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8chan

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8chan (or infinitechan) is a message board in the style of various imageboards such as 4chan, launched in 2013. The site claims to remove content only when it violates 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). In May 2016, however, Brennan stepped down from leading the site and passed his position to 2ch engineer Ron Watkins. Watkins will hopefully be cracking down on things Brennan did not, but we all know what happens when the mods go to sleep.[1]

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 1] and photographs of barely-clothed children in sexual poses.

8chan's administrators have considered moving their hosting to PRQ.se,[2] a hosting service whose customers have included The Pirate Bay, WikiLeaks, and NAMBLA of all people.[3]

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.[4] He says that when he contacted the Daily Stormer asking for an interview, they suggested he just write an article for them.[5] 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".[6] 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. [7][8]

Google delisted 8ch.net on August 12, 2015 due to "suspected child abuse content".[9] Fans of 8chan blamed anyone except themselves.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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/. [13]

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.

/gg/ /gamergate/ /gamergatehq/
/v/ is the gathering place for the Gamergate mob as of writing.
/cow/
Retards deserve and solely exist to be bullied and anyone who says otherwise is a bleeding-heart retard
—anonymous /cow/ poster[14]
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/
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. The board was thrown into the spotlight in March 2019, when prior to the Christchurch mosque shootings, in Christchurch, New Zealand the suspected perpetrator, Australia-born Brenton Harrison Tarrant, announced his attack and linked to his white supremacist manifesto The Great Replacement (named after French far-right theory of the same name by writer Renaud Camus) on this board; afterwards, he would go on to kill 51 people and injure 50 more, all of them being Muslims currently in New Zealand. The ensuing celebration, complete with joy over the terrorist's usage of alt-right and /pol/board chan memes during the attack, is exactly the type of thing you should expect here with users going so far as to spread the manifesto and video of the shooting.[15][16][17] In April 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...)[18][19][20]
/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, democratic socialism, Communalism, Strasserism (Nazism with a socialist working class bent), anarchism. 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/
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/
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/
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.[21] 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.[22] His Tor site was then seized by multiple national and international law enforcement agencies.[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. 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. Dan Olson, "The Mods are Always Asleep", Medium
  2. "@infinitechan", 19 December 2014
  3. "PRQ, Web Host For WikiLeaks And Once For The Pirate Bay, Raided By Swedish Police", Andy Greenberg, Forbes
  4. https://archive.today/ftgkC
  5. https://archive.today/NMGM9
  6. http://np.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2qlpst/hotwheels_gets_invited_to_write_an_article_on/cn79uo2
  7. 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
  8. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/03/christchurch-terror-attack-8chan-founder-expresses-regret.html
  9. https://archive.is/I1arZ
  10. https://i.imgur.com/e37Nmdp.png https://i.imgur.com/1nRNmGS.png
  11. http://archive.is/2oVG4
  12. https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/fbi-files-on-8chan-21967/
  13. https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.casd.626722/gov.uscourts.casd.626722.1.0.pdf
  14. http://archive.fo/XdVDV#selection-13099.0-13099.103
  15. What is 8chan, and why did the New Zealand shooter use it to announce himself to the world?
  16. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2019/03/15/shitposting-inspirational-terrorism-and-the-christchurch-mosque-massacre/
  17. https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/8chan-christchurch-mosque-shooter-gamergate/
  18. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/poway-synagogue-shooting-8chan-white-supremacist-828647
  19. https://www.businessinsider.com/ignore-poway-synagogue-shooter-manifesto-pay-attention-to-8chan-pol-2019-4
  20. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/04/8chan-canary/
  21. Zoe Quinn, GG's Public Enemy #1, has the details.
  22. Sam Machkovech, "Notorious 8chan "subboard" has history wiped after federal judge's doxing", Ars Technica
  23. @Cernowatch, "Benji links to illegal Tor pastebin with CC#, SSNs. This is what we found. (Note the district who issued the order~)", Twitter (archive)