It’s Back: 8chan Returns Online


SAN FRANCISCO — 8chan is back.

The anonymous message board began flickering back online on Saturday and was fully visible and available on Monday, three months after it had gone dark.

The site, which has served as a megaphone for violent extremists, was knocked offline in August after several tech companies refused to provide it with critical services such as a functioning web address. At the time, the tech companies said they would not work with 8chan because it provided mass killers with a place to air and spread their violent and often racist messages.

The shooting at a Walmart in El Paso in early August, along with attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., this year were all announced on 8chan before they began. The attackers posted screeds to a section of 8chan that was ostensibly dedicated to politics, and does not appear on the new site.

After the El Paso shooting, one of the 8chan founders, Fredrick Brennan, said, “Shut the site down.” In September, the site’s owner, Jim Watkins, testified in front of Congress about 8chan’s operation and policies. The site had been operating out of the Philippines.

Over the weekend, 8chan re-emerged under a new name, 8kun. Ron Watkins, an administrator for the site and the son of Jim Watkins, said that it was somewhat inaccessible because it was being hit with overwhelming traffic.

Ron Watkins did not respond to a request for comment.

The message board went offline in August after Cloudflare, a company that protects websites from cyberattacks, said it would no longer provide its services to 8chan because of the site’s willingness to incite violence. Tucows, which helps companies register their website addresses, also booted 8chan from its platform.

Administrators of 8chan scrambled to find alternatives, but were unsuccessful for weeks. Now Tucows appears to be working with the message board again. 8chan’s new web address, 8kun, is registered with Tucows.

Tucows and its chief executive, Elliot Noss, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It was only a matter of time before 8chan found a new home online, internet experts said.

Like spammers, malware sellers and hackers who swap stolen personal data online, 8chan was expected to seek out web hosting from overseas providers or on the dark web. Other fringe sites, such as the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, have also pieced together internet presences after mainstream providers terminated their services.

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