Cloudflare's IPO filing warns investors of a disturbing 'risk factor': white supremacists

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince

  • Cloudflare filed to go public on Thursday, and it listed its
    controversial former clients in the risk factors section of its
    filing.
  • Cloudflare, a web protection service, once served a neo-Nazi
    website and 8chan, an online forum connected to three deadly mass
    shootings.
  • Though Cloudflare ultimately terminated its client
    relationships with both sites, the company said that its past
    association with the customers, and its subsequent responses, have
    the potential to pose adverse business consequences.
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Cybersecurity startup
Cloudflare filed the paperwork for an IPO on Thursday
with
disclaimers about a couple of controversial former clients: a
neo-Nazi, white supremacist website, and a notorious online forum
connected to mass shootings.

Cloudflare
offers
content delivery network, or CDN, services. One purpose
of a CDN is to protect websites against attacks like a Distributed
Denial of Service cyberattack, which can disable a website by
flooding and overwhelming it with traffic. Cloudflare also speeds
up content delivery.

In its S-1 filing, Cloudflare addressed the negative press it
received as a result of its former customers The Daily Stormer and
8chan. Then, the company specified that activities of its customers
have alienated potential clients before: “We are aware of some
potential customers that have indicated their decision to not
subscribe to our products was impacted, at least in part, by the
actions of certain of our paying and free customers.”

“We experienced significant negative publicity in connection
with the use of our network by The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi, white
supremacist website, around the time of the 2017 protests in
Charlottesville, Virginia,” the filing reads. “We also received
negative publicity in connection with the use of our network by
8chan, a forum website that served as inspiration for the recent
attacks in El Paso, Texas and Christchurch, New Zealand.”

Cloudflare terminated the
The Daily Stormer in August 2017 following the white nationalist
march “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left
one counter-protester, Heather D. Heyer,
dead
. The Daily Stormer promoted the march, and a post on the
site after the march
read
“We are going to go bigger than Charlottesville.” 

Cloudflare
terminated
8chan in August 2019 after the mass shooting

at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas
, which left 22 people dead.
CNN reported that
the suspected shooters behind the El Paso attack, the Christchuch,
New Zealand, mosque attack in March 2019, and the Poway,
California, synagogue attack in April 2019 are all suspected of
posting manifestos on 8chan.

“In the case of the El Paso shooting, the suspected terrorist
gunman appears to have been inspired by the forum website known as
8chan,” Prince wrote in a
public termination notice
posted on Cloudflare’s website.
“8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate,”
Prince continued.

Read more:
The controversial company now protecting 8chan from online attacks
also services an infamous neo-Nazi site

Clouldflare said in the IPO filing that its termination
decisions also can negatively affect the company’s reputation and
brand.

“We received significant adverse feedback for these decisions
from those concerned about our ability to pass judgment on our
customers and the users of our platform, or to censor them by
limiting their access to our products, and we are aware of
potential customers who decided not to subscribe to our products
because of this,” the filing reads.

“At Cloudflare we believe in a free and open web” Prince
wrote
in a 2013 blog post on Cloudflare. “We do not believe that
‘investigating’ the speech that flows through our network is
appropriate. In fact, we think doing so would be creepy.”

SEE ALSO: All
the tech moguls who have been connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the
elite wealth manager who died in jail while awaiting trial on
sex-trafficking charges


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Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Cloudflare's IPO filing warns investors of a disturbing 'risk factor': white supremacists