Type of site
|Available in||English, Japanese (users can create language specific boards)|
N.T. Technology (2channel)
|Created by||Fredrick Brennan|
|Launched||October 22, 2013|
|10,084 (August 2015[update])|
8chan, also called Infinitechan, is an English-language imageboard website composed of user-created boards. Each board is moderated by its respective creator, with minimal interaction from other site administration.
The site has received both praise and criticism for its stance on free speech, which involves allowing any content to be posted, so long as it adheres to United States law.
Several of the site's boards have played an active role in the Gamergate controversy, encouraging Gamergate affiliates to frequent 8chan after the topic was banned on the unaffiliated imageboard 4chan. As of August 2015, the site was the 10,204th most visited site in the world, and in November 2014, it was receiving an average of 35,000 unique visitors per day and 400,000 posts per week when it was at a higher rank.
8chan was created in October 2013 by computer programmer Fredrick Brennan, also known by the nickname "Hotwheels." Brennan created the website after he observed what he perceived to be rapidly escalating surveillance and a loss of free speech on the Internet. Brennan, who considers the imageboard 4chan to have grown into authoritarianism, describes 8chan as a "free-speech-friendly" alternative, and had originally conceptualized the site while experiencing a psychedelic mushrooms trip.
No experience or programming knowledge is necessary for users to create their own boards. Since as early as March 2014, its FAQ has stated only one rule that is to be globally enforced: "Do not post, request, or link to any content illegal in the United States of America. Do not create boards with the sole purpose of posting or spreading such content." Brennan has claimed that, while he finds some of the content posted by users to be "reprehensible," he feels personally obligated to uphold the site's integrity by tolerating discussion he does not necessarily support regardless of his moral stance.
In January 2015, the site changed its domain 8chan.co to 8ch.net after multiple people filed reports complaining to 8chan’s registrar that the message board hosted child pornography. Despite subsequently regaining the domain, the site remained at 8ch.net, with the old domain redirecting to it.
Numerous bugs in the Infinity software led to the funding and development of a successor platform dubbed "Infinity Next". After a several-month-long testing period, a migration to the new software was attempted in December 2015, but failed.[clarification needed] Eventually, development was halted, and the main developer, Joshua Moon, fired by Brennan.
The Washington Post described it as "the more-lawless, more-libertarian, more 'free' follow-up to 4chan." Boards have been created to discuss controversial topics, including pedophilia. While the sharing of illegal content is against site rules, The Daily Dot wrote that boards do exist to share sexualized images of minors in provocative poses, and that some users of those boards do post links to explicit child pornography hosted elsewhere. When asked whether such boards were an inevitable result of free speech, Brennan responded, "Unfortunately, yes. I don’t support the content on the boards you mentioned, but it is simply the cost of free speech and being the only active site to not impose more 'laws' than those that were passed in Washington, D.C."
In August 2015, for a brief period, 8chan was blacklisted from Google Search for containing content constituting "suspected child abuse content." It was later restored to the search engine's listings without explanation.
On September 18, 2014, the website gained prominence in the Gamergate controversy after 4chan banned discussion of Gamergate, whereupon 8chan became one of several hubs of Gamergate activity. "/gg/," 8chan's initial Gamergate-oriented board, also gained attention after being compromised by members of the internet troll group Gay Nigger Association of America, forcing Gamergate activists to migrate to "/gamergate/." This replacement quickly became the site's second most populous board.
In January 2015 the site was used as a base for swatting exploits in Portland, Seattle, and Burnaby, British Columbia, most of them tied to the victims' criticism of Gamergate and 8chan's association with it; the attacks were coordinated on a board on the website called "/baphomet/." One of the victims of a swatting attack said that she was singled out because she had followed someone on Twitter. On February 9, 2015, contents on the "/baphomet/" subboard were wiped after personal information of Katherine Forrest, the presiding judge in the Silk Road case, had been posted there.
Los Angeles school-closure incident
On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, the New York City and Los Angeles County Boards of Education were both sent a superficially threatening, but actually fraudulent, e-mail message that had originated from an 8chan-linked service called "cock.li". The New York City school board did not take the message seriously, but the Los Angeles County school board refused to take the chance and ordered all public schools closed for the entire day, citing what it called a "credible terror threat." Sam Biddle, a contributor to Gawker.com, called the message "extremely dumb" in an article on the site he filed under "Pranks," writing:
|“||Even if this message hadn’t been sent from a “cock.li” email account, it would’ve been hard to imagine it was a credible threat of violence, particularly since it conflates 4chan-style “death to the normies” rhetoric with convoluted Islamism. It looks very much like the work of a kid who really didn’t want to go to school.||”|
8chan users proposed to colonize portions of Namibia to create a white-only nation in Africa. Users trolled the French Girls iPhone app by drawing derogatory images of other people using the app (mainly racially offensive images of people of color).
- 8chan - Who owns 8chan?
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- Tom Sanders (February 12, 2015). "Internet Neo-Nazis Are Trying to Build a White Supremacist Utopia in Namibia".
- Joseph Bernstein (June 9, 2015). "Trolls Are Already Ruining The Internet's Nice New Thing".
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