If 4chan’s /pol/ could get pretty bad, 8chan became a destination for the very worst. The board was founded in the U.S. by Fredrick Brennan after 4chan’s owners decided to ban threads about the online harassment campaign Gamergate. While 4chan has a virtually nonexistent moderation policy, it does have rules against posting anyone’s personal information, like home addresses and phone numbers. 8chan doesn’t even have that. Whatever is too gruesome for 4chan finds a home on 8chan. That now includes enthusiasm for a white ethnostate. 8chan, now based in the Philippines, has “less restrictive moderation policies” than almost anywhere else on the internet, which has led it to become a “naturally more transgressional space,” than anywhere else on the internet, according to Benjamin T. Decker, the founder of Memetica, a digital investigations consultancy.
Many people come to the politically incorrect boards of 4chan and 8chan from video-game communities, where players looking to laugh at an abasing joke or chat about violent games without offending anyone can find friends. The forums are rife with in-jokes in which users routinely blur the lines between actually believing in Nazism and laughing about it. After the Poway shooter’s manifesto appeared, posters on 8chan wrote that the killer should try to “get the high score” and kill a larger number of people than the Chistchurch shooter did.