The creator of 8chan, Fredrick Brennan, expressed his deep regret for creating the website, which urged its followers to “embrace infamy.” 8chan has been seen as a hotbed of radical ideas and has been home to the ramblings of many domestic terrorists, including the murderer who claimed the lives of 22 people in El Paso earlier this week. Brennan made the comments in a statement to Reuters, per a recent Twitter post.
“I never really imagined that this would happen…that shooters would post their manifestos on 8chan,” he said of the website, which lists its description on Twitter as “The Darkest Reaches of the Internet.”
8chan has purportedly hosted a large amount of hateful content, including the El Paso gunman’s 2,300-word statement on what he dubbed a “Hispanic invasion” in his home state of Texas. Other users of the website include the killers that respectively targeted two mosques in New Zealand and a synagogue in California. The website has also been home to other movements such as GamerGate, a movement which sought to harass female video game players, and the rise of “involuntary celibacy,” whose members call themselves “incels.”
Brennan’s comments come as much of the public has urged social media and other website titans to close down the breeding ground of white supremacy. Recently, the hashtag “#untwitter8chan” went viral as users urged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to blacklist 8chan from the platform. U.S. cybersecurity and web infrastructure company Cloudflare even ended its relationship with 8chan, causing the website to go dark. Though 8chan tried to find a new home with Epik, it was unsuccessful after Epik’s web infrastructure provider Voxility canceled Epik’s account in retaliation (via Reuters).
The creator of online messaging board 8chan said he regrets creating the site, which has links to hate-driven killings in the U.S. and New Zealand. Read more: https://t.co/lv3o32JjMl pic.twitter.com/uvde8AyZ0d
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 6, 2019
8chan is currently down as of this writing. As for Brennan, he is not mourning the end of his creation.
“8chan has been just a total negative in the world,” he said.
“If I could go back and not create 8chan at all, I probably would.”
“Shut the site down. It’s not doing the world any good,” he echoed to The New York Times. “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.”
That said, the website still does have some defenders, including its current owner Jim Watkins. Watkins has fired back at his critics, claiming that the El Paso manifesto had not been originally published on 8chan. Rather, its original source was popular social media website Instagram, per CNET.
“The El Paso shooter posted on Instagram, not 8chan,” Watkins said. “Later, someone uploaded the manifesto. However, that manifesto was not uploaded by the Walmart shooter.”