8chan, an extremist-friendly message board used to announce three hate-filled mass shootings this year, has returned online under a new name: 8kun.
The site was revived over the weekend, having gone dark in August after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, targeting Mexicans and killing 22 people. The perpetrator is believed to have shared a white supremacist manifesto on 8chan minutes before the rampage unfolded.
Less than 48 hours later, Cloudflare, its network provider, cut ties with the site, denouncing its “lawlessness” that “has caused multiple tragic deaths.”
Domain registrar Tucows also booted 8chan that month, though according to The Daily Beast, it has been listed as 8kun’s registrar for more than 50 days.
In a YouTube video posted Saturday, 8kun administrator Ron Watkins, whose father owns 8chan, said there was “a fantastic amount of users who attempted to access at one time,” causing some disturbance at first, but that he “will endeavor to build the network infrastructure more robustly.”
“This is a tipping point moment,” Watkins added. “Although I expect setbacks and attacks, it almost to the point already where no one man, corporation or government will be able to stifle us.”
However, 8kun is warning users on its homepage that it will remove any content considered illegal in the U.S.
So far, the /pol/ subforum where manifestos from suspected attackers have been shared is absent from the re-branded site.
Before the El Paso shooting, 8chan had also been linked to shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a synagogue in Poway, California.
Both suspected gunmen posted white nationalist and anti-Semitic screeds on the site before carrying out their attacks.
Realizing the platform has spiraled out of control, 8chan’s 25-year-old founder, Fredrick Brennan, called for its shutdown, telling The New York Times that it was “a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there.”
When its relaunch was rumored last month, Brennan spearheaded a failed effort to stop it out of concerns that the new site would be “just as bad” as the original.
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