= 4chan =
4chan is an anonymous English-language imageboard website. Launched by
Christopher "moot" Poole in October 2003, the site hosts boards
dedicated to a wide variety of topics, from anime and manga to video
games, music, literature, fitness, politics, and sports, among others.
Registration is not available and users typically post anonymously;
posting is ephemeral, as threads receiving recent replies are "bumped"
to the top of their respective board and old threads are deleted as
new ones are created. , 4chan receives more than 20 million unique
monthly visitors, with more than 900,000 posts made daily.
4chan was created as an unofficial English-language counterpart to the
Japanese imageboard Futaba Channel, also known as 2chan, and its first
boards were created for posting images and discussion related to
anime. The site has been described as a hub of Internet subculture,
with its community being influential in the formation of prominent
Internet memes, such as lolcats, Rickrolling and rage comics, as well
as hacktivist and political movements, such as Anonymous and the
alt-right. 4chan has often been the subject of media attention as a
source of controversies, including the coordination of pranks and
harassment against websites and Internet users, and the posting of
illegal and offensive content. 'The Guardian' once summarized the
4chan community as "lunatic, juvenile (...) brilliant, ridiculous and
The majority of posting on 4chan takes place on imageboards, where
users have the ability to share images and create threaded
discussions. The site's homepage lists 70 imageboards and one Flash
animation board, divided into seven categories: Japanese Culture,
Video Games, Interests, Creative, Other, Misc. (NSFW), and Adult
(NSFW). Each board has its own set of rules and is dedicated to a
specific topic, variously including anime and manga, video games,
music, literature, fitness, politics, and sports, among others. As of
2019, the /pol/ (Politically Incorrect), /v/ (Video Games), /vg/
(Video Games Generals), and /b/ (Random) boards receive the most daily
4chan is the Internet's most trafficked imageboard, according to the
'Los Angeles Times'. 4chan's Alexa rank is 1042 though it has been as
high as 56. It is provided to its users free of charge and consumes a
large amount of bandwidth; as a result, its financing has often been
problematic. Poole has acknowledged that donations alone could not
keep the site online, and turned to advertising to help make ends
meet. However, the explicit content hosted on 4chan has deterred
businesses who do not want to be associated with the site's content.
In January 2009, Poole signed a new deal with an advertising company;
in February 2009, he was $20,000 in debt, and the site was continuing
to lose money. The 4chan servers were moved from Texas to California
in August 2008, which upgraded the maximum bandwidth throughput of
4chan from 100Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s.
Unlike most web forums, 4chan does not have a registration system,
allowing users to post anonymously. Any nickname may be used when
posting, even one that has been previously adopted, such as
"Anonymous" or "moot". In place of registration, 4chan has provided
tripcodes as an optional form of authenticating a poster's identity.
As making a post without filling in the "Name" field causes posts to
be attributed to "Anonymous", general understanding on 4chan holds
that Anonymous is not a single person but a collective (hive) of
users. Moderators generally post without a name even when performing
sysop actions. A "capcode" may be used to attribute the post to
"Anonymous ## Mod", although moderators often post without the
capcode. In a 2011 interview on Nico Nico Douga, Poole explained that
there are approximately 20 volunteer moderators active on 4chan. 4chan
also has a junior moderation team, called "janitors", who may delete
posts or images and suggest that the normal moderation team ban a
user, but who cannot post with a capcode. Revealing oneself as a
janitor is grounds for immediate dismissal.
4chan has been the target of occasional denial of service attacks. For
instance, on December 28, 2010, 4chan and other websites went down due
to such an attack, following which Poole said on his blog, "We now
join the ranks of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, et al.—an exclusive club!"
The site was launched as 4chan.net on October 1, 2003 by Christopher
Poole, a then-15-year-old student from New York City using the online
handle "moot". Poole had been a regular participant on Something
Awful's subforum "Anime Death Tentacle Rape Whorehouse" (ADTRW), where
many users were familiar with the Japanese imageboard format and
Futaba Channel ("2chan.net"). When creating 4chan, Poole obtained
Futaba Channel's open source code and translated the Japanese text
into English using AltaVista's Babel Fish online translator. After the
site's creation, Poole invited users from the ADTRW subforum, many of
whom were dissatisfied with the site's moderation, to visit 4chan,
which he advertised as an English-language counterpart to Futaba
Channel and a place for Western fans to discuss anime and manga. At
its founding, the site only hosted one board: /b/ (Anime/Random).
Before the end of 2003, several new anime-related boards were added,
including /h/ (Hentai), /c/ (Anime/Cute), /d/ (Hentai/Alternative),
/w/ (Wallpapers/Anime), /y/ (Yaoi), and /a/ (Anime). Additionally, a
lolicon board was created at /l/ (Lolikon), but was disabled following
the posting of genuine child pornography and ultimately deleted in
October 2004, after threats of legal action. In February 2004, GoDaddy
suspended the 4chan.net domain, prompting Poole to move the site to
its current domain at 4chan.org. On March 1, 2004, Poole announced
that he lacked the funds to pay the month's server bill, but was able
to continue operations after receiving a swarm of donations from
users. In June 2004, 4chan experienced six weeks of downtime after
PayPal suspended 4chan's donations service after receiving complaints
about the site's content. Following 4chan's return, several non-anime
related boards were introduced, including /k/ (Weapons), /o/ (Auto),
and /v/ (Video Games). In 2008, nine new boards were created,
including the sports board at /sp/, the fashion board at /fa/ and the
"Japan/General" (the name later changed to "Otaku Culture") board at
In January 2011, Poole announced the deletion of the /r9k/
("ROBOT9000") and /new/ (News) boards, saying that /new/ had become
devoted to racist discussions, and /r9k/ no longer served its original
purpose of being a test implementation of xkcd's ROBOT9000 script.
During the same year, the /soc/ board was created in an effort to
reduce the number of socialization threads on /b/. /r9k/ was restored
on October 23, 2011, along with /hc/ ("Hardcore", previously deleted),
/pol/ (a rebranding of /new/) and the new /diy/ board, in addition to
an apology by Poole where he recalls how he criticized the deletion of
Encyclopedia Dramatica and realized that he had done the same.
In 2010, 4chan had implemented reCAPTCHA in an effort to thwart spam
transition to utilizing Cloudflare following a series of DDoS attacks.
The 4chan imageboards were rewritten in valid HTML5/CSS3 in May 2012
in an effort to improve client-side performance. On September 28,
2012, 4chan introduced a "4chan pass" that, when purchased, "allows
users to bypass typing a reCAPTCHA verification when posting and
reporting posts on the 4chan image boards"; the money raised from the
passes will go towards supporting the site.
On January 21, 2015, Poole stepped down as the site's administrator,
citing stress from controversies such as Gamergate as the reason for
his departure. On September 21, 2015, Poole announced that Hiroyuki
Nishimura had purchased from him the ownership rights to 4chan,
without disclosing the terms of the acquisition. Nishimura was the
former administrator of 2channel between 1999 and 2014, the website
forming the basis for anonymous posting culture which influenced later
websites such as Futaba Channel and 4chan; Nishimura lost 2channel's
domain after it was seized by his registrar, Jim Watkins, after the
latter alleged financial difficulties.
In October 2016, it was reported that the site was facing financial
difficulties that could lead to its closure or radical changes. In a
post titled "Winter is Coming", Hiroyuki Nishimura said, "We had tried
to keep 4chan as is. But I failed. I am sincerely sorry", citing
server costs, infrastructure costs, and network fees.
On November 17, 2018, it was announced that the site would be split
into two, with the work-safe boards moved to a new domain,
4channel.org, while the NSFW boards would remain on the 4chan.org
domain. In a series of posts on the topic, Nishimura explained that
the split was due to 4chan being blacklisted by most advertising
companies, and that the new 4channel domain would allow for the site
to receive advertisements by mainstream ad providers.
In a 2020 interview with Vice Media, several current or past
moderators spoke about what they perceived as racist intent behind the
site's management. They described how a managing moderator named
RapeApe is attempting to use the site as a tool for the alt-right, and
how Nishimura is "hands off, leaving moderation of the site primarily
to RapeApe." Neither Nishimura nor RapeApe responded to these
Poole kept his real-life identity hidden until it was revealed on July
9, 2008, in 'The Wall Street Journal'. Prior to that, he had used the
In April 2009, Poole was voted the world's most influential person of
2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time magazine. The results
were questioned even before the poll completed, as automated voting
programs and manual ballot stuffing were used to influence the vote.
4chan's interference with the vote seemed increasingly likely, when it
was found that reading the first letter of the first 21 candidates in
the poll spelled out a phrase containing two 4chan memes: "mARBLECAKE.
ALSO, THE GAME."
On September 12, 2009, Poole gave a talk on why 4chan has a reputation
as a "Meme Factory" at the Paraflows Symposium in Vienna, Austria,
which was part of the Paraflows 09 festival, themed Urban Hacking. In
this talk, Poole mainly attributed this to the anonymous system, and
to the lack of data retention on the site ("The site has no memory.").
In April 2010, Poole gave evidence in the trial 'United States of
America v. David Kernell' as a government witness. As a witness, he
explained the terminology used on 4chan to the prosecutor, ranging
from "OP" to "lurker". He also explained to the court the nature of
the data given to the FBI as part of the search warrant, including how
users can be uniquely identified from site audit logs.
The "random" board, /b/, follows the design of Futaba Channel's
Nijiura board. It was the first board created, and was described in
2009 as 4chan's most popular board, accounting for 30% of site traffic
at the time. Gawker's Nick Douglas summarized /b/ as a board where
"people try to shock, entertain, and coax free porn from each other."
/b/ has a "no rules" policy, except for bans on certain illegal
content, such as child pornography, invasions of other websites
(posting floods of disruptive content), and under-18 viewing, all of
which are inherited from site-wide rules. The "no invasions" rule was
added in late 2006, after /b/ users spent most of that summer
"invading" Habbo Hotel. The "no rules" policy also applies to actions
of administrators and moderators, which means that users may be banned
at any time, for any reason, including for no reason at all. Due
partially to its anonymous nature, board moderation is not always
successful—indeed, the site's anti-child pornography rule is a subject
of jokes on /b/. Christopher Poole told 'The New York Times', in a
discussion on the moderation of /b/, that "the power lies in the
community to dictate its own standards" and that site staff simply
provided a framework.
The humor of /b/'s many users, who refer to themselves as "/b/tards",
is often incomprehensible to newcomers and outsiders, and is
characterized by intricate inside jokes and dark comedy. Users often
refer to each other, and much of the outside world, as fags. They are
often referred to by outsiders as trolls, who regularly act with the
intention of "doing it for the lulz", a corruption of "LOL" used to
denote amusement at another's expense. 'The New York Observer' has
described posters as "immature pranksters whose bad behavior is
encouraged by the site's total anonymity and the absence of an
archive". Douglas said of the board, "reading /b/ will melt your
brain", and cited Encyclopedia Dramatica's definition of /b/ as "the
asshole of the Internets ['sic']". Mattathias Schwartz of 'The New
York Times' likened /b/ to "a high-school bathroom stall, or an
obscene telephone party line", while 'Baltimore City Paper' wrote that
"in the high school of the Internet, /b/ is the kid with a collection
of butterfly knives and a locker full of porn." 'Wired' describes /b/
Each post is assigned a post number. Certain post numbers are sought
after with a large amount of posting taking place to "GET" them. A
"GET" occurs when a post's number ends in a special number, such as
12345678, 22222222, or every millionth post. A sign of 4chan's
scaling, according to Poole, was when GETs lost meaning due to the
high post rate resulting in a GET occurring every few weeks. He
estimated /b/'s post rate in July 2008 to be 150,000-200,000 posts per
/pol/ ("Politically Incorrect") is 4chan's political discussion board.
A stickied thread on its front page states that the board's intended
purpose is "discussion of news, world events, political issues, and
other related topics." /pol/ was created in October 2011 as a
rebranding of 4chan's news board, /new/, which was deleted that
January for a high volume of racist discussion.
Although there had previously been a strong left-libertarian
contingent to 4chan activists, there was a gradual rightward turn on
4chan's politics board in the early-mid 2010s. The board quickly
attracted posters with a political persuasion that later would be
described with a new term, the alt-right. Media sources have
characterized /pol/ as predominantly racist and sexist, with many of
its posts taking an explicitly neo-Nazi bent. The Southern Poverty Law
Center regards /pol/'s rhetorical style as widely emulated by white
supremacist websites such as 'The Daily Stormer'; the 'Stormer's'
editor, Andrew Anglin, concurred.
/pol/ was where screenshots of Trayvon Martin's hacked social media
accounts were initially posted. The board's users have started
antifeminist, homophobic, transphobic, and anti-Arab Twitter
Many /pol/ users favored Donald Trump during his 2016 United States
presidential campaign. Both Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr.,
appeared to acknowledge the support by tweeting /pol/-associated
memes. Upon his successful election, a /pol/ moderator embedded a
pro-Trump video at the top of all of the board's pages.
/r9k/ is a board which implements Randall Munroe's "ROBOT9000"
algorithm, where no exact reposts are permitted. The board was
initially centered around NEET and 'hikikomori' lifestyles, and is
credited as the origin of the "greentext" rhetorical style. By 2012,
personal confession stories of self-loathing, depression, and
attempted suicide, began to supersede /b/-style roleplaying, 'otaku',
and video game discussion.
The users of /r9k/ built upon by then popular 4chan memes "epic win"
and "fail" to group the human population into "alphas", or
stereotypical well-adjusted popular people, and "betas", or
stereotypical geek-ish social rejects, self-identifying with the
latter. It became a popular gathering place for the controversial
online incel community. The "beta uprising" or "beta rebellion" meme,
the idea of taking revenge against women, jocks and others perceived
as the cause of incels' problems, was popularized on the sub-section.
It gained more traction on the forum following the Umpqua Community
College shooting, where it is believed that the shooter, Chris
Harper-Mercer, also warned people not to go to school in the
Northwest, hours prior to the shooting as users encouraged him. The
perpetrator of the Toronto van attack referenced 4chan and an incel
rebellion in a Facebook post he made prior to the attack, while
praising self-identified incel Elliot Rodger, the killer behind the
2014 Isla Vista killings. He claims to have talked with both
Harper-Mercer and Rodger on Reddit and 4chan and believes that he was
part of a "beta uprising", also posting a message on 4chan about his
intention the day before his attack.
Early internet memes
Many early memes that originated at 4chan have gained media attention.
This included "So I herd u liek mudkipz", which involved a phrase
based on 'Pokémon' and which generated numerous YouTube tribute
videos, and the term "'an hero'" as a synonym for suicide, after a
misspelling in the Myspace online memorial of seventh grader Mitchell
Henderson. 4chan and other websites, such as the satirical
Encyclopedia Dramatica, have also contributed to the development of
significant amounts of leetspeak.
A lolcat is an image combining a photograph of a cat with text
intended to contribute humour. The text is often idiosyncratic and
grammatically incorrect. In 2005, the meme was widely popularized by
4chan in the form of "Caturday". Every Saturday, users posted pictures
of cats with image macros relating to that day's theme.
In 2005, a meme known as the "duckroll" began, after Poole used a word
filter to change "egg" to "duck" across 4chan. Thus, words such as
"eggroll" were changed to "duckroll". This led to a bait-and-switch in
which external links disguised as relevant to a discussion instead led
to a picture of a duck on wheels. An unidentified 4chan user applied
the concept of the duckroll to a 2007 post relating to the video game
'Grand Theft Auto IV'. In March of that year, the game's trailer had
been released, and the game's immense popularity caused publisher
Rockstar Games' website to crash. The user posted a YouTube link that
purportedly led to the trailer, but in reality directed users to the
music video for Rick Astley's 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up".
Thus, the "rickroll" was born. In an interview with the 'Los Angeles
Times', Astley said he found the meme "bizarre and funny".
A link to the YouTube video of Tay Zonday's song "Chocolate Rain" was
posted on /b/ on July 11, 2007. 'The Age' reported that 4chan posters
urged each other to "swarm" the video on YouTube and thus increase its
ranking. The video became an immensely popular Internet meme,
resulting in cover versions by John Mayer and Green Day drummer Tré
Cool. The portion of the song in which Zonday turns away from the
microphone, with a caption stating "I move away from the mic to
breathe in", became an oft-repeated meme on 4chan and inspired
The character of Boxxy is portrayed by Catherine "Catie" Wayne, an
American Internet celebrity known for her highly energetic vlogs. Her
rise to exposure began in late 2008 and early 2009, surrounding
self-made videos that were initially made to be posted to her Gaia
Online profile. They then spread to 4chan and other sites, resulting
in a large online following.
In his American incarnation, Pedobear is an anthropomorphic bear child
predator that is often used within the community to mock contributors
showing a sexual interest in children. Pedobear is one of the most
popular memes on non-English imageboards, and has gained recognition
across Europe. In February 2010, a photoshopped version of Pedobear
appeared along with mascots of the 2010 Winter Olympics in an article
on the games in 'Gazeta Olsztyńska', a Polish newspaper. This was done
accidentally; due to the image being used from Google Images, the
authors were unaware of the joke. Similarly, the Dutch television
guide 'Avrobode' used one of the images. It has been used as a symbol
of pedophilia by Maltese graffiti vandals prior to a papal visit.
Anonymous and anti-Scientology activism
Protests against Scientology
4chan has been labeled as the starting point of the Anonymous meme by
The 'Baltimore City Paper', due to the norm of posts signed with the
"Anonymous" moniker. The 'National Post's' David George-Cosh said it
has been "widely reported" that Anonymous is associated with 4chan and
711chan, as well as numerous Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels.
Through its association with Anonymous, 4chan has become associated
with Project Chanology, a worldwide protest against the Church of
Scientology held by members of Anonymous. On January 15, 2008, a 4chan
user posted to /b/, suggesting participants "do something big" against
the Church of Scientology's website. This message resulted in the
Church receiving threatening phone calls. It quickly grew into a large
real-world protest. Unlike previous Anonymous attacks, this action was
characterized by 4chan memes including rickrolls and Guy Fawkes masks.
The raid drew criticism from some 4chan users who felt it would bring
the site undesirable attention.
''My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic'' fandom
The adult fandom and subculture dedicated to the children's animated
television series 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic' began on the
"Comics & Cartoons" (/co/) board of 4chan. The show was first
discussed with some interest around its debut in October 2010. In an
article published on the animation website Cartoon Brew, titled 'The
End of the Creator-Driven Era in TV Animation', the writer Amid Amidi
referenced the then-recent debut of the show as an example of how the
talent of creators such as Lauren Faust was being used to work on
behalf of an established toy-centric property rather than original
ideas developed by creators themselves. The article was shared on
/co/, where the alarmist tone of the essay provoked heightened
interest in the show, resulting in praise for its plot, characters,
and animation style.
The moderation of 'My Little Pony' related topics on 4chan became
controversial; discussion of the show extended to the /b/ board,
reaching a volume and intrusiveness that was eventually met with
hostile reactions from other 4chan users. This resulted in
intervention from a moderator, with an introduction of automatic one
day ban on the use of the word "pony", to prevent discussion of the
show. Discussion of the show began to spread to communities external
to 4chan in reaction, including the establishment of the fan news
website 'Equestria Daily', causing the show to reach a wider audience
across the internet. These events were described as a "civil war"
internal to 4chan. The site administrator moot eventually settled the
matter by creating the board dedicated to discussion of the show,
"Pony" (/mlp/), and apologised on behalf of the moderation team for
neglecting "one of the largest subcultures in 4chan's history". There
is a ban on discussion of the show globally on the site outside of
Arrests for animal abuse
On February 15, 2009, a user uploaded two YouTube videos that showed
the physical abuse of a domestic cat named Dusty by a person calling
himself "Timmy". The 4chan community was able to track down the
originator of the videos, a fourteen-year-old from Lawton, Oklahoma,
and passed his details to his local police department. As a result of
this, a suspect was arrested and the cat was treated by a veterinarian
and taken to a safe place.
"This post is art"
On July 30, 2014, an anonymous user made a reply in a thread on the
board /pol/ "Politically Incorrect" of 4chan, criticizing modern art
in an ironic fashion, saying:
Less than an hour later the post was photographed off the screen and
framed by another user who posted another reply in the thread with a
photo of the framed quote. Later the user, after endorsement by other
anonymous users in the thread, created an auction on eBay for the
framed photo which quickly rose to high prices, culminating in a price
Death of Jeffrey Epstein
A report of Jeffrey Epstein's death was posted on /pol/ around 40
minutes before ABC News broke the news. The unidentified person who
made the posts may have been a first responder, in violation of
privacy law, prompting a review by the New York City Fire Department.
According to 'The Washington Post', "the site's users have managed to
pull off some of the highest-profile collective actions in the history
of the Internet."
Users of 4chan and other websites "raided" Hal Turner by launching
DDoS attacks and prank calling his phone-in radio show during December
2006 and January 2007. The attacks caused Turner's website to go
offline. This cost thousands of dollars of bandwidth bills according
to Turner. In response, Turner sued 4chan, 7chan, and other websites;
however, he lost his plea for an injunction and failed to receive
letters from the court.
KTTV Fox 11 aired a report on Anonymous, calling them a group of
"hackers on steroids", "domestic terrorists", and collectively an
"Internet hate machine" on July 26, 2007. Slashdot founder Rob Malda
posted a comment made by another Slashdot user, Miang, stating that
the story focused mainly on users of "4chan, 7chan and 420chan". Miang
claimed that the report "seems to confuse /b/ raids and motivational
poster templates with a genuine threat to the American public",
arguing that the "unrelated" footage of a van exploding shown in the
report was to "equate anonymous posting with domestic terror".
On July 10, 2008, the swastika CJK unicode character (卐) appeared at
the top of Google's Hot Trends list—a tally of the most used search
terms in the United States—for several hours. It was later reported
that the HTML numeric character reference for the symbol had been
posted on /b/, with a request to perform a Google search for the
string. A multitude of /b/ visitors followed the order and pushed the
symbol to the top of the chart, though Google later removed the
Later that year, the private Yahoo! Mail account of Sarah Palin,
Republican vice presidential candidate in the 2008 United States
presidential election, was hacked by a 4chan user. The hacker posted
the account's password on /b/, and screenshots from within the account
to WikiLeaks. A /b/ user then logged in and changed the password,
posting a screenshot of him sending an email to a friend of Palin's
informing her of the new password on the /b/ thread. However, he
forgot to blank out the password in the screenshot. A multitude of /b/
users attempted to log in with the new password, and the account was
automatically locked out by Yahoo!. The incident was criticized by
some /b/ users, in that most reports on the hack focused on 4chan,
rather than Palin's violation of campaign law. One user commented,
"seriously, /b/. We could have changed history and failed, epically."
The FBI and Secret Service began investigating the incident shortly
after its occurrence. On September 20 it was revealed they were
questioning David Kernell, the son of Democratic Tennessee State
Representative Mike Kernell.
The stock price of Apple Inc. fell significantly in October 2008 after
a hoax story was submitted to CNN's user-generated news site
iReport.com claiming that company CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a major
heart attack. The source of the story was traced back to 4chan.
In May 2009, members of the site attacked YouTube, posting
pornographic videos on the site. A 4chan member acknowledged being
part of the attack, telling BBC News that it was in response to
YouTube "deleting music". In January 2010, members of the site
attacked YouTube again in response to the suspension of YouTube user
lukeywes1234 for failing to meet the minimum age requirement of
thirteen. The videos uploaded by the user had apparently become
popular with 4chan members, who subsequently became angered after the
account was suspended and called for a new wave of pornographic videos
to be uploaded to YouTube on January 6, 2010. Later the same year,
4chan made numerous disruptive pranks directed at singer Justin
In September 2010, in retaliation against the Bollywood film
industry's hiring of Aiplex Software to launch cyberattacks against
The Pirate Bay, Anonymous members, recruited through posts on 4chan
boards, subsequently initiated their own attacks, dubbed Operation
Payback, targeting the website of the Motion Picture Association of
America and the Recording Industry Association of America. The
targeted websites usually went offline for a short period of time due
to the attacks, before recovering.
The website of the UK law firm ACS:Law, which was associated with an
anti-piracy client, was affected by the cyber-attack. In retaliation
for the initial attacks being called only a minor nuisance, Anonymous
launched more attacks, bringing the site down yet again. After coming
back up, the front page accidentally revealed a backup file of the
entire website, which contained over 300 megabytes of private company
emails, which were leaked to several torrents and across several sites
on the Internet. It was suggested that the data leak could cost the
law firm up to £500,000 in fines for breaching British Data Protection
In January 2011, BBC News reported that the law firm announced they
were to stop "chasing illegal file-sharers". Head of ACS:Law Andrew
Crossley in a statement to a court addressed issues which influenced
the decision to back down "I have ceased my work ... I have been
subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had
death threats and bomb threats."
In August 2012, 4chan users attacked a third-party sponsored Mountain
Dew campaign, 'Dub the Dew', where users were asked to submit and vote
on name ideas for a green apple flavor of the drink. Users submitted
entries such as "Diabeetus", "Fapple", several variations of "Gushing
Granny", and "Hitler did nothing wrong".
Threats of violence
On October 18, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security warned
National Football League officials in Miami, New York City, Atlanta,
Seattle, Houston, Oakland, and Cleveland about a possible threat
involving the simultaneous use of dirty bombs at stadiums. The threat
claimed that the attack would be carried out on October 22, the final
day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Both the FBI and the
Department of Homeland Security expressed doubt concerning the
credibility of the threats, but warned the relevant organizations as a
precaution. The games proceeded as planned but under a higher level of
security awareness. The threats came to light in the national media
after Jake Brahm admitted to having posted the threats on 4chan and
repeating them on other websites approximately 40 times.
Brahm did not expect the message to be taken seriously since he "would
never take anything posted on 4chan as fact"; an FBI official was
quoted as saying the "credibility of [the threat] was beyond
ridiculous". As a parody of the incident, 4chan temporarily added
"Don't mess with football" as an additional rule for /b/. On October
20, 2006, Brahm turned himself in to federal authorities, and was
charged with fabricating a fake terrorist threat and taken into
custody. On February 28, 2008, he pleaded guilty to the federal
charges. On June 5, 2008, he was sentenced to six months in prison,
six months' house arrest, and ordered to pay $26,750 in restitution.
Around midnight on September 11, 2007, a student posted photographs of
mock pipe bombs and another photograph of him holding them while
saying he would blow up his high school—Pflugerville High School in
Pflugerville, Texas—at 9:11 am on September 11. Users of 4chan helped
to track him down by finding the perpetrator's father's name in the
Exif data of a photograph he took, and contacted the police. He was
arrested before school began that day. The incident turned out to be a
hoax; the "weapons" were toys and there were no actual bombs.
Jarrad Willis, a 20-year-old from Melbourne, Australia was arrested on
December 8, 2007, after apparently posting on 4chan that he was "going
to shoot and kill as many people as I can until which time I am
incapacitated or killed by the police". The post, accompanied by an
image of another man holding a shotgun, threatened a shopping mall
near Beverly Hills. While the investigation was still open, Willis was
charged with criminal defamation for a separate incident but died
before the case was heard.
On February 4, 2009, a posting on the 4chan /b/ board said there would
be a school shooting at St Eskils Gymnasium in Eskilstuna, Sweden,
leading 1,250 students and 50 teachers to be evacuated. A 21-year-old
man was arrested after 4chan provided the police with the IP address
of the poster. Police said that the suspect called it off as a joke,
and they released him after they found no indication that the threat
On January 21, 2014, an anonymous poster started a thread on /b/
identifying a student named Westley Sullivan who apparently went to
the same high school as the poster. The original post included a link
to Westley Sullivan's Facebook profile, which has since been taken
down, and a screenshot of a post which said "if fairview isnt closed
tomorrow im going to blow it up", referring to Sullivan's high school,
Fairview High School, in Boyd County, Kentucky. A few anonymous
individuals went to Sullivan's Facebook profile and found his address,
phone number, school ID number, school schedule and teachers, and
other personal information. Information like his teachers and ID
number had been posted directly, and the more personal information
like his address was found in the EXIF data of some of the pictures
posted on his profile. These individuals then contacted Fairview
school officials and the local police department, as well as the FBI.
The next day it was learned that police had arrested Sullivan in his
home and he had been charged with 2nd degree terroristic threatening,
a Class D felony in Kentucky.
On June 28, 2018, a man named Eric M. Radulovic was arrested following
an indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice "on one count of
transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the
person of another." The indictment alleged that Radulovic posted
anonymously to /pol/ the day after the Unite the Right rally,
communicating an intention to attack protestors at an upcoming
right-wing demonstration, ostensibly to elicit sympathy for the
alt-right movement. "I’m going to bring a Remington 700 and start
shooting Alt-right guys. We need sympathy after that landwhale got all
the liberals teary eyed, so someone is going to have to make it look
like the left is becoming more violent and radicalized. It’s a false
flag for sure, but I’ll be aiming for the more tanned/dark haired
muddied jeans in the crowd so real whites won’t have to worry," wrote
Radulovic, according to the indictment.
Arrests for child pornography
On November 29, 2010, Ali Saad, a 19-year-old, was arrested and had
his home raided by the FBI for posting child pornography and death
threats on 4chan. Ali had first visited 4chan "a week before [the FBI
raid] happened". He admitted to downloading about 25 child pornography
images from 4chan.
Collin Campbell, a U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate, was arrested in
February 2011 after a fellow seaman found child pornography on his
iPhone that he downloaded entirely from 4chan.
Ronald Ohlson, 37, was raided in April 2011 at his upstate New York
home by the Department of Homeland Security after he obtained child
pornography from 4chan.
After 4chan reported a 15-year-old boy in California who posted child
pornography, the United States Department of Homeland Security raided
his home on June 7, 2011, and took all of his electronic items.
On February 17, 2012, Thaddeus McMichael was arrested by the FBI for
child pornography charges after posting comments on Facebook claiming
that he possessed child pornography. According to the official
criminal complaint filed against Thaddeus, he admitted to obtaining
child pornography from the /b/ board on 4chan.
Celebrity photo leaks
On August 31, 2014, a large number of private photographs taken by
celebrities were posted online due to a compromise of user passwords
at iCloud. The images were initially posted on 4chan. As a result of
the incident, 4chan announced that it would enforce a Digital
Millennium Copyright Act policy, which would allow content owners to
remove material that had been shared on the site illegally, and would
ban users who repeatedly posted stolen material.
In January 2011, Matthew Riskin Bean, a 20-year-old man from New
Jersey, was sentenced to 45 days in prison for cyberbullying on 4chan.
Also in August 2014, 4chan was involved in the Gamergate controversy,
which began with unsubstantiated allegations about indie game
developer Zoë Quinn from an ex-boyfriend, followed by false
allegations from anonymous Internet users. The allegations were
followed by a harassment campaign against several women in the video
game industry, organized by 4chan users, particularly /r9k/.
Discussion regarding Gamergate was banned on 4chan due to alleged rule
violations, and Gamergate supporters moved to alternate forums such as
Murder in Port Orchard, Washington
According to court documents filed on November 5, 2014, there were
images posted to 4chan that appeared to be of a murder victim. The
body was discovered in Port Orchard, Washington, after the images were
posted. The posts were accompanied by the text: "Turns out it's way
harder to strangle someone to death than it looks on the movies." A
later post said: "Check the news for Port Orchard, Washington, in a
few hours. Her son will be home from school soon. He'll find her, then
call the cops. I just wanted to share the pics before they find me."
The victim was Amber Lynn Coplin, aged 30. The suspect, 33-year-old
David Michael Kalac, surrendered to police in Oregon later the same
day; he was charged with second-degree murder involving domestic
violence. Kalac was convicted in April 2017 and was sentenced to 82
years in prison the following month.
Bianca Devins murder
On July 14, 2019, 17-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered by
21-year-old Brandon Clark of Utica, New York after the two went to a
concert together. The suspect took pictures of the victim's bloodied
deceased body and posted it to Discord and his own Instagram page. The
photos were widely shared on Instagram and other sites, particularly
on 4chan where many users mocked and celebrated her death, saying she
deserved it and praising the killer while depicting Devins as a
manipulative young woman. Devins had developed a small following
online and was a 4chan user herself.
AT&T temporary ban
On July 26, 2009, AT&T's DSL branch temporarily blocked access to
the img.4chan.org domain (host of /b/ and /r9k/), which was initially
believed to be an attempt at Internet censorship, and met with
hostility on 4chan's part. The next day, AT&T issued a statement
claiming that the block was put in place after an AT&T customer
was affected by a DoS attack originating from IP addresses connected
to 'img.4chan.org', and was an attempt to "prevent this attack from
disrupting service for the impacted AT&T customer, and... our
other customers." AT&T maintains that the block was not related to
the content on 4chan.
4chan's founder Christopher Poole responded with the following:
Major news outlets have reported that the issue may be related to the
DDoS-ing of 4chan, and that 4chan users suspected the then-owner of
Swedish-based website 'Anontalk.com'.
Verizon temporary ban
On February 4, 2010, 4chan started receiving reports from Verizon
Wireless customers that they were having difficulties accessing the
site's image boards. After investigating, Poole found out that only
the traffic on port 80 to the 'boards.4chan.org' domain was affected,
leading members to believe that the block was intentional. Three days
later, Verizon Wireless confirmed that 4chan was "explicitly blocked".
The block was lifted several days later.
On March 20, 2019, Australian telecom company Telstra denied access to
millions of Australians to 4chan, 8chan, Zero Hedge and LiveLeak as a
reaction to the Christchurch mosque shootings.
New Zealand ISPs in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings
Following the Christchurch mosque shootings numerous ISPs temporarily
blocked any site hosting a copy of the livestream of the shooting.
This included Spark, Vodafone, Vocus and 2degrees.
* 'Katawa Shoujo'
* List of Internet phenomena
* Pepe the Frog
TED talk on 4chan]
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Original Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4chan