8chan returns as far-right extremists find new online home

Russian hosting service allows for new posts from person claiming to be at centre of 'QAnon' conspiracy theory

QAnon conspiracy theories are popular with some Trump supporters
QAnon conspiracy theories are popular with some Trump supporters

Anonymous online message board 8chan, which has provided a platform for several mass shooters over the last 12 months, has re-emerged online under a new guise.

Administrators of the original site relaunched it over the weekend using the name 8kun, in a move that was celebrated by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theories embraced by far-right factions of Donald Trump's fanbase.

The original 8chan site was knocked offline earlier this year after web hosting firms withdrew support for the controversial forum in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting in El Paso.

In the build-up to the atrocity in Texas, a far-right and anti-immigrant manifesto written by the accused shooter appeared on one of the messaging boards. The manifesto also referenced the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand earlier this year, which was also allegedly carried out by a frequenter of 8chan forums.

8chan's owner Jim Watkins claimed after the shooting that the site was a "lawful community" that offered a haven for free speech.

"We have never protected illegal speech, as it seems, that we have been accused of by some less-than-credible journalists, we have responded with both vigour and integrity every single time that a threat of violence has been posted and information on it has been requested by law enforcement," he said in a video.

The return of 8chan was made possible by services provided by Russian web hosting service Media Land LLC, which has previously been used to host dangerous malware and other illegal content.

The administrators of 8chan revealed details of the migration on Twitter, claiming that it had already received over 200 messaging board migration requests to 8kun.

8kun administrator Ron Watkins, who is the son of Jim Watkins, said in a video posted to YouTube that the new site had received heavy traffic since it launched but also faced numerous cyber attacks.

"Amazingly, it seems literally half of planet Earth trying to access our network at one time crashed it, On top of that, there have been some distributed denial of service [DDoS] attacks," he said.

"We are live however. That is where it will stay, status-wise, from now on. I will endeavour to build a network infrastructure more robust."

Since returning online, an anonymous user claiming to be QAnon made several posts that were hailed by supporters across social media as the return of the highly divisive conspiracy theorist - or theorists.

Little is known about the person or group behind QAnon, but their claims have fuelled theories about secretive paedophile rings run by some of the world's most powerful people. Despite being widely dismissed, the Pizzagate theory remains popular among QAnon supporters.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in