8chan is a website that features a variety of message boards on which users often intertwine images with their messages to other users. Created by Frederick Brennan, a young man in his mid-20s, in 2013, 8chan has since grown into being tied to alt-right ideology and a number of mass shootings carried out throughout the United States. 8chan is also notorious for its presence of child pornography.
Brennan stopped using 8chan in 2016, fully disassociating himself from 8chan late last year after a pair of mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, took the lives of 51 people. The man who carried out the shootings was an 8chan user and posted on the message board not too long before the attacks were perpetrated.
Jim and Ron Watkins own 8chan and have since Brennan stopped using the site in 2016.
Earlier today, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the United States House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee put out a subpoena for Jim Watkins to appear in person at a deposition in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 5, just three weeks from now.
Bennie Thompson, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and a Democrat from Mississippi, alongside Republican Mike Rogers, who represents Alabama, collectively decided to force Jim Watkins to show up roughly a month from now after 8chan was linked to one more mass shooting in the United States. The person who carried out the attack roughly two weeks ago in El Paso, Texas, who ended up taking the lives of 22 people before he was shot down by law enforcement officers, is thought to have almost certainly posted about four pages’ worth of reasoning to support his decision to kill that many innocent people.
Further, the two politicians want Jim Watkins to testify because he has not made any strides toward getting rid of violent, racist, or hateful content on the site.
Keep in mind, if you didn’t already know, that 8chan was founded as an alternative to 4chan that would be home to anything and everything its users wanted to post on the site. Despite how inherently toxic 8chan is, the message board’s owner is almost certainly more of a fan of keeping it uncensored and unfiltered to promote true free speech, in his eyes, than trying to monitor the message board.
A few days ago, Watkins made a video on YouTube that stated he would take down 8chan after he talked to federal officials.