The anonymous message board 4chan -- seen as one of the darkest corners of the Internet -- has been sold by its founder Christopher ‘Moot’ Poole to the person who inspired him to create it almost 12 years ago.
The website has been sold to Hiroyuki Nishimura -- the founder of another anonymous message board -- who created Japanese forum 2channel as far back as 1999, though the amount of money paid for the site has not been disclosed.
Founded in 2003 primarily as a place for fans of anime and manga to meet online, 4chan has entered Internet legend as the site where Anonymous was founded and Internet memes like Lolcats, Caturday and rickrolling were dreamed up. Last year it gained more mainstream attention when it was the place where naked images of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Hudgens appeared after they were stolen from users' iCloud accounts -- an incident known as The Fappening.
Racist, Homophobic And Misogynist
The notorious website is home to some of the most racist, homophobic and misogynist content anywhere online without any level of censorship, and was created by 15-year-old Poole in 2003. Poole, who stepped back from day-to-day running of the site last January, announced the sale in a post on 4chan, saying that Nishimura was the website's great-grandfather.
“His creation of 2channel in 1999 sparked an era of anonymous-centric web culture in Japan that led to the creation of Futaba Channel, the site that inspired 4chan,” Poole said. “None of us would be using 4chan today -- or potentially any anonymous image board -- if it weren’t for him.”
Poole said he met Nishimura in 2011 and they bonded over a shared passion for creating and managing online communities. “He is one of few individuals with a deep understanding of what it means to provide a digital home for tens of millions of people for more than a decade. There is nobody more qualified than Hiroyuki to lead 4chan, and I can’t think of a person better suited for the task,” Poole said.
The response from users of 4chan has been typical with some posting racially abusive comments about Nishimura, but he will address their concerns Tuesday when he takes part in a question and answer session on the website.