Who runs 4chan? Controversial website blamed for influencing Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron

Payton Gendron, 18, who killed at least 10 civilians on Saturday, May 14, claimed in a 180-page manifesto that he was 'radicalized' on the internet


                            Who runs 4chan? Controversial website blamed for influencing Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron
Many people have claimed that Payton Gendron (R) was influenced by alt-right and extremist posts floating around on the popular imageboard 4chan (ADL, Twitter)
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Popular forum-based website 4chan was slammed after a white supremacist teenager carried out a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, with many blaming the controversial platform for influencing the shooter by exposing him to extremist content.

Gunman Payton Gendron, 18, who killed at least 10 civilians on Saturday, May 14, claimed in a 180-page manifesto that he was "radicalized" on the internet during the early days of the Covid pandemic, and not by anyone he had met personally. The self-professed white supremacist and anti-Semite said he had found through his "research" about low white birth rates across the globe, and that the "crisis" would "ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people." 

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Following the tragedy, social media was inundated with claims that Gendron was influenced by alt-right and extremist forums on the popular imageboard 4chan.

"According to his manifesto, Payton Gendron says his radicalization started in 2020 with the discovery of 4chan and was solidified by videos of the New Zealand mosque shooter. 2 years. 2 years is all it took to shape the mind of a then 16 years old," one Twitter user wrote.

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"The scary question is how many more are out there waiting to go off?" another asked.

"Payton Gendron was radicalized by Fox News and all the Alt-right forums on Reddit and 4Chan. At only 18 years old. People champion “free speech” even when it’s a white supremacist ideology that gets people killed," a comment read.


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"So much toxic s**t from /pol/ on 4chan. Some gaming communities were infected by them. They formed cult-like groups to harass people or dominate servers. This started years ago. It's honestly horrifying it has spread so far & wide, like late-stage cancer," a user offered.

"Some users of 4chan-like platforms are claiming many of the graphics that appear in the Payton Gendron "manifesto" were cut-and-pasted from 4chan and sites like it, as well as the Brenton Tarrant "manifesto." He explicitly cites Tarrant as his inspiration," someone else claimed.

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"I've visited 4chan and the /pol/ board numerous times, and all of this is true. Hate runs rampant. There's little to no moderation. It's easier to get sucked in and take everything as fact when it isn't the case. It's one of the most dangerous places in the public internet domain," one alleged.

"4chan is what Twitter will become if the @elonmusk purchase goes through. No doubt in my mind as it is damn near already there," another chimed in.

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Who runs 4chan?

4chan, an anonymous imageboard website founded by Christopher Poole in October 2003, hosts boards dedicated to a wide variety of topics from anime and manga to video games, weapons, television, literature, politics, sports, et cetera. As of 2022, the website receives more than 22 million unique monthly visitors.

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Chris Poole of 4chan speaks during the Digital Life Design conference at HVB Forum on January 22, 2012, in Munich, Germany (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

 

4chan is currently owned and operated by Hiroyuki Nishimura, a Japanese internet entrepreneur who founded the most accessed Japanese message board called 2channel. Nishimura is also a self-help author and TV personality. He previously served as a director and advisor to Niwango, best known for its service Nico Nico Douga. Poole, the creator of 4chan, sold the website to Nishimura in September 2013.

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