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8chan

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You can also call it "Möbius strip chan" or the "two dragons having sex chan", but they don't quite roll off the tongue as well.
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Shut the site down. It’s not doing the world any good. It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.
—Fredrick Brennan, the goddamn founder of the site.[1]

8chan (or infinitechan) was a message board in the style of various imageboards such as 4chan, launched in 2013. The site claimed to remove content only when it violated United States federal law, justifying this policy as the exercise of free speech. When it was launched, it gained prominence among Gamergate supporters in August 2014 when their fondness for doxxing got too much even for 4chan to put up with.

8chan was founded by Fredrick Brennan, who is nicknamed "Hotwheels" because he is a wheelchair user, due to severely disabling osteogenesis imperfectaWikipedia's W.svg (brittle bone disease). Brennan had the idea for 8chan resulting on being high on psychedelic mushrooms, to no one's surprise. In May 2016, however, Brennan, who regretted the site's creation, stepped down from leading the site and passed his position to 2ch engineer Ron Watkins, and his father, Jim Watkins.[2] Mr. Watkins will hopefully be cracking down on things Brennan did not, but we all know what happens when the mods go to sleep.[3]

In the wake of the mass shootings from El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, with the former having connections to 8chan, Cloudflare, after having tolerated supporting rancid sites in the name of free speech, was finally fed up with its bullshit and pulled the plug on 8chan.[note 1][4] Similar to with happened with The Daily Stormer (who was also dropped by Cloudflare on August 16, 2017), another DDOS mitigation service, Epik / Bitmitigate (a company that currently also protects other terrorist-enabling sites such as Gab and whose CEO is infamous for attempting to spread the Christchurch shooting video on Twitter),[5][6] took over, temporarily allowing the rancid dumpster fire known as 8chan to continue to smolder on.[7] Shortly after, the company Epik was renting servers from, Voxility, also quickly got tired of the bullshit and booted both 8chan and the Daily Stormer off their network (and thus, off the clearnet).[8][9]

Since then, despite the efforts of Jim Watkins, 8Chan has not found a host willing to deal with the toxicity. Even Kiwi Farms wants nothing to do with them.[10] Attempts to re-brand the site as "8kun" and relaunch the site, including (ironically, for a site founded on "freedom of speech") an attempt to use cloud computing services in China (of all places...), and another attempt to utilize a Russian "bulletproof" host mostly known for ransomware, phishing websites, and other cybercriminal activity, so far have come to little fruition. This is in part due to due to the efforts of original founder Mr. Brennan actively informing would-be hosts what a toxic shithole 8chan is.[11][12] [13]

Background[edit]

8chan began as an alternative to 4chan, the proud shithole of the Internet. It boasts having only strictly illegal content being removed in order to protect its posters' "freedom of speech". The site allows content forbidden on 4chan, such as raiding boards and doxxing, and its policies on child porn can charitably be defined as "loose". It also allows questionable types of porn such as lolicon[note 2] and photographs of barely-clothed children in sexual poses.

8chan's administrators have considered moving their hosting to PRQ.se,[14] a hosting service whose customers have included The Pirate Bay, WikiLeaks, and NAMBLA of all people.[15]

Brennan has also written for The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site, in favor of eugenics, blaming the lack of a eugenics program in the US for his disability.[16] He says that when he contacted the Daily Stormer asking for an interview, they suggested he just write an article for them.[17] Defending his contribution on Reddit, Brennan insisted that he is not a neo-Nazi or a white nationalist; he merely considers the Stormer the right-wing equivalent of such "far-left" publications as The Huffington Post or The Daily Dot, although he does indeed support eugenics. He also stated that "building hype around my business is my job, especially when we are strapped for cash and can't advertise directly".[18] It is possible he does not realize that these are not the sort of Nazis that have boxes and boxes of gold.

As of March 2019, Mr. Brennan is really sorry about the demon spawn he created. Whoops.[19][20]

Google delisted 8ch.net on August 12, 2015 due to "suspected child abuse content".[21] Fans of 8chan blamed anyone except themselves.[22] More recently, the archive.is website archiving service blocked all links to 8chan due to an overwhelming amount of child pornography being contained within them. However, this was shortly reverted.[23]

There have been a few times when 8chan was reported to the FBI, but until recently, the FBI didn't list them as a potential threat.[24] The FBI did, however, issue a search warrant on 8Chan's headquarters in April 2019 due to terrorism and hate crime incidents (the Chabad of Poway terrorist attack as well as arson at the Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque and Islamic Center) linked to /pol/.[25] After the El Paso shootings, the United States Congress likewise got tired of the bullshit and demanded that Jim Watkins testify to the House Homeland Security Committee about the proliferation of extremist content on 8Chan.[26]

Notable boards[edit]

Considering that anybody can make a board on 8chan, there are definitely some ge(r)ms out there for those willing to trawl through the nearly endless (and ever-expanding) list of boards.

/v/[edit]

/gg/ /gamergate/ /gamergatehq/ /v/ have the gathering places for the Gamergate mob.

/cow/[edit]

Retards deserve and solely exist to be bullied and anyone who says otherwise is a bleeding-heart retard
—anonymous /cow/ poster[27]

A doxing/cyberstalking board similar to /baphomet/ and /b/. Usually just the stalking of YouTube celebrities, though like /baphomet/, it occasionally organizes raids. Comes from the chan term "lolcow", usually referring to someone too vain or too stupid to realize they're being baited into going crazy on the Internet.

/pol/[edit]

/pol/: The "Politically Incorrect" board, home to white nationalists, neo-Nazis, alt-righters, red pillers, self-described fascists and neoreactionaries most of whom originally came to 8chan with the "exodus" for Gamergate. When 4chan's admin spammed the local and original /pol/ as part of a joke, many posters "migrated" to 8chan. Despite 8chan's supposed support for free speech, alternate viewpoints are liable to being removed. In 2019, the board became infamous for a series of mass shootings linked to white nationalists associated with the board.

/leftypol/[edit]

/leftypol/: The leftist and almost as toxic version of 4chan/8chan's rightist /pol/. A radical leftist board that discusses and promotes revolutionary socialism, including Marxism, Communism, Leninism, Stalinism ("Marxism-Leninism"), democratic socialism, Communalism, Strasserism (Nazism with a socialist working class bent), anarchism, and anarcho-communism. Anti-identity politics. A splinter board, /leftpol/, has emerged after people grew tired of the Stalinist board owner's increasingly authoritarian actions such as banning threads about Rojava and word filtering controversial terms like "Red Fascism". The majority of anarchists and anti-authoritarians now reside over at /leftpol/ rather than /leftypol/ due to this.

/namibia/[edit]

/namibia/: Dedicated to a rather outlandish plot by white supremacists to colonize… well… Namibia. To put it shortly, they believe that Namibia is a wild lawless space for their great white hunter selves to colonize and create a nation based on the alleged "values" of National Socialism. Though this may sound like the typical anon plot, they actually have sent scouting parties and are attempting to get their "New Rhodesia" under the guise of a charity.

/fatpeoplehate/[edit]

/fatpeoplehate/: Created after Redditors "left" in "droves" after the banning of the /r/FatPeopleHate subreddit due to the site's new anti-harassment guidelines. They were shortly driven out by 8chan's existing userbase in a raid fashion. This is another example of Reddit naïvely bigging up the Chan boards as their mega-cool best friend, when in reality they all despise Reddit with little to no exception.

/qanons/[edit]

/qanons/: Incredibly bizzare cult centred around a troll originating on /pol/ who can supposedly tell the future. See QAnon for further details.

A whole bunch of other boards we're not giving any exposure to
Video games, rape, gore, technology, animal abuse, illustration of child porn, Christianity and the like.

/baphomet/[edit]

One of the more infamous boards is called /baphomet/ (named for the demon Baphomet, of course), a "hacking" and raiding board dedicated to the spirit of old 4chan /b/. /baphomet/ streamlines the most extreme and disturbing forms of harassment for which user of 8chan are notorious for, such as gathering personal information of the site's targets and coordinating SWATing efforts.[28] The board is also replete with grotesque images of abuse of humans and animals, the sole purpose of which is to disgust outsiders and thus deter spying on the board's operations. Initial targets were those who worked to report the child porn on 8chan to the authorities, though many of the current targets are the same people Gamergate has been targeting for months. Gamergaters off the board will deny that it's part of their movement, while simultaneously cautioning against provoking /baphomet/ in a way that totally isn't a threat.

On February 9, 2015, /baphomet/ underwent a total history wipe after it was revealed that the board's moderator Benjamin Biddix had posted the mailing address, phone number, and Social Security number for Katherine Forrest, the federal judge who presided over the the Silk Road black market case. Biddix had allegedly been selling dox to fund his attempt to leave the United States for Shanghai.[29] His Tor site was then seized by multiple national and international law enforcement agencies.[30]

Terrorism linked to 8chan /pol/[edit]

When compared to other media outlets (mainstream or fringe) 8chan /pol/ has a lengthy record of aiding and abetting terrorism targeting minorities (Muslims, Jews, Mestizos/Hispanics and non-Whites):

  • On April 27, 2019, another terrorist named John T. Earnest of San Diego/Rancho Pensaquitos, California preceded to post on 8chan's /pol/ an open letter blaming Jews for "the meticulously planned genocide of the European race" and other ills before his attack on a synagogue in Poway, California killing one (an elderly Jewish woman named Lori Gilbert-Kaye) and injuring three (Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Almog Peretz and Noya Dahan). Once again, riotous glee erupted. (Followed by false flag conspiracy theories, as some posters are slowly realizing that this sort of thing makes "the Party Van" take notice...)[34][35][36]
  • On August 4, 2019, yet another terrorist, Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas posted yet another hate-filled manifesto to 8chan titled The Inconvient Truth just before attacking a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring 24.[37] As usual, Crusius' manifesto is a racist white nationalist rant this time concerning fear of Hispanics/Mestizos and it was motivated by a supposed "Hispanic invasion of Texas" as well as "simply trying to defend my country from ethnic and cultural replacement brought on by an invasion" (tell that to the Native Americans, honey). Much like the Poway, California synagogue shooting perpetrator John T. Earnest, Patrick Crusius praised Brenton Harrison Tarrant the perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shootings and his manifesto The Great Replacement. 19 of the 22 deceased victims in the shooting had Spanish names either from the United States or Mexico (with the exceptions of 2 Americans and 1 German). Once again, /pol/ erupts into the usual gleeful joy, but there is increasing worry across all boards that "the Party Van" will shut the site down. Even the site's original founder, Frederick Brennan, called for the site to be shut down after this incident.[38][39][40][41][42][43]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Cloudflare has a free speech absolutist as a top operator and has staunchly supported these sites in the name of freeze peach. Prior to El Paso, this was amid ongoing concerns that those sites led to violence. It's appalling that it took not one but SEVERAL terrorist incidents fueled by 8chan to have this site change its mind (see "Terrorism linked to /pol/"). In the meantime, it supports literal terrorist sites.
  2. The term lolicon refers to anime/cartoon media featuring sexualized or sexually-explicit depictions of prepubescent girls (the male version is called "Shotacon"). It derives from a Japanese portmanteau of the phrase "Lolita complex", although on 8chan, it is sometimes used as a dog whistle for real child pornography.

References[edit]

  1. Roose, Kevin (Aug. 4, 2019) 8chan is a Megaphone for Gunmen. 'Shut the Site Down,' Says Its Creator. New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  2. https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/8chan/
  3. Dan Olson, "The Mods are Always Asleep", Medium
  4. Prince, Matthew. (August 5, 2019) Terminating Service for 8Chan. Cloudflare. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  5. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rob-monster-epik-gab-neo-nazi_n_5c17bb29e4b05d7e5d846f72
  6. https://www.inquisitr.com/5346497/tech-ceo-link-to-new-zealand-mass-shooting-video-twitter/
  7. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/network-provider-cloudflare-drop-8chan-after-el-paso-shooting-n1039151/
  8. https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/5/20754943/8chan-epik-offline-voxility-service-cutoff-hate-speech-ban
  9. https://www.cnet.com/news/8chan-owner-says-site-will-stay-down-until-he-talks-with-congress/
  10. https://archive.fo/GnRy6
  11. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5yb44/8chan-is-back-from-the-internet-grave-and-it-has-a-new-name
  12. https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/8chan-founder-site-fight/
  13. "8Chan gets back online and is promptly forced off again", Ars Technica, November 5, 2019
  14. "@infinitechan", 19 December 2014
  15. "PRQ, Web Host For WikiLeaks And Once For The Pirate Bay, Raided By Swedish Police", Andy Greenberg, Forbes
  16. https://archive.today/ftgkC
  17. https://archive.today/NMGM9
  18. http://np.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2qlpst/hotwheels_gets_invited_to_write_an_article_on/cn79uo2
  19. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/03/22/chan-looks-like-terrorist-recruiting-site-after-new-zealand-shooting-should-government-treat-it-like-one/?utm_term=.cd3187c7c97b
  20. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/03/christchurch-terror-attack-8chan-founder-expresses-regret.html
  21. https://archive.is/I1arZ
  22. https://i.imgur.com/e37Nmdp.png https://i.imgur.com/1nRNmGS.png
  23. http://archive.is/2oVG4
  24. https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/fbi-files-on-8chan-21967/
  25. https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.casd.626722/gov.uscourts.casd.626722.1.0.pdf
  26. https://www.cnet.com/news/8chan-owner-says-site-will-stay-down-until-he-talks-with-congress/
  27. http://archive.fo/XdVDV#selection-13099.0-13099.103
  28. Zoe Quinn, GG's Public Enemy #1, has the details.
  29. Sam Machkovech, "Notorious 8chan "subboard" has history wiped after federal judge's doxing", Ars Technica
  30. @Cernowatch, "Benji links to illegal Tor pastebin with CC#, SSNs. This is what we found. (Note the district who issued the order~)", Twitter (archive)
  31. What is 8chan, and why did the New Zealand shooter use it to announce himself to the world?
  32. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2019/03/15/shitposting-inspirational-terrorism-and-the-christchurch-mosque-massacre/
  33. https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/8chan-christchurch-mosque-shooter-gamergate/
  34. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/poway-synagogue-shooting-8chan-white-supremacist-828647
  35. https://www.businessinsider.com/ignore-poway-synagogue-shooter-manifesto-pay-attention-to-8chan-pol-2019-4
  36. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/04/8chan-canary/
  37. https://abcnews.go.com/US/death-toll-rises-22-el-paso-shooting-victims/story?id=64780680
  38. https://www.inquisitr.com/5563424/mass-shooting-walmart-el-paso-texas/
  39. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/investigators-reasonably-confident-texas-suspect-left-anti-immigrant-screed-tipped-n1039031
  40. https://8ch.net/pol/res/13566886.html
  41. https://8ch.net/b2/res/627276.html
  42. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/technology/8chan-shooting-manifesto.html
  43. The El Paso Shooting and the Gamification of Terror. bellingcat.com, 4 August 2019.