8chan Is Back as 8kun. Its Racist Users Found New Homes While It Was Offline. - 2019-11-11
8chan went offline in August after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. An hour before the alleged shooter killed 22 people, he apparently posted a racist, anti-immigrant screed on 8chan and wrote, "Do your part and spread this brothers!" It was the third instance this year that a shooter had posted a manifesto to 8chan, but this time, the anonymous image board—a haven for conspiracy theories and bigotry—faced blowback from its service providers, including Cloudflare, which the site used for security, and Tucows, its domain host. Both dropped 8chan—which is owned by Americans but is based in the Philippines—as a client.
On Nov. 2, 8chan came back online with a new name and new service providers. It's called 8kun, and it's run by the same owner, Jim Watkins. But while the users who made 8chan what it was were certainly hampered by the site's deplatforming, they didn't disappear when the site went down. They found other ways to congregate.
8chan and the new 8kun look identical, but they're not. 8kun is currently only reliably accessible on the dark web, meaning that to reach it you need software like Tor, which allows users to browse the web anonymously and reach unindexed websites. It's not hard to download the Tor browser, but it's still an extra step that makes 8kun harder to find and likely to have fewer visitors than its predecessor, which had millions of users. Another main difference: 8kun doesn't have a "/pol/" board (short for "politically incorrect"). That corner of 8chan—named after a board on its forerunner, 4chan—was where trolls gathered to discuss politics and plan harassment and doxing campaigns against people they disagreed with, like activists and journalists. It's also where the alleged perpetrators of the El Paso and Christchurch, New Zealand, massacres—as well as a shooter in Poway, California—posted their manifestos before opening fire.