A rash of recent postings that may be related to mass shootings has put a spotlight on loosely moderated messaging sites, known as chan boards or image boards. While many people who visit these sites simply share memes and discuss video games, the sites have also become a gathering place for white supremacists and right-wing nationalists who take advantage of the freewheeling and anonymous nature of the boards.
The anything-goes attitude has led chan boards to become swamps of hateful commentary. Suspected shooters have used the sites to post manifestos outlining racist beliefs. One board in particular, 8chan, has become a magnet for these posts. Its owner, Jim Watkins, appeared privately before the House Committee on Homeland Security on Thursday. A copy of his deposition wasn’t made available.
Watkins has said he’s kept the. As of Thursday, the site is still down. In his statement to the committee published on Wednesday, Watkins says the site will stay offline until tools are developed to counter illegal content. In the meantime, 8chan users have posted on other boards and attempted to create their own versions.