What can we do better as network operators about hate sites like 8Chan?
What is a “hate site” and who gets to decide what constitutes a “hate site”? These are the most dangerous questions of our time, because once we begin sliding down the slippery slope of unbounded, subjectively-determined censorship, we may find that we don’t agree with what all is being censored. To make this point perhaps more saliently, the vast majority of regimes worldwide that engage or have engaged in censorship have done so primarily in order to quell dissent against their policies and leaders. We could implement a “great firewall” much like China has, but how long would it be before it was viewed as a useful political tool to silence opposition?
Could you imagine one side determining that any content related to, perhaps, safe access to abortion, is counter to their ideal society and hence “too dangerous” to allow the citizenry to view? Could the other side then determine just as easily that content related to, say, gun rights is objectionable and dangerous, also?
In my humble opinion, no one can or should be trusted with that sort of power, and that is why we have the first amendment in the US constitution.
I applaud cloudflare’s (perhaps slightly late) decision on kicking 8chan off its platform today after El Paso attack. https://blog.cloudflare.com/terminating-service-for-8chan/
Cloudflare is a private entity and can host or not host whatever it wants, of course.
I am sure there are many sites like this out there, but could network operators do anything to make these sites “not so easy” to be found, reached, and used to end innocent lives?
Websites can’t end innocent lives; only actions taken offline by their participants can do that. Having all of these sites online and as in-the-open as possible has a benefit of allowing law enforcement to monitor activity therein through legal means which allow for oversight and due process, US constitutional concepts which protect all of us from potential abuses of power. If we as operators wish to help prevent crimes and violence, then we should foster good relationships with law enforcement, and inform them of anything that we notice which may be related to the commission of or threats of violence. They can then follow prescribed paths which protect everyone involved to determine whether enforcement action is necessary/possible without violating anyones’ rights. I’m not claiming the system is perfect, of course, but I don’t think anyone’s going to do a whole lot better.
There is no perfect system. Bad people can and will still do bad things. The best that we each can do is to be aware of our surroundings at all times both online and off, and protect ourselves, our families, our homes, and our communities.