8chan, 8kun, 4chan, Endchan: What you need to know - 2019-11-07
A rash of postings that may be related to mass shootings has put a spotlight on loosely moderated forums known as chan boards or image boards. While many people who visit these sites simply share memes or discuss video games, the sites have also become a gathering place for white supremacists and right-wing nationalists who take advantage of the freewheeling and anonymous nature of the boards.
The anything-goes attitude has led chan boards to become swamps of hateful commentary. One board in particular, 8chan, became a magnet for these posts. After suspected shooters in at least three mass shootings in 2019 posted screeds on 8chan -- including before the El Paso, Texas, massacre in early August -- 8chan was forced offline when internet security company Cloudflare and other providers decided to stop working with the site.
8chan's owner, Jim Watkins, was subpoenaed and appeared privately before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security in September and said he'd keep the site offline voluntarily until tools were developed to counter illegal content.