A rift has appeared among the ranks of 4chan, with large quantities of users bidding the website farewell in favour of alternatives like 8chan.co. How could it be that the most infamous community found on the internet has started to break up? Over a decade has ruled the darker sides of the internet. What does this mean?
During the last few weeks, a lot of big and important things happened on the internet. GamerGate, The Fappening, and the death of 4chan. Is 4chan really dead? No, it isn’t, but it might as well be to most of their decennium-long users. Somehow, these three things are all interconnected. “But how?” you’d ask. Well, that is what I’m setting out to explain in this new post on internet culture. For reference on The Fappening, read my previous article on it. I will write an elaborate post on ‘GamerGate’ soon(-ish), so I will only glance over the topic in this post. I will not use extensive references in this post, but rest assured that most claims are based on truth as most (certainly on the nature of 4chan) are taken from my academic thesis. Disclaimer, sentences and words between quotes mean I’m taking either quotes, or are paraphrasing 4chan slang.
4chan started as an image based message board in 2003 by a young boy called Christopher Poole, a.k.a. ‘Moot’ (Mootykins to some). Its anonymous nature became home to some of the more reclusive and creative people on the internet. Many things we now love or loathe on the internet, started there. Ragecomics? Originated on 4chan. Image macros (sometimes wrongly called memes)? Also 4chan. Even the Anonymous-movement started on 4chan, when users got fed up with the censoring ways of Scientology-lawyers after they tried ripping down any mention of Tom Cruise’s Scientology-recruitement video. Anonymous aided websites like Gawker (remember that name) by overflowing Scientology centers world-wide with phone calls, DDoS’s, and eventually a real life protest march. This movement, and later similar ‘projects’ like Lulzsec, were so interesting and new to political movements, that I wrote my Bachelors thesis about the influence of such movements on the political participation of young people.
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