Timeline of 8chan

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This is a timeline of 8chan, a message board dedicated to extreme free speech and anonymity. Users create and moderate their own boards which span many topics, from anime to politics.[1] Almost all users are anonymous, with no log-ins or screen names, no identification of users and no ownership of posts.[2] Although there are hundreds of topic areas[3], the platform has become notorious as a gathering place for people spreading hate or extremism.[4] Owned by American internet entrepreneur Jim Watkins, 8chan is registered as a property of N.T. Technology in Nevada.[5]

Big picture

Time period Development summary
2013 8chan is founded by Fredrick Brennan as a more anarchic and open alternative to increasingly moderated 4chan.
2014 The site grows spectacularly as massive exodus from 4chan results from the Gamergate controversy.
2015 Brennan loses control of 8chan, which is now run by U.S. Army veteran Jim Watkins.[6]
2016 Brennan stops working for 8chan.[6]
2018 Brennan loses contact with Watkins.
2019 8chan's infamy grows after posts are made by suspects of terrorist attacks in New Zealand and the United States.[3] In August, Cloudflare shuts 8chan down and users start to migrate to other websites.

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details
1994 Prelude Prelude American software developer Frederick Brennan is born.[7]
1999 May 30 Prelude Japanese textboard 2channel is launched by Hiroyuki Nishimura.[8] The site would become very successful, gaining significant influence in Japanese society.[9][10] It is used by many Japanese who share information, and chat with people over several topics, with many posting anonymously, due to the ease of the posting system.[8]
2001 August 30 Prelude Futaba Channel (also sometimes called 2chan) launches in Japan as an imageboard dealing with otaku and underground culture.[11] 2chan is a spin-off of 2channel.[12]
2003 October 1 Prelude English-language imageboard website 4chan is launched by fifteen-year-old Christopher Poole, who describes the site as "a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images anonymously."[13] The website is intended to be an American counterpart to the popular Japanese Futaba Channel ("2chan") imageboard, and a place to discuss manga and anime.[14][15][12]
2004 Team Jim Watkins establishes in the Philippines, in the wake of the dot-com bubble.[16]
2013 October Founding 8chan (Originally infinity chan) is created by computer programmer Fredrick Brennan,[17][18] as a “Free Speech Friendly 4chan Alternative.” [19][20] Unlike 4chan, anyone can make a board on 8chan. The site allows freedom of speech and user moderation, along with other features.[21]
2014 February 8chan joins Twitter.[22]
2014 March 8chan's FAQ states only one rule that is to be globally enforced: "Do not post, request, or link to any content illegal in the United States of America. Do not create boards with the sole purpose of posting or spreading such content."[23]
2014 September Background 4chan founder Christopher Poole announces removal of all Gamergate threads, many of whom include death threats aimed at a female game developer and “doxed” women—posting personal information without permission—in the gamer community. Those alienated by the decision would flock to 8chan whose populatiry would explode with its fewer restrictions on posting.[24][19]
2014 September Userbase 8chan goes from around 100 posts per hour to over 4,000 posts per hour. This is the result of a massive exodus of 4chan-banned people, who starts shaping the character of 8chan into a more controversial site.[7]
2014 September Partnership 8chan partners with 2chan and moves servers from French datacenter online.net to 2chan’s datacenter.[7][25] and subsequently relocates in the Philippines.[26][27]
2014  ? Team Brennan and Watkins start working together.[19]
2014 October Team Fredrick Brennan moves to the Philippines, where the 2ch owner lives.[7]
2015 January Controversy 8chan changes its domain 8chan.co to 8ch.net after multiple people filed reports complaining to 8chan's registrar that the message board hosted child pornography. Despite subsequently regaining the domain, the site remains at 8ch.net, with the old domain redirecting to it.[28]
2015 January Controversy 8chan is used as a base for swatting exploits in Portland, Seattle, and Burnaby, British Columbia, most of them tied to the victims' criticism of the Gamergate controversy, as trolls attempt to get police swat teams sent to the homes of critics of Gamergate in an escalation of intimidatory tactics.[29][30][31][32][33]
2015 August Reaction 8chan is blacklisted from Google Search for what Google describes as content constituting "suspected child abuse content".[34]
2015 September 21 Background 4chan founder Christopher Poole formally announces having sold 4chan 2channel founder Hiroyuki Nishimura.[35]
2016 Early year Controversy Microsoft releases its artificial intelligence chatterbot Tay on Twitter. Being able to learn from the world via the accounts that tweeted at it, Tay would turn offensive and racist in less that 24 hors, after 8chan, along with 4chan users, are mobilized to send offensive messages to the AI bot, which would be shut down.[24][36]
2016 April 19 Reaction Ethan Chiel writes for news and opinion website Splinter News: “It (8chan) became the new digital home for some of the most offensive people on the internet, people who really believe in white supremacy and the inferiority of women.”[13]
2016 June 22 Controversy The image of Hillary Clinton is posted on 8chan, with a background of money and a six-pointed star, seen by some as resembling the Star of David, containing the message "Most corrupt candidate ever". A week later, United States presidential candidate Donald Trump would post the same image on Tweeter.[37]
2016 October Controversy 8chan users compile lists of journalists, then tweet out photos of the journalists with red Xs over their faces. Around this time, during the 2016 presidential election, many alt right activists target journalists, especially Jewish journalists, with anti-Semitic harassment.[23]
2016  ? Team Fredrick Brennan stops working for 8chan.[19]
2017 September 10 Reaction The Daily Dot publishes article entitled What is 8chan, the internet’s most dangerous message board?.[24]
2018 September Controversy High-ranking Louisiana State Police officers are found sharing a document entitled “full list of antifa.docx”, which appeared on 8Chan three days before a similarly named file made its way through the LSP email system. The LSP would be later scrutinized for using a hoax list of personal information about supposed antifa members compiled by 8chan users to keep tabs on Americans opposed to Donald Trump.[38]
2019 February 26 Controversy Video game publisher THQ Nordic GmbH apologizes after hosting "Ask Me Anything" on 8Chan on the same day.[39][40][41][42]
2019 March 14 Controversy American investigative journalist David Cay Johnston reveals having received two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax forms in the mail, unsolicited. The documents show that Trump “earned $153 million and paid $36.5 million in income taxes in 2005, paying a roughly 25 percent effective tax rate thanks to a tax he has since sought to eliminate.” The White House confirms the veracity of the documents and publicly releases Trump’s 2005 tax details before Johnston explained the findings. Trump supporters later post his home phone number and address on 8chan, launching a harassment campaign against the reporter.[43]
2019 March 15 Controversy Christchurch mosque shootings. 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant shoots and kills 51 people and wounds dozens of others in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Only minutes before the attack, Tarrant shared links to the live stream video on 8chan and on Facebook. Some members of 8chan re-shared it and applauded the violent murders.[44]
2019 March 20 Censorship Australian telecom companies Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone deny millions of Australians access to the websites 4chan, 8chan, Zero Hedge, and Liveleak as a reaction to the Christchurch mosque shootings.[45]
2019 March 24 Controversy Escondido mosque fire. A graffiti on the building says "For Brenton Tarrant -t /pol/" (references to the Australia-born perpetrator of the shootings and attacks and to 8chan's /pol/ board to which both men belonged).[46]
2019 April Controversy Poway synagogue shooting. Suspected perpetrator John Earnest posts a manifesto to 8chan before the attack, referring admiringly to Brenton Tarrant and to Robert Bowers, the mass shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue.[23]
2019 April Study The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism and the Network Contagion Research Institute conduct a study of 8chan and the social networking site Gab, analyzing on-line behavior in connection with killing sprees of Brenton Tarrant, who used 8chan, and Robert Bowers, who posted on Gab. The investigation reveals that murderous, even genocidal, language was pervasive on 8chan, “suggesting the next Bowers or the next Tarrant could emerge at any moment.”[23]
2019 May 20 Controversy An anti-Jewish thread is posted on 8chan, titled "I'm done. I'm angry. Gas all kikes."[47]
2019 June Controversy 8chan users target and threaten Jewish candidate for Seattle City Council Ari Hoffman.[48][49]
2019 August 4 Censorship Being the website where the suspected El Paso gunman posted a hate-filled screed, 8chan is down temporarily. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince states in blog post "8chan has repeatedly proven itself to be a cesspool of hate".[50][51][52]
2019 August 5 Notable comment Fredrick Brennan calls for 8chan to be shut down[53], stating that the site is not doing the world any good. On Twitter, Brennan writes "The only ones who will suffer from 8chan going down are mass shooters who planned to use it as a platform and Jim Watkins."[54]
2019 August 5 Shut down Canadian internet services company Tucows stops hosting 8chan domain registration.[55][56][57]
2019 August 5 Shut down Cloudflare terminates its service to 8chan citing its connection to various shootings across the United States. The Cloudflare Blog states "8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare's service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit."[58] After being offline for a few hours, 8chan starts running on Cloudflare competitor BitMitigate, a service hosted from a cloud platform company called Voxility, which would subsequently remove BitMitigate from its network.[59]
2019 August 6 Shut down Rob Monster, founder and chief executive officer of domain registrar and hosting provider Epik, posts a statement explaining that it has decided to not provide hosting-related services to 8chan.[60][61] The announcement marks a reversal, as on the previous day Jim Watkins tweeted that he had begun using BitMitigate, which is subsidiary of Epik, to protect 8chan from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.[62] Epik, which resells services from Voxility and other companies, had been booted by the latter, with the result of sites such as 8chan being trickled down.[63]
2019 August 6 Legal Authorities in the Philippines launch probe into 8chan in order to investigate the owners of the website to determine whether they were negligent in dealing with far-right users of the platform who have created an atmosphere that encourages mass shootings.[64]
2019 August 6 Legal The United States House Committee on Homeland Security calls Jim Watkins to testify to the Congress about the website's efforts to tackle "the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist content".[65][66][67]
2019 August 7 Legal As of date, 8chan is the 4,526th most visited site in the world.[68]

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:

  • FIXME

What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links

References

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  5. "What 8chan is — and why the far-right flocks to it". salon.com. Retrieved 19 August 2019. 
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  9. Onishi, Norimitsu (9 May 2004). "Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings, NYTimes.com, May 9, 2004". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
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