8chan back online, the website now known as 8kun at odds with founder Frederick Brennan, activists



Almost three months after the closure of an infamous anonymous online forum for mass shooters who used it, an almost identical successor began to surface intermittently over the weekend.

The website, 8chan, was shut down in August after spate of online service providers caved in to outrage calls for dealing with an online forum long known as a breeding ground for virulent hate speech. In 2019, three mass shooters used the site to announce their violent plans before opening fire. Now it has come back as an almost identical site with a new name, 8kun, using online service providers based in Russia.

Almost immediately after its reappearance on Saturday, its critics continued the process of identifying its service providers and demanding that companies ditch the new site. In August, as outrage grew over 8chan’s lack of moderation and the promotion of hate on the internet, activists – including site founder Frederick Brennan – began contacting the companies that provided accommodation and services. ‘other site services. One by one, 8chan has been abandoned, and finally within a few days, the site was shut down.

Shortly after the appearance of 8kun, Brennan and others contacted the Russian company Selectel to inform them that they were hosting 8kun. At the end of the day, Selectel had blocked the site. 8kun then moved on to VDSina, another Russian provider.

The company first referred those who contacted it to the Russian internet censorship agency, the Federal Service for Surveillance of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media.

Lukas Ekberg is one such anti-8chan activist. He said he contacted VDSina and other service providers at the new site because of his tolerance for the Nazis. He said the site is known as a breeding ground for white supremacists.

“I am against hate and 8chan is (a) fertile ground for it,” Ekberg said via a direct message on Twitter. “… Knowing that this is happening on 8chan is unacceptable.”

On Monday morning, shortly after a CBS News reporter contacted VDSina by phone and email, he also cut service at 8kun.

“This customer is blocked by us. You can report it in your post,” one company employee wrote in an email. About an hour later, 8kun had resurfaced online again.

Ekberg is part of a loose coalition of online activists who have watched the development of the fledgling site for months. Their most famous voice is that of Brennan; He made headlines in 2018 when he disowned the site he had founded and sold two years earlier.

In the months following the deadly attack shooter in El Paso, TX, Walmart reportedly posted a hateful screed on 8chan, Brennan led the charge to track the new site and prevent it from replacing 8chan. In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Brennan said the site appeared to be taking no action to moderate hate speech after gunmen in mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand and Poway, Calif. published screeds on the site this spring. After the El Paso attack, he decided he wanted to actively try to stop the site from functioning.

“I’m just sick of them and sick of their site and sick of all the shootings,” Brennan said. “That was it for me. And since then, I’ve been trying to get it shut down so my name isn’t kept coming up on it.”

Even before 8kun launched, Brennan sought to identify and publicize the service providers the company appeared to be testing the site on.

“I think I delayed them for over a month,” Brennan said. “I contacted several vendors of course.… I would be the one to send the first email and then post on Twitter how other people could help.”

A version of 8kun is also currently running on the dark canvas, part of the Internet not accessible through traditional web browsers and not searchable, or indexed, by Google and other search engines. Although live, this version of the site is almost non-functional and posts for the past two days have been extremely limited.


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