Far-right forum 8chan cut off by cybersecurity provider

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The far-right internet forum 8chan, which has been linked to mass shootings in the US, has lost its cybersecurity protection after its provider cut off support.

Cloudflare said it had terminated the website as a customer and called the forum a "cesspool of hate".

It comes after two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

What is 8chan?

8chan was created in 2013 as an alternative to the 4chan forum which had become popular with gamers.

It was launched in response to perceived increased moderation on 4chan and promised less intervention or removal of content.

8Chan has been linked to a number of mass shootings. Credit: PA

The website has repeatedly been used by suspects in mass shootings to spread their "manifestos" and reasons for carrying out such attacks.

Removal of Cloudflare’s services leaves 8chan open to cyberattacks designed to disable the platform.

How have people been able to post offensive messages?

Many have been able to post far-right messaging and imagery due to its known stance of being neutral about moderating content posted to it.

In a blog post in the wake of the two shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince said the company could no longer offer web-based support and cybersecurity protection to the site.

Mr Prince added the website had previously been used by the suspects in the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March and on a synagogue in California in April.

Why has the company drawn the line now?

Mr Prince claimed the suspect in the El Paso attack had posted to 8chan before commencing the attack.

"8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate," he said.

Mr Prince added 8chan had "crossed that line" by inspiring tragic events.

He said: "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," he added.