TORONTO – The controversial forum website 8chan, which is now online as 8kun, used to invite its users to “embrace infamy.”
Then it was deplatformed in the wake of the El Paso shooting, and a series of network providers have since terminated their service with the site, citing the toxic, barely-moderated content that flourished there.
Jim Watkins, the current owner of 8chan/8kun, was summoned to testify in September by the Committee on Homeland Security, to “answer questions on the site’s extremist content
Before testifying, Watkins was steadfast that the website would continue to be a bastion of free speech, but after the closed-door Congressional hearing, he ended up vowing to implement changes, including security measures like locking a message board if the content is flagged as illegal or indicates a violent act is to be carried out.
What followed was the continuation of a very public battle for 8chan to return to the mainstream internet, as Fredrick Brennan, the original creator of 8chan but who is no longer affiliated with the site, wages a continuing campaign to keep pulling the site offline.
Brennan’s not alone – he’s had help. Canadian help, as it turns out.