Aug 14, 2019

House subpoenas 8chan owner to testify on extremist content

A man sitting at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

The House Homeland Security Committee issued a subpoena on Wednesday to Jim Watkins, the owner and operator of 8chan, to discuss extremist rhetoric on social media.

Catch up quick: Bipartisan Committee leaders sent Watkins a letter Aug. 6 asking for him to testify on his efforts to "investigate and mitigate the proliferation of extremist content" on 8chan. The anonymous forum has been linked to at least 3 white supremacist attacks this year — most recently the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso in which Hispanics were targeted.

Of note: The site’s founder Fredrick Brennan has called for the site to be shut down, saying it offers a "receptive audience for domestic terrorists." He stepped away from working with the site’s owners in December.

What they're saying:

"In recent years, violent extremist content has proliferated on both large and small social media platforms. ... Receiving testimony from Mr. Watkins is critical to our oversight on this matter."
— per a statement from Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)

Go deeper: America's hate problem

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect the fact that Jim Watkins is the owner and operator of 8chan (not its founder).

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 5,885,490— Total deaths: 363,031 — Total recoveries — 2,468,011Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,516 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.
Updated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.