John Watkins, the current owner of the controversial 8chan site, was summoned to hear the US Congress. A social networking site is a Mecca for right-wing extremists who encourage the use of weapons. He used it, among others Patrick Crusius, 21-year-old shooter from El Paso.
There were two major tragedies in the US last week. In Dayton, Ohio, a 24-year-old opened fire on the street, killing 9 people and injuring the remaining 30 passers-by. A day later in El Paso, another perpetrator killed 21 people in a supermarket, injuring 26. It is already known that at least the second shootout was racist. The 21-year-old perpetrator published his manifesto on the 8chan social network before he went to Walmart. In it he referred to the manifesto of the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre, which was also published on 8chan.
According to Congress, this is “at least the third act of supremacism of extremist violence” associated with the website. The Homeland Security Committee has stated that Americans have the right to know how the owner of 8chana is fighting the spread of such content on its portal. Earlier, Watkins published a video in which he said the company was definitely involved in helping law enforcement and that within minutes of the El Paso gunner’s manifesto, they had already collaborated with the FBI to identify his identity. He also stated that “it was never his intention to protect hate speech.”
According to The Gaurdian, Watkins also tried to blame Instagram, where the manifest was allegedly previously published. Instagram denied this information – the perpetrator’s account has been inactive for a year. The information that the manifest was first presented on the 8chan website was also confirmed by Cloudflare, a network service provider.
Currently 8chan is offline. Both Cloudflare and Voxility (the second service provider) terminated the service after the last tragedy. “While removing 8chan from our network has removed this burden from us, nothing explains why hateful sites are doing so well on the web,” commented Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare on his blog. Earlier, the founder of the site, Fredrick Brennan, who gave 8chan to Watkins in 2015, called for closing the page: – It does not bring anything good to the world, – he said.
Brennan founded 8chan in October 2013. The website was created in response to the restrictions on speech adopted on 4ch. On the site, each user can set up his own board, on which he publishes any content. Admins block posts only if they violate US federal law.