Founder: I wish I could ‘uncreate 8chan’ due to neo-Nazi users

The founder of online messaging board 8chan said he wishes he could “uncreate” the website after it was implicated in three mass shootings this year.

“There is no way I can go back and uncreate 8chan,” Fredrick Brennan, who founded the anonymous social network in 2013 and cut ties with its owner last year, told NBC News. “If I could, I would, but there is no way to do that. So the main way I have dealt with the guilt is to go on the offensive.”

{mosads}Brennan spoke to multiple news outlets since the shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, which left 22 people dead and two dozen injured. An anti-immigrant manifesto allegedly tied to the gunman was posted to 8chan — known as a gathering place for white supremacists and neo-Nazis — shortly before the attack.

“Shut the site down,” Brennan told The New York Times over the weekend. “It’s not doing the world any good. 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.”

This is the third time a gunman is believed to have posted hateful messages on 8chan before opening fire this year.

Brennan founded 8chan in 2013. The site became popular in 2014, when an outspoken group of gamers left 4chan, another relatively unmoderated messaging board, because they felt it stifled their speech.

From the beginning, 8chan branded itself as a space free from any content moderation. But in that vacuum, it became a breeding ground for some of the most extreme views on the web, attracting people including white extremists, misogynists and anti-Semites.

The board is now owned by Jim Watkins, a U.S. veteran who resides in the Philippines. 

Brennan has been outspoken about Watkins’s leadership, saying he has been irresponsible as mass killings have been tied to the site. In his interview with NBC, he noted that the current 8chan administrators left the tagline “Embrace infamy” on its front page.

“It’s kind of like they are telling their users, ‘Hey, if you want to do something good for us, go shoot up a school, because that will make us more infamous,'” Brennan said.

Watkins, who runs the website with his son Ron, spoke out for the first time since the shooting in a video on Tuesday.

In the video, he blamed the shootings over the weekend — one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton Ohio — on “insanity” and disputed characterizations of 8chan as “lawless.”

“My company takes a firm stand in helping law enforcement,” he said, noting that 8chan worked with law enforcement after the Texas shooting.

8chan is currently offline after multiple web services severed ties with the company. Watkins said they are still working to revive the messaging board.

Tags 8chan Mass shootings

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