8chan, also known as InfiniteChan and ∞chan, is an anonymous image board that allows users to create and moderate their own custom boards. The site gained a large influx of new users following the controversial banning of all GamerGate related threads on 4chan in September 2014.
The domain 8chan.co was registered by New York-based computer programmer Fredrick Brennan on October 22nd, 2013. In September 2014, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (a.k.a. "Moot") posted an announcement explaining why all GamerGate threads were being removed from the site, claiming that many were violating the site's global "no personal information / raids / calls to invasion" rule (shown below). Many users subsequently flocked to 8chan as an alternative image board with fewer restrictions, began to mockingly refer to 4chan as "halfchan" and lamented the site's demise with the expression "4chan is kill."
Following the influx of new users to 8chan, Brennan launched a Patreon page to request donations to help fund the website. In the page's description, Brennan announced that he plans to make 8chan a nonprofit, with any excess money donated to organizations like Wikileaks and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As of September 2014, it has received over 115 patrons funding $975 per month.
On December 21st, Brennan posted a letter he received from Patreon informing him that his page would be removed for the website violating "new community guidelines." That day, Brennan changed the titled of the Patreon page to "Fredrick Brennan is Creating Videos About Hachi the Cat!", which featured a video explaining that he would be releasing videos of his cat to help pay for his aid to help take care of it (shown below). Additionally, Brennan launched a donation page for 8chan on the crowdfunding site Gratipay.
2019 El Paso Shooter Manifesto and Cloudfare Service Termination
On August 3rd, 2019, a mass shooting took place near Walmart and Cielo Vista shopping centers in El Paso, Texas, resulting in the deaths of 20 people and injuring two dozen more. Approximately 20 minutes before, the shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, posted a manifesto on 8chan in which he wrote about his hatred towards immigrant groups in the US, particularly towards Hispanics.
Following the extensive coverage of the link between the imageboard and the shooting, as well as previously established links between 8chan and the 2019 Christchurch Mosque Shootings and 2019 Poway Sinagogue Shooting, the site received mainstream recognition online, with calls to shut down the website and persecute its founder and former owner Fredrick "Hotwheels" Brennan appearing on the social media. Brennan, who retired from the site in April 2016, had reinstated his support for shutting down the site.
On August 4th, web performance and security company Cloudflare announced that they will be terminating support for 8chan.
While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we've solved our own problem, but we haven't solved the Internet's.
On August 5th, the website has been voluntarily shut down by the 8chan administrators, allegedly temporarily.
On October 6th, 2019, the official 8chan Twitter feed posted a short video unveiling a logo for 8kun (shown below).
On October 8th, The Daily Dot published an article titled "8chan is attempting to relaunch and rebrand--but it may already be doomed," which discussed speculation that the site may be taken down again upon relaunch, citing tweets by founder Fredrick Brennan.
On November 1st, 2019, 8chan official twitter account announced that the imageboard migration was in progress and announced that the website might become available on the clearnet on the following day.
On November 3rd, 2019, Fredrick Brennan reported that the website was now available on the clearnet, mentioning that the website was hosted by a Russia-based hosting service Media Land LLC owned by Alexander "Yahlishanda" Volosivyk and known for hosting ransomware and stolen credit card data (tweet shown below).
On the same day, multiple news sources reported on the website being available again, including articles by VICE, Gizmodo and Verge. Upon the clearnet launch, 8kun had 63 publicly accessible boards, with the popular /pol/ board missing.
On November 5th, 2019, 8kun administrator Ron Watkins reposted that the website sustained attacks for the past several days. As of November 5th, 2019, the website could not be accessed from clearnet.
8chan allows users to create and moderate their own custom boards, similar to subreddits on Reddit. In order for a board to remain on the site, it needs to receive at least one post per 72 hours and the moderator must log in once per week. The site contains only one global rule to "not post, request, or link to any content illegal in the United States of America."
On September 20th, Brennan posted an explanation for how the site's moderation works and why he decided to implement it that way.
The idea of this system is to minimize the trust needed in moderators to prevent "do it for free" moderators from accepting bribes (sexual or otherwise) to corrupt the site as has happened with 4chan.
Mod Heriarchy system.
- 8chan allows anyone who wants to to become the moderator of their own board.
- They are given free reign to institute whatever rules they wish on their boards as long as they do not affect the global rules.
- Mod have free reign to institute any rules they wish as long as they don't collude with the global ones.
- Mods of the largest boards are promoted to Global Mods. This is devised by an algorithm but only the promotion proceeds with the admin's express approval.xpress approval.
- New Global mods. are sent a message congratulating them for their promotion and an explanation of their duties.
- Those duties are to simply delete CP, excessive spam and other ilegal content that comes on the server and ban the posting users and their IP ranges.
- Mods that abuse their powers to ban users for other reasons recieve a large penalty. This penalty consist of being stripped of their mod status and losing their boards.
- A replacement mod will be selected from the userbase of that board which the admin seems suitable.
Thus, the only people who moderate 8chan.co are those who have a stake in the site itself because they own the boards. Thus, they are not really doing it for free – they are simply protecting their boards by protecting the site as a whole. It is in their interest to keep the sitefree of illegal content so taht their boards stay up. If they abuse their power, the boards that they worked hard to create is stripped from them
This means that there's only one person that needs to be trusted: me. If I could have found a way to remove myself from the trust model. I would have, but that is impossible given someone has to run the server
After the partnership with 2ch, The title of Moderator was changed to Volunteer.
About the Founder
Fredrick Brennan is a web developer and designer employed by the company Razor Clicks. 8chan users affectionately nicknamed him "HotWheels" in reference to his use of a motorized scooter caused by his bone disorder osteogenesis imperfecta.
On April 9th, 2014, Vimeo user J.R. Heffelfinger uploaded an interview with Brennan on Al Jazeera America in which he discusses his life in Brooklyn, New York (video was since deleted, shown below is a YouTube upload). On September 21st, Redditor VidiotGamer submitted the video to the /r/KotakuInAction subreddit.
April Fools Hack
On April 1st, 8chn.net was replaced with a message stating that the site was hacked, and that the servers are offline and the databases are deleted.
8chan was hacked On April 1, 2017, 8chan was hacked. We are investigating the problem and hope to have the servers back online soon. Pay attention here for updates. Note: The hacker deleted all the databases. We have backups of most posts and threads. As of now, I cannot find an indication that the hacker downloaded the databases, however it is highly recommended you change any password that might be shared with your 8chan mod.php account.
The website 8ch.net (link via Wayback Machine) only leads to that message at this time. Five updates on the matter have been posted on the same page. These updates indicate that the owner figured out exactly how the hacker got in, is improving security accordingly, and is currently trying to put online backed up data of boards which have been deleted back onto the website. The hack was confirmed as not a prank following April 2nd, as the server was still down.
THQ Nordic's AMA
That day, THQ Nordic tweeted a statement by marketing director Philipp Brock, claiming he did not perform the "proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site" (shown below):
"I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site. I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form. I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision, and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future. This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place."
Also on February 26th, Redditor OfficialEFG submitted a post asking "What's the deal with THQ Nordic getting backlash with 8chan?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop. The controversy was covered by The Daily Dot.
2019 Search Warrant
On June 14th, 2019, Twitter user @swodinsky tweeted a picture of a search warrant for 8ch.net by the Southern District of California court (shown below).
lmaooooooo 8chan just got search warranted pic.twitter.com/Rhi6g2OWKo— shoshanot at cannes, pls stop asking 🛸 (@swodinsky) June 14, 2019
According to The Daily Dot, the warrant was issued based on 8chan's connection to the 2019 Poway synagogue shooting. That day, writer @RVAwonk posted a thread about the warrant, stating it would "sweeup up a lot of people" (shown below).
The search warrant for 8chan is going to sweep up a lot of people.— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) June 14, 2019
Feds are seeking "IP address and metadata for all commenters" on the shooter's thread, saying they may be "potential witnesses, co-conspirators, and/or individuals who are inspired by the subject posting." pic.twitter.com/BzqvOmeeEh
On June 16th, Twitter user @CryptoCope posted a link to an archived 8chan thread containing tweets referenced in the 8chan affidavit (shown below).
Archive of the thread. Fed ID is 8f4812https://t.co/44xzy0oh5n— COPE (@CryptoCope) June 16, 2019
Google Removes 8chan From Search Results
Around August 12th, 2015, the domain 8chan was removed from Google's search results. This was after numerous reports to Google of 8chan hosting child pornography. Users of 8chan that did go on the site during this time were greeted by the following message on all boards.
On August 17th, 2015, Google did not list 8chan again on their search results, but instead updated their search results to show the site when googling "8ch.net" and "site:8ch.net". The google search "8chan" as of August 19th, 2015, will not list the site. Related searches for 8chan will still produce a warning about child abuse content.
 Patreon (via Wayback Machine) – Fredrick Brennan is Creating Free Speech Friendly 4chan Alternative
 The Daily Dot – Alt-right message board 8chan was served a search warrant
 The Daily Dot – "8chan is attempting to relaunch and rebrand--but it may already be doomed"https://www.dailydot.com/debug/8kun-8chan-rebrand/