The anonymous forum 8Chan—a haven for far-right extremists, conspiracy theorists, and internet filth—came back online today after going dark in August due to its association with several mass shootings. Rebranded as 8kun (“kun” and “chan” are both honorific titles in Japanese for you non-weebs out there), the forum now has an important caveat to the no-holds-barred approach to free speech it previously touted, and it’s outlined in plain language on the site’s front page: Anything considered illegal in the United States will be removed.
Exactly how many of 8Chan’s millions of former users visited its new iteration today is unclear, but site administrator Ron Watkins, son of 8Chan’s owner and operator Jim Watkins, said in a Youtube video that heavy traffic and cyberattacks were causing significant problems on the site. According to 8Chan’s Twitter, most of the top 25 subforums on 8Chan have been migrated over and they’ve received more than 200 board migration requests.
We’ve received over 200 board migration requests. Thank you! A few top 25 boards are still missing. Please make sure to let your BO know to contact [email protected] with his/her correct shared secret.
— 8chan (8ch.net) (@infinitechan) October 18, 2019
Notably missing among them so far is the /pol/ subforum. Multiple suspected gunmen have posted their manifestos to this board before beginning deadly terrorist acts. 8Chan’s network provider Cloudfare cut ties with the site in August after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, left 20 people dead. The suspected shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, is believed to have posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto on 8Chan prior to the attack. Livestream footage of the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in March was also shared on this subforum.
Since August, 8Chan has been struggling to find web services companies that will work with them because of these controversies, though Jim Watkins has continued to defend the site in testimony to Congress and on Youtube.
Time will tell whether 8kun proves as much of a cesspool as its predecessor. Word is, the infamous conspiracy theorist QAnon has already made an appearance.