Let me begin by stating I know nothing about 8chan. I’m only aware of it from the news reports and when I tried to look in the other day, it looks like it has been shut down because of the mass shootings.
According to a NYT article (HT Bilbo):
Moments before the El Paso shooting on Saturday, a four-page message whose author identified himself as the gunman appeared on 8chan. The person who posted the message encouraged his “brothers” on the site to spread the contents far and wide.
In recent months, 8chan has become a go-to resource for violent extremists. At least three mass shootings this year — including the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif. — have been announced in advance on the site, often accompanied by racist writings that seem engineered to go viral on the internet.
So of the 255-292 mass shootings, “at least three mass shootings this year….have been announced in advance on the site.” Do the math. That’s close to ……1%. And of the 1% of mass shootings announced on 8chan, how many only happened because 8chan was online? Can’t really answer that question, can we? But I don’t see any evidence for thinking that the three mass shootings announced on 8chan would not exist if only 8chan had been banned. In fact, that’s strikes me as silly thinking.
Look, once again, I know nothing about 8chan. I just don’t see why anyone thinks that shutting down 8chan is somehow going to decrease the incidence of mass shootings.
But I did notice something else in the NYT article that could explain the demands to shut down 8chan:
The site remained on the fringes until 2014, when some supporters of GamerGate — a loose reactionary collection of anti-feminist video gamers — flocked to 8chan after being kicked off 4chan.
Since GamerGate, 8chan has become a catchall website for internet-based communities whose behavior gets them evicted from more mainstream sites. It hosts one of the largest gatherings of supporters of QAnon, who claim that there is an international bureaucracy plotting against the Trump administration. And it has been an online home for “incels,” men who lament being “involuntarily celibate,” and other fringe movements.
Hmm. Maybe shutting down 8chan has nothing to do with preventing mass shootings and more to do with silencing political opponents? After all, we know just how much someone like PZ Myers despises the anti-feminist incels. 😉