'Shut the site down:' 8chan founder decries website after El Paso massacre

“Whenever I hear about a mass shooting, I say, ‘All right, we have to research if there’s an 8chan connection,’” Brennan told the New York Times Sunday.

By DAVID MATTHEWS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/TNS
August 5, 2019 21:00
2 minute read.
A police officer stands next to a police cordon after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso

A police officer stands next to a police cordon after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. (photo credit: JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ/REUTERS)

 Frederick Brennan, the founder of 8chan, the anonymous message board popular with white nationalists and previous mass shooters, thinks it’s time for the new operators to shut it down.

“Whenever I hear about a mass shooting, I say, ‘All right, we have to research if there’s an 8chan connection,’” Brennan told the New York Times Sunday.
“Shut the site down,” Mr. Brennan said. “It’s not doing the world any good. It’s a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there. And you know what? It’s a negative to them, too. They just don’t realize it.”


8chan was founded as an unregulated message board. However, after the New Zealand shootings in March, Brennan expressed regret for starting the site, saying it had gone too far.


Brennan gave control of the website over to Jim Watkins in 2015. Watkins has grown increasingly defiant after each incident. Watkins, a former Army recruiter, runs the site from his home in the Philippines. He maintains that his users have a right to free speech. “I don’t have a problem with white supremacists talking on 8chan. They have reasons for their beliefs. I don’t need to justify their reasons,” he told Splinter News in 2016.


On Sunday, a banner reading “Welcome to 8chan, the Darkest Reaches of the Internet" was on the website’s homepage.


Investigators believe suspected El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius posted a white nationalist manifesto on the online message board before Saturday’s massacre.


It’s the third such violent incident this year where a manifesto was posted on the anonymous message board before a white nationalist attack.


The four-page document, which has white nationalist and racist rhetoric aimed at immigrants and Hispanics, was posted 20 minutes before the shooting started Saturday afternoon, according to CNN.


Prior to the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, a 16,000 anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim manifesto was posted.


A post in April expressing a desire to kill Jewish people appeared around an hour before the deadly shooting at Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, Calif.


In both the Chabad and El Paso shootings, the posters mention being inspired by the Christchurch massacre.


UPDATE: CloudFlare announced Sunday night it was banning 8chan from its network, essentially taking the website off of the internet.


“The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths,” the company said in a statement. "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.


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