A summary of the rise and fall of 8chan, its role within the online far-right ecosystem, and the extent to which its successor, 8kun, has taken its place. The notorious imageboard 8chan was taken offline in August 2019 after several far-right attacks revealed a connection to the site – most notably, the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, which left 51 people dead. A few months later in November 2019, a site known as 8kun was launched as a replacement, boasting similar freedoms and owned by the same person, Jim Watkins. 8chan was founded in late 2013 by Fredrick Brennan and began to achieve popularity in 2014 by pitching itself as an alternative to the popular imageboard 4chan. (…) In 2019, 8chan went from being a relatively parochial phenomenon – only really known and understood by those who were already embedded within chan cultures – to making global headlines in the aftermath of the March 2019 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attacker, Brenton Tarrant, posted his final message to 8chan, in which he addressed the “lads” in a message informing the community of an imminent “attack against the invaders.” In addition to this, he linked to a Facebook live stream of the attacks along with his manifesto entitled ‘The Great Replacement’, in a nod to the popular far-right conspiracy theory which holds that indigenous European (white) populations are being replaced by non-European immigrants. (…) 8chan returned in early November under the name of 8kun, with Jim Watkins remaining at the helm. Visually, the two were comparable, although the motto at the top of its home page struck a somewhat humbler tone than that of its predecessor, with the words “Speak freely – speak legally”. Most notably, 8kun did not import the infamous /pol/ board ­­– in its place creating the /pnd/ board which stood for ‘Politics, News, Debate’. Broadly, /pnd/ continues to host discussions relating to current events, much of which is imbued with the familiar 8chan rhetoric of hate speech and bigotry, particularly towards women, religious and ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ community. (…) Findings from this project’s full report, ‘Memetic Irony and the Promotion of Violence within Chan Cultures’, reveal that events in 2020 surrounding Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter catalysed hateful and extremist content online, which was demonstrated within the visual culture of 8kun and its reinforcement of racist and misogynistic narratives. In some instances, 8kun users saw global events as an opportunity to accelerate discord and violence in the United States and beyond via the promotion of ‘race war’. What has not been observed, however, is the explicit use of 8kun to post final messages, manifestos, and live streams of far-right attacks (as seen with 8chan in 2019), although past attacks and attackers are heavily glorified, as they were on 8chan prior to its closure.

via crestresearch: After 8chan