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Big Revolution - Taking down extremism

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Welcome to the start of another week of the newsletter. I always welcome feedback, so feel to hit rep
 
August 5 · Issue #489 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week of the newsletter. I always welcome feedback, so feel to hit reply to this email and drop me a line any time.
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Website security firm Cloudflare has dropped 8chan as a customer following the mass shooting in El Paso this weekend. As with the Christchurch tragedy earlier this year, the alleged killer posted about what he was going to do on the notorious image board site just before beginning his spree. More on this below.
  • The US reportedly wants the UK to cancel a tax on tech giants before it will engage in post-Brexit trade deal talks. More [paywalled] from The Telegraph.
The big thought
Credit: kaleb tapp on Unsplash
The difficulties of taking down extremism
Image board 8chan plays host to some reprehensible opinions. The site first rose to prominence during Gamergate, as proponents of that harassment movement found 4chan was cracking down on their behaviour and they needed a new home.
Since then, 8chan has fostered young men of a white supremacist, terrorist bent. The Christchurch killer earlier this year pre-announced his deeds there and praised what he had learned from others in the 8chan community. It appears this weekend’s El Paso killer had a similar story.
This Belingcat article is a must-read on the issue, and it raises two important points:
1: 8chan’s /pol board continues to deliberately radicalize mass shooters.
2: The act of massacring innocents has been gamified.
The article concludes:
“Until law enforcement, and the media, treat these shooters as part of a terrorist movement no less organized, or deadly, than ISIS or Al Qaeda, the violence will continue. There will be more killers, more gleeful celebration of body counts on 8chan, and more bloody attempts to beat the last killer’s ‘high score’.”
Over the weekend, many have called for 8chan to be banned, or at least taken down. One easy move, Cloudflare dropping 8chan as a customer, finally happened in the last few hours. But the fact that 8chan is now simply moving to another security firm — one that is happy to support far-right extremists — shows that Cloudflare’s move did more for its reputation than it did to stop any more shootings occurring.
Even if 8chan was somehow banned and wiped from the internet, its community would move somewhere else, as this BuzzFeed News piece explains. It notes that many of the far-right personalities kicked off other social media platforms are currently thriving on messaging app Telegram. Kick them off there, they’ll move elsewhere.
The problem is a culture that allows young, white men to foster a sense of anger at the world that leads them to write a manifesto, load up some weapons and commit an atrocity. Playing whack-a-mole with websites might help temporarily, and it might make us feel like we’re doing something, but it won’t solve the real problem.
One big read
How Facebook failed to break into hardware: The untold story of Building 8 How Facebook failed to break into hardware: The untold story of Building 8
An interesting look at Facebook’s rocky road into the hardware business.
One big tweet
Lauren Goode
Lyft driver was unable drive down NYC street due to production. He asked what was going on, I said "They're shooting something over there." "Shooting??" he said. And then I realized what that sounded like, and corrected myself to say "taping a commercial."

This is America now.
9:39 PM - 4 Aug 2019
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow with more. See you in your inbox then.
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