Oftentimes considered as the dirge of the internet, the cesspool of web society and the pioneers of degenerative troll behavior, 4chan is the embodiment of anonymous online culture. The former owner of the imageboard, Christopher “Moot” Poole, backed away from 4chan back in 2014 following the #GamerGate fallout but it’s now been confirmed that 4chan has been sold to the original curator of anonymous online interaction, Hiroyuki Nishimura.
As reported by the New York Times, Nishimura is the owner of 2chan… the progenitor of anonymous imageboard culture. Interestingly enough, it was 2chan – a Japanese-centric imageboard where users have discussions, post images and dive deep into dank memes – that helped give Christopher “Moot” Poole the incentive to start 4chan.
His endeavors were rich with hobbyist intentions and that’s what 4chan has been for so many years; a hobby for anonymous behavior.
Trying to maintain a profitable stance with the site has been difficult for “Moot” over the years, but he’s accepted that fate… or more appropriately, he’s handed over that fate to who he calls the “grandfather” of anonymous board culture, Mr. Nishimura.
According to the New York Times, the specifics of the deal between “Moot” and Nishimura were not disclosed. Nishimura is no longer running the original 2ch following various controversies in 2013 but he did start up his own 2ch alternative in the process.
Rumors spurred hot and heavy back in mid to late 2014 that “Moot” had been attempting to sell 4chan to Gawker co-founder Nick Denton.
Rumors also ran rampant that “Moot” purging #GamerGate discussion from 4chan was an attempt to appease Denton since #GamerGate’s prime target has been Gawker and their subsidiary Kotaku throughout their revolt against shoddy journalism. The belief was that “Moot” had aligned himself with “Social Justice Warriors” – another arch nemesis of #GamerGate – and that by doing so he was making 4chan look more appeasing as a purchase to Denton. However, the sale to Gawker did not occur.
Instead, 4chan is in hands of someone who has some experience with chan culture, given that Nishimura’s 2ch is still going and also still has ties to 8chan, which is ran by Frederic “Hotwheels” Brennan. 8chan, also referred to as Infinity Chan or Hate Chan, was the safe haven for a lot of the exiles during the great purge at 4chan when discussions about corruption in the media industry were banned.
Many of the exiles had presumed some sort of collusion had taken place and part of that was verified when the 4chan moderator logs were leaked as reported by Horse News, along with the Reddit moderator logs, the latter of which also revealed various cover-ups of corruption happening within the gaming industry.
It will be interesting to see how 4chan evolves and molds itself under the ownership of Hiroyuki Nishimura.
(Main image courtesy of Alejandro Argandona)