Inside the world of 8chan

8chan owner Jim Watkins defended the site

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

8chan, a site that has served as a safe haven for mass shooters, has been taken offline after its web providers cut ties with the controversial website.

Hosting company Cloudflare said the site had “repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate”, and 8chan has been unable to find a replacement host.

The website was one of the few survivors of an increasingly moderated internet where paedophilia was common and users shared images of dead bodies.

8chan had faced increased scrutiny after yet another mass shooting was carried out by a frequent user of the site.

El Paso gunman Patrick Crusius allegedly posted his manifesto to 8chan minutes before he opened fire in a crowded supermarket, killing 22 people.

Other shooters that have been linked to the site include Brenton Tarrant who killed 51 people in New Zealand mosques, and a teenager who killed one person in a San Diego synagogue.

Fredrick Brennan created the site, but has since spoken out against it

8chan was founded by Fredrick Brennan in 2013 as a rival to message board 4chan, which had begun taking down offensive and borderline-illegal content.

Users migrated to 8chan when 4chan stopped people using the site to allegedly harass women in the video game industry.

Mr Brennan cut ties with the site in 2018 and now calls for 8chan to be shut down.

He said people post their 'manifestos' to 8chan because they can expect a “receptive, sympathetic audience” who will help spread their beliefs.

“8chan has a morbid record of success for maximum spread of mass shooting manifestos,” he said.

The current owner of 8chan, US military veteran and former pornographer Jim Watkins, defended accusations the site incites violence in a video statement.

“We have responded with both vigour and integrity every single time that a threat of violence has been posted,” he said.

He called the site a “blank page” for people to write their thoughts, even if others considered them offensive.

The US house committee on homeland security has summoned Mr Watkins to testify, however he lives in the Philippines and is yet to confirm whether he will attend.