8chan Chronicle

From 2014 to 2019, 8chan was the second largest English imageboard. What made it unique was that anyone could create their own board, no programming knowledge required. Mired in controversy following several high-profile shootings, it was "deplatformed" in 2019 and stigmatized as the "darkest reaches of the Internet", a lawless haunt for Nazis and pedophiles.

8chan was established in 2013 by Fredrick "Hotwheels" Brennan, a disabled American living in the Philippines. Its principal new features were that everyone could create their own imageboard, and that dead boards were "pruned" after a period of inactivity when they could be taken over by new users.

It only got its big break in 2014, following an exodus from 4chan's /v/ because several of its mods were accused of being in cahoots with game reviewers and censoring negative posts about them.

In 2015, an attempt to improve the buggy, lagging software of 8chan, called "Infinity Next" was begun by Brennan, with the help of Joshua Moon, best known for owning Kiwi Farms. After Infinity Next failed to work, Brennan fired Moon, who made an imageboard utilizing it known as 16chan for a bit, but then gave up on it altogether.

This period is also known for the awakening of nationalist and populist sentiment that occurred on /pol/. They originated several innovative concepts, such as "meme magic" and celebrated the "Leave" vote in the referendum on whether the United Kingdom should exit the European Union and Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2016, Brennan sold 8chan to Jim Watkins and his son Ron. Brennan was "kicked upstairs" but remains in the IRC. Watkins removed the pedophiles that had infested /b/, and turned it into a respectable website. Unfortunately, he also pandered to far-right posters who by then had gained a predominant position in the activity of the site.

It is incorrect to say Watkins did not try to stop the issue. For instance, in 2017, he "nationalized" the moderation of /pol/ and made it globally modded. He was simply concerned for freedom of speech, and not doing what 4chan did in 2014: alienating its userbase. Communities who were opposed to /pol/, such as /leftypol/ and /liberty/, were not only tolerated but flourished, but never attained the notoriety or infamy of /pol/.

Following several high-profile shootings, CloudFlare refused to provide DDOS protection to 8chan. The website tried to migrate to another hosting provider, but then the power company that supplied it threatened to cut off their power unless they refused.

8chan has now been resurrected as a new website called "8kun", with a disclaimer under every post stating that the post does not represent the views of the 8kun administration.