Aug 5, 2019

Podcast: 8chan, hate's home on the Internet

A white supremacist posted his racist manifesto to the anonymous message board 8chan, just minutes before killing 21 innocent people in El Paso. And something similar has happened at least two times before. Dan and BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick dig into the trouble of 8chan, if it has a future and if it would matter.

Go deeper: America's hate problem

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Homeland Security Committee calls on 8chan owner to testify after mass shootings

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The bipartisan leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday sent to a letter to Jim Watkins, owner and operator of the anonymous forum 8chan, asking him to testify about his efforts to "investigate and mitigate the proliferation of extremist content" on his website.

Why it matters: The letter notes that there have been at least three acts of white supremacist violence linked to 8chan this year, including the mass shooting in El Paso this weekend. On Monday, 8chan's network service operator Cloudflare called the website a "cesspool of hate" before shutting down its services. The founder of 8chan has also called for the site to be shut down, labeling it a "receptive audience for domestic terrorists" after the suspected El Paso terrorist posted an anti-immigrant manifesto on 8chan's message board hours before opening fire.

What to do about 8chan, the net's atrocity megaphone

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The apparent posting of a racist manifesto by the suspect in the El Paso mass shooting has raised a new outcry over the role of 8chan, an anonymous chat site, in fomenting violent hate crimes.

  • 8chan was also the message board where the perpetrators of March's Christchurch mosque shootings and April's San Diego synagogue attack chose to post their manifestos.

Why it matters: The internet was built by true believers of free speech and has flourished by "assuming good intentions." But the combination of anonymous hate-mongering and abundant guns in the U.S. has weaponized the online world way beyond the level of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.

Go deeperArrowAug 5, 2019

Cloudflare pulls 8chan support after El Paso shooting

A memorial outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince announced Sunday the company was pulling support for 8chan at midnight Pacific time following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this weekend.

Context: Moments before the El Paso shooting on Saturday morning, an anti-immigrant screed encouraging others to spread the message apparently posted by the suspect appeared on 8chan, per the New York Times. Prince said in a blog post it appears the suspect was inspired by the online forum.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 5, 2019