8chan Founder Discusses Regret Over His Creation

"If I could go back and not create 8chan at all — I probably would." The creator of the web forum where the El Paso gunman posted his manifesto spoke about the platform that has become his personal Frankenstein's monster.

The gunman in the El Paso mass shooting posted a racist “manifesto” on the site

Fredrick Brennan is the creator of the website 8chan, an online forum that allows users to post anonymously and without surveillance. “I never really imagined that this would happen, that shooters would post their manifestos on 8chan. And I put some of the blame on the way that they’re administering it. They have this saying that was on 8chan before it was closed, you know: “Embrace infamy.” They had that right on the home page of 8chan. Even after the most recent shooting, they had that and it just seems like something very callous to say, given the circumstances.”

The gunman in the El Paso mass shooting posted a racist “manifesto” on the site, in which he described his plan. It was the 3rd time within 6 months that an 8chan user has been linked to a mass killing. The perpetrator of the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed in March, had also announced his intentions on 8chan and posted a link to the video of the killings on Facebook Live. Fredrick Brennan created 8chan in 2013 as an alternative to 4chan, a similar web forum. 8chan’s popularity boomed in 2014 during “Gamergate,” a harassment campaign that targeted a number of women gamers. The campaign was started on 4chan, but after several posts were deleted, Brennan decided to launch a site with no surveillance of messages.

“They’re really not putting the resources in, like we see the mainstream sites doing, and that’s why we are often hearing about extremism fostering on these sites. If I could go back and not create 8chan at all, I probably would. After the Christchurch shooting, I wasn’t sure, but after this shooting, I am sure that 8chan has been just a total negative in the world. You know, I was very naïve and ignorant when I made it.” Brennan distanced himself from the site in 2016.