“Obviously, American society is screwed.”
— Fredrick Brennan, founder of 8chan
The Daily / New York Times (8/6/19)
At least three mass shootings this year — including one in El Paso — have been announced in advance on the online message board 8chan, often accompanied by racist writings. We look at the battle over shutting down the site.
On today’s episode:
Kevin Roose, who writes about technology for The New York Times, spoke with Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan.
Fredrick Brennan started 8chan as a free speech utopia. But the site became known as something else: a megaphone for mass shooters, and a recruiting platform for violent white nationalists.
Several tech providers pulled support for 8chan, temporarily taking the site offline. The decision to do so was not a straightforward one for the security company Cloudflare.
4Chan’s & 8Chan’s Internet-Brewed Racism Informs Trump’s Rhetoric
Real News (8/7/19)
The BBC’s Mike Wendling explains the history of a message board subculture and discusses his book, “Alt-Right: From 4Chan to the White House”.
Congress Calls On 8chan Owner To Testify On Extremism After Mass Shootings
“It’s like letting the mental patients run the asylum.”
Lawmakers have called on the owner of 8chan, an online forum that amplifies the voices of violent extremists, to testify before Congress after the shooter in one of the weekend’s two massacres was believed to have posted on the website.
The House Homeland Security Committee sent a letter Tuesday to 8chan owner Jim Watkins demanding he appear to answer questions about the platform’s history of hosting, promoting and celebrating racist and extremist content on the site, and to find out what Watkins is doing to address it.
“Regrettably, this is at least the third act of white supremacist extremist violence linked to your website this year,” the letter signed by the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), said, referring to the Saturday massacre that killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas. The shooter is believed to have posted a white supremacist manifesto on 8chan before the attack, describing his hatred for immigrants and Latinos in a style that used rhetoric from both the Great Replacement manifesto and from President Donald Trump. The attack is the deadliest massacre of Latinos in modern U.S. history.
The letter cited a mass shooting in March, when a white Australian gunman murdered at least 51 worshippers and injured 49 more on a Muslim holy day at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. That shooter is believed to have posted a 74-page white supremacist manifesto and a link to a Facebook livestream of the attack on 8chan. The El Paso shooter’s screed cited the Christchurch shooter as a source of inspiration.
A month later, another white gunman opened fire on a synagogue in Poway, California, killing a Jewish worshipper and injuring three others on the last day of the Jewish Passover holiday. That shooter is believed to have posted an anti-Semitic and racist letter on 8chan before carrying out the attack. …
- 8chan Owner Blasts Shutdown Attempts — Moves to shut down the chat forum 8chan are “sinister” and “cowardly”, its owner said Wednesday after he was called to appear before US Congress to explain the online hate messages linked to deadly US killings. In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Philippines-based Jim Watkins said the deadly weekend attacks in the American cities of El Paso and Dayton were a tragedy. But he insisted 8chan had not broken any laws, and devoted most of his seven-and-a-half-minute video to criticizing the subsequent moves to shut down his forum. … Read the Rest