Christchurch terror attack: 8chan founder expresses regret

  • 22/03/2019
8chan founder Fredrick Brennan has expressed regret after the website was used to publicise the Christchurch terror attack.
The 8chan logo; Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch. Photo credit: Twitter; Google Maps

The founder of 8chan is expressing remorse following its links to the Christchurch terror attack - and he worries further attacks will follow.

Fredrick Brennan founded the notorious image-board website in 2013 and says it's been "very difficult" for him to witness its role in the New Zealand tragedy.

On the day of the massacre at the mosques, the gunman himself appears to have posted on 8chan with links to his livestream and so-called manifesto.

Although that post was deleted, the video has been reposted on 8chan in the days since, along with sickening comments of support for the terrorist and joke memes about his atrocity.

"It was very difficult in the days that followed to know that I had created that site," Brennan told the Wall Street Journal.

"I have no desire to ever be involved in the image-board world again... a lot of these sites cause more misery than anything else."

Brennan also said he was concerned the attention the Christchurch gunman was getting on 8chan could lead another young man to commit a similar act.

"It wouldn't surprise me if this happens again," he said.

Brennan founded 8chan as he believed rival website 4chan was becoming authoritarian and censoring free speech. It's become a hotbed for alt-right extremist views and faced controversy over child pornography, swatting incidents and co-ordinated harassment campaigns.

In 2015, Brennan gave control of 8chan to Jim Watkins, whom he now partially blames for how the website was used to publicise the Christchurch terror attack.

8chan insists it doesn't allow content which breaks US law and tweeted that it's not commenting on the mosque attack "so as not to disrupt the ongoing investigation".

Facebook has also been criticised for allowing the terror attack to be livestreamed on its platform. In a report the company released about the video, it stated the footage was ripped and uploaded to 8chan within minutes of its broadcast. 

Meanwhile, on 8chan, users are responding negatively to Brennan's comments - including mocking him for the painful medical condition that requires he use a wheelchair.

In addition to joking and cheering the Christchurch terror attack, 8chan users are also propagating disturbing conspiracy theories about it, mostly alleging it's a 'false flag' operation carried out to reduce internet freedoms and create a backlash against white supremacists.

8chan is one of several websites being blocked by multiple ISPs in New Zealand for sharing Christchurch terror attack content.