Business

Cloudflare Files for IPO Citing Publicity Over 8chan as Risk


Cloudflare, a firm that helps websites protect and distribute content, warned potential investors in its initial public offering that risks to its business go beyond the boilerplate Silicon Valley advisory that it may never become profitable.


The San Francisco-based company said in its IPO filing Thursday that the risks include negative publicity from the use of its network by 8chan , a website favored by white supremacists and used by gunmen before mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Christchurch, New Zealand, this year.


Activities of such groups have had “significant adverse political, business, and reputational consequences” for the company, Cloudflare said in the filing.


Cloudflare co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Prince has publicly struggled with decisions balancing freedom of speech on the internet with the need to limit hateful, racist online posts and potentially dangerous calls for violence.


“After today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don’t like,” Prince wrote.


In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company listed the amount of its offering as $100 million, a placeholder that will change when terms of the share sale are set later.






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