A lawyer representing Jim Watkins, the owner of the image posting forum website 8chan, tells Mother Jones that the site could be back online as soon as next week. 8chan went dark in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso last month that left 22 dead and injured 24 more—its internet security company, Cloudflare, dropped it as a client after facing public backlash for helping enable the site after it was discovered that the shooter had posted his manifesto there.
“They’re almost there,” Benjamin Barr, who represents Watkins, says. “The goal is within the next week or so to come back.” The timing hinges on finding a replacement for Cloudflare, according to Barr.
After the shooting, 8chan’s moderators promptly removed the post with the shooter’s manifesto, but it was the third massacre in recent months that the platform was tied to—the Christchurch, New Zealand and the Poway mosque shooters both posted manifestos to 8chan as well.
Watkins had tried to get 8chan back online after Cloudflare cut service to it initially; however, after he received a subpoena, Watkins agreed to keep the imageboard down at least until hetestified before Congress.
In a statement addressed to Rep. Thompson and the committee before their testimony, Watkins and Barr wrote that 8chan was currently “offline voluntarily.” “The site may come back online, but only when 8chan is able to develop additional tools to counter illegal content under United States law,” they wrote.