically have to pressure
companies like Cloudflare. Even if the companies don’t
want to be making those calls. Thank you for watching this
is a very serious topic that goes far beyond just the internet. If you wanna help out some
of the communities affected or fight hate groups please just check out the links in the
description of this video.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “How do you shut down a website

  1. Man, I bet the shooter would've stopped the shooting if 8chan wasn't a thing. Whether or not you remove the site, there will still always be these kinds of people. Even if shutting down reduced exposure, that won't make people with a history of hatred change their minds

  2. Somehow trying to make it sound like its a good thing when CDNs police content is one of the most scary and dystopian things I have ever seen…

  3. You can never truly stop hate communities from propping up, but de-platforming also delegitimizes their presence and minimizes their reach towards people who can become potentially indoctrinated.

  4. Can we as a society please get rid of toxic chan culture as a whole? It has been a threat to our youth and moral fiber for too
    Can we as a society please get rid of toxic gamer culture as a whole? It has been a threat to our youth and moral fiber for too long!
    Can we as a society please get rid of toxic anime culture as a whole? It has been a threat to our youth and moral fiber for too long!
    Can we as a society please get rid of toxic mastodon culture as a whole? It has been a threat to our youth and moral fiber for too long!
    Can we as a society please get rid of toxic culture in any community that threatens the control mass media has over people as a whole? It has been a threat to our youth and moral fiber for too long!

  5. Love the information about Cloudflare. Side-note: would you please have the camera crew not do the oblique angle when you’re talking?

  6. what i don't really understand is, why 8chan?
    I get it that 8chan is not a good site or a good community.
    But how does shutting down 8chan help stop shootings?

  7. Step one: infringe on the 1st amendment
    The Unabomber wrote his manifesto on stationery, it’s no different from posting it on some website

  8. What's the moral of the story:

    Brother's keeper or blame the messenger.

    Three step plan: #1 Ignore, #2 Wait, #3 Blame.

    If everything was conducted secretly we'd not know until after the event, then we could blame one or a few people.

    Which drugs should be legal, what strength of alcohol should be sold, which lifestyles and beliefs are OK, how long can or how short must our guns be – and it's like once we know that we'll be fine.

    Diagnosing mental health is the road forward, not more signs and rules.

  9. The verge: *explains what's happening*


  10. Too less graphics. It was pretty hard to follow when u are just following lips and try to concentrate on what she's saying. Especially for foreigners in such a deep topic.

  11. Instead of taking freedom of speech too far, the pragmatic proactive approach worked sure you can have institutions and watch dogs to prevent abuse of power but Hate and bigotry is not freedom of expression. Let's not be too idealistic.

  12. What I really want to know is when will someone close facebook down, since countless shooters broadcasted their crimes there. ?

  13. I like how The Verge acts as a neutral observer, when in many cases it is the journalists, whether in their private capacity on Twitter or official capacity in their articles or op-eds (or both) , who are pushing companies like Cloudflare to act as censors.

    You also didn't talk about the alternative to your way of taking down these sites – the judiciary. Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan's civil suit against the "liberal" cesspit that was Gawker (I am sure you think of them as your brethren in arms in the battle for "free speech" and against Orange Man). Hogan won and was awarded immense damages, which forced Gawker to close (womp-womp…)

    It would be very easy to get shooter's logs from like minded hosting/Internet providers and prove he spent a lot of time there and was influenced by it.

  14. Wth why does some part of the video have captions and the other parts doesn't? It doesn't happen on any other channel!

  15. I don't understand the profile shooting angle of these videos. When you shoot her from the side it's distracting and you can instantly tell she's reading from a teleprompter. I mean, we all know she is, but it disturbs the illusion.

  16. I have begun to think it would be far better to not police information and ideas, but rather create tools that enable users to filter out the content they do not want.

  17. Sure… blame it on guns, blame it on websites, blame it on drugs, blame it on racists. You people are chickens without heads.

  18. A society must be able to handle small groups of people with extreme views. Deleting and banishing platforms is not a good solution. You drive them out of sight, making it harder to monitor. Extreme sentiment should be defeated in public discourse.

  19. “Removing” a website from the internet thinking it will solve a problem its like building a dam for preventing a flood, instead of rerouting the river itself with canals, the water its still there.

  20. The thing about killing a chan website.
    It's like a bad mold, you torch it you just release spores. That being said a version of 8chan is now on the ZeroNet/the dark net.

  21. Its 8chan today, It will be people that disagree with the government tomorrow. Then we are well on are way to being china with social score that affect your mortgage and job opportunities. If all the bad people are in one place we know what there saying thinking and doing. Helpful. But if you make them all go to ground who knows what they can get up to or how we will stop them. imo censorship is bad and does more harm than good.

  22. I don't like the idea of banning websites, instead let's educate youth before they get an "alternative" education, elevate the individuals in the outskirts of society so they don't have the type of internal turmoil that makes them turn to these means in the first place, and embrace everyone- so that no one feels alone enough to want to need a community of hate.

  23. Tbh, I was expecting a proposal from you. Anyway, the loud concerning will do. At the middle of the video I was thinking: "Why don't they just invade the site, massively and in well intention".

    Maybe, if you pay attention to what they say. Almost harassing them, like trolls would do. Yet, not exactly the same. Instead, trying to argue with them, hoping to be of some help to this issue. Or, at the very least, you end-up being noticed and aware, right before the tragedy happens.

    I would not bet on that my own money, but can't see this being solve by force. They are part of you, of your country. "It's better to solve your neighbor's problems, rather than being affected directly by them". BTW, best wishes from Mx!

  24. The implication that people shouldn't be exposed to such "hate."
    What, are we all nannies?

    Nice blame on guns at the end, too.

  25. In a lot of ways, social media sites (from facebook to 8chan) is the equivalent to the modern town square. As a society we need to be very careful about the censoring we allow. There are many oppressive governments which prevent dissenting content online and in person. Censoring is a powerful tool which is scary to use in all but the most extreme cases (such directly inciting violence for example). I am weary of how much of that power in the hands of the government, let alone privately held companies.

  26. The question is not HOW do you shut down the website, but SHOULD you? I thought Internet users were jealously protective of their freedoms?

  27. Why dont you target the users on the website instead of shuting it down. Thats like blaming the car for drunk driving

  28. Instead of nanny State and babysitter companies how about education system teaching people to think critically? Or it too much to ask.

  29. Adi from the verge is articulate and always covers her topics really well (research etc)…her intensity and style of delivery of her content, especially on video, always comes across very robotic and jarring. Plus the bizarre side camera angle doesn't help to soften it at all.

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