Timeline of 8chan
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. Almost all users are anonymous, with no log-ins or screen names, no identification of users and no ownership of posts. Although there are hundreds of topic areas, the platform has become notorious as a gathering place for people spreading hate or extremism. Owned by American internet entrepreneur Jim Watkins, 8chan is registered as a property of N.T. Technology in Nevada.
|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.|
|2016||Brennan stops working for 8chan.|
|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. In August, Cloudflare shuts 8chan down and users start to migrate to other websites.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1994||Prelude||Prelude||American software developer Frederick Brennan is born.|
|1999||May 30||Prelude||Japanese textboard 2channel is launched by Hiroyuki Nishimura. The site would become very successful, gaining significant influence in Japanese society. 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.|
|2001||August 30||Prelude||Futaba Channel (also sometimes called 2chan) launches in Japan as an imageboard dealing with otaku and underground culture. 2chan is a spin-off of 2channel.|
|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." 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.|
|2004||Team||Jim Watkins establishes in the Philippines, in the wake of the dot-com bubble.|
|2013||October||Founding||8chan (Originally infinity chan) is created by computer programmer Fredrick Brennan, as a “Free Speech Friendly 4chan Alternative.”  Unlike 4chan, anyone can make a board on 8chan. The site allows freedom of speech and user moderation, along with other features.|
|2014||February||8chan joins Twitter.|
|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."|
|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.|
|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.|
|2014||September||Partnership|| 8chan partners with 2chan and moves servers from French datacenter |
|2014||?||Team||Brennan and Watkins start working together.|
|2014||October||Team||Fredrick Brennan moves to the Philippines, where the 2ch owner lives.|
|2015||January||Controversy|| 8chan changes its domain |
|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.|
|2015||August||Reaction||8chan is blacklisted from Google Search for what Google describes as content constituting "suspected child abuse content".|
|2015||September 21||Background||4chan founder Christopher Poole formally announces having sold 4chan 2channel founder Hiroyuki Nishimura.|
|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.|
|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.”|
|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.|
|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.|
|2016||?||Team||Fredrick Brennan stops working for 8chan.|
|2017||September 10||Reaction||The Daily Dot publishes article entitled What is 8chan, the internet’s most dangerous message board?.|
|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.|
|2019||February 26||Controversy||Video game publisher THQ Nordic GmbH apologizes after hosting "Ask Me Anything" on 8Chan on the same day.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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).|
|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.|
|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.”|
|2019||May 20||Controversy||An anti-Jewish thread is posted on 8chan, titled "I'm done. I'm angry. Gas all kikes."|
|2019||June||Controversy||8chan users target and threaten Jewish candidate for Seattle City Council Ari Hoffman.|
|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".|
|2019||August 5||Notable comment||Fredrick Brennan calls for 8chan to be shut down, 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."|
|2019||August 5||Shut down||Canadian internet services company Tucows stops hosting 8chan domain registration.|
|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." 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.|
|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. 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. 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.|
|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.|
|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".|
|2019||August 7||Legal||As of date, 8chan is the 4,526th most visited site in the world.|
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:
What the timeline is still missing
Timeline update strategy
- "What is 8chan, has the forum been shut down and is it connected to 4chan?". thesun.co.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
- "The Problem Isn't 8chan. It's Americans.". buzzfeednews.com. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- "BBC Trending". bbc.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "El Paso massacre shines light on 8chan, a racist troll haven". cnet.com. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- "What 8chan is — and why the far-right flocks to it". salon.com. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- "Founder of 8chan wishes he could 'uncreate' forum popular with white supremacists". cnbc.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Full transcript: Ars interviews 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan". arstechnica.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "The Second Channel: 2channel - Part I". yotsubasociety.org. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- 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.
- "Taro Aso said he occasionally posts on 2channel". MSNSankei (in 日本語). 6 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2009.
- "An irreverent guide to the many boards of Futaba Channel". bluethree.us. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "Why Does 8chan Exist at All?". medium.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- Chiel, Ethan. "Meet the man keeping 8chan, the world's most vile website, alive". splinternews.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "FAQ – What is 4chan?". 4chan. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- O'Brien, Danny (May 2, 2008). "Tuning into innovation outside the confines of English-speaking web". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "Police checking Philippines link of 8chan tagged in US shooting". news.abs-cbn.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Howell O'Neill, Patrick (November 17, 2014). "8chan, the central hive of Gamergate, is also an active pedophile network". The Daily Dot.
- Brennan, Fredrick (March 17, 2015). "Full transcript: Ars interviews 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan". Ars Technica. Interview with Sam Machkovech. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "8chan: owner of extremist site lashes out as scrutiny intensifies". theguardian.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Founder of controversial website 8chan still lives in the Philippines amid investigation on Texas mass shooting". interaksyon.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "What is the difference between 2Chan, 4Chan, 7Chan, 8Chan and OnionChan (And the others)". reddit.com. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- "8chan". twitter.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "Hatechan: The Hate and Violence-Filled Legacy of 8chan". adl.org. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "What is 8chan, the internet's most dangerous message board?". dailydot.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Brennan, Fredrick (October 9, 2014). "Q&A with Fredrick Brennan of 8chan". Know Your Meme. Interview with Don Caldwell. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Chen, Adrian (October 27, 2014). "Gamergate Supporters Partied at a Strip Club This Weekend". New York magazine.
- "8chan - 8chan partners with 2chan (Futaba channel)". knowyourmeme.com. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Caitlin, Dewey (January 13, 2015). "This is what happens when you create an online community without any rules". The Washington Post.
- Mattise, Nathan (January 4, 2015). "8chan tries "swatting" GamerGate critic, sends cops to an old address". Ars Technica.
- Hern, Alex (January 13, 2015). "Gamergate hits new low with attempts to send Swat teams to critics". The Guardian. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- McElroy, Justin (January 15, 2015). "Police falsely called to Burnaby women's home by online harassers". Global News. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Cheong, Ian Miles (January 13, 2015). "Canadian Victim of Gamergate SWATing Attempt Comes Forward". Gameranx. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "Reckless 'swatting' prank sends police to B.C. woman's home". CTV News. January 14, 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Machkovech, Sam (August 14, 2015). "8chan-hosted content disappears from Google searches". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Lauren Orsini (September 21, 2015). "How The 4chan Sale Returns The Controversial Forum To Its Anime Roots". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
- "Who turned Microsoft's chatbot racist? Surprise, it was 4chan and 8chan". splinternews.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Wendling, Mike (August 26, 2016). "Trump's shock troops: Who are the 'alt-right'?". BBC News.
- Tue, Sep 4th 2018 10:44am-Tim Cushing. "Louisiana Police Appear To Be Using A Hoax Antifa List Created By 8Chan To Open Criminal Investigations". Techdirt.
- Grayson, Nathan. "Video Game Publisher Apologizes After Hosting AMA On 8Chan". kotaku.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "THQ Nordic apologizes for granting interview to the toilet of the internet, 8chan". pcgamer.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Three hours after allying with 8chan, THQ Nordic goes into full apology mode". arstechnica.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Gaming Company THQ Nordic Hosts AMA On 8Chan, The Racist Gutter Of The Internet". huffpost.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Trump Supporters On 8chan Launch Harassment Campaign Against Reporter". mediamatters.org. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
- Brewster, Thomas (15 March 2019). "After The New Zealand Terror Attack, Should 8chan Be Wiped From The Web?". Forbes. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "4chan, 8chan, LiveLeak and Others Blocked by Australian Internet Companies over Mosque Massacre Video".
- Miller, Justin (May 9, 2019). "Poway Synagogue Shooting Suspect John T. Earnest Told 911: 'I'm Just Trying to Defend My Nation'". thedailybeast.com. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
For Brenton Tarrant -t /pol/ he wrote in the manifesto
- "Direct Incitement To Terrorism On 8chan – Including Specific Naming Of A Jewish Journalist For Targeting". memri.org. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "ADL Statement on Anti-Semitic Threats Against Seattle City Council Candidate". seattle.adl.org. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Jewish candidate for Seattle City Council targeted by sign-stealing, anti-Semitic threats". jns.org. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "8chan goes down after Cloudflare pulls support in wake of El Paso shooting". cbsnews.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "8chan creator wants site shut down following El Paso shooting". theweek.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "8chan: far-right site linked to shootings resurfaces – and is kicked offline again". theguardian.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "'Shut the Site Down,' Says the Creator of 8chan, a Megaphone for Gunmen". nytimes.com. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Fredrick Brennan tweet". twitter.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Tucows Drops 8chan Domain Registration After El Paso Shooting". forbes.com. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Canadian internet services company Tucows stops hosting 8chan domain in wake of El Paso mass shooting". pembrokeobserver.com. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Canadian internet services company Tucows stops hosting 8chan domain in wake of El Paso mass shooting". nationalpost.com. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Terminating Service for 8Chan". Cloudflare Blog.
- "8chan, the infamous message board linked to the El Paso shooting, was briefly back up before getting taken down again by another service provider". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "Epik draws line on Acceptable Use". epik.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "8chan dumped by service known for hosting racist sites". mashable.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- Macuk, Anthony. "Epik reverses course, says BitMitigate will not support 8chan". columbian.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- "The Far Right's Internet Protector Goes Down After Taking In 8chan". vice.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- Bowden, John. "Police in Philippines launch probe into 8chan: report". msn.com. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Owner of 8chan called before US Congress, as latest host drops site". businesslive.co.za. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "8chan owner called before US Congress". trtworld.com. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "8chan owner called before Congress, as latest host drops site". reuters.com. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "8ch.net Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic". alexa.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.