What Is 8chan?

Apr 30, 2019

The shooter who massacred worshippers at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques and the man who police say shot one person and injured three more at a San Diego-area synagogue visited the same website: 8chan.

And 8chan is where they were radicalized, according to the news outlet Bellingcat

8chan is a large website, which includes a number of different discussion groups about everything from anime to left-wing politics. /pol/ is one particularly active board on the website, and it is best described as a gathering place for extremely online neo-Nazis.

The overarching goal of /pol/, held by most of its members, is to radicalize their fellow anons to “real-life effortposting,” i.e. acts of violence in the physical world. This goal is well embodied by a post I found in a discussion of the Poway Synagogue shooting.

They add that “no matter what else is discussed, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, hatred of LGBT individuals, and a desire to commit murder under the swastika are constant through-lines” of what users post on the site.

A new report from ADL shows that anti-Semitic assaults doubled in the U.S. in 2018.

And the question of what should be done about these platforms has only increased in resonance since the New Zealand massacre, which we talked about earlier this year.

At the time, New York Times journalist Kevin Roose told us that the Christchurch shooting was “designed to go viral.”

We talk about how 8chan started and how the vitriol on it has been allowed to flourish.

Produced by Jonquilyn Hill.


Will Sommer, Tech and internet reporter, The Daily Beast; creator of the Right Richter Newsletter; @willsommer

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