The Internet has become a breeding ground for hate and extremism. This is alarming because of the potential harm that it can cause to people, especially minorities like Jews. The website 8chan was used as a platform by users who coordinated an antisemitic zoo bombing campaign against Jewish targets on New Year Eve. The post discusses how this happened, how it’s been dealt with so far, and what we can do to prevent such attacks in the future.
The rise of 8chan as
8chan was founded as a website where users could upload any content without censorship. Essentially, it’s the unfiltered Internet with zero limits and zero filters. It has been popularized as “the un-policed Wild West of the internet” and “an anything goes type site”.
Due to the zero moderation policy, the site is hosting boards for pedophiles, terrorists, and hate groups like white supremacists of the alt-Right or Gamergate supporters. Initially, 8chan was used as a space to discuss various topics anonymously. But since 2016 it has become a base for users who promote antisemitism and other forms of hate.
8chan has been under the spotlight multiple times, for example, because it promoted Gamergate or became a space to discuss bomb threats against Jewish centers. Until today it hosts various hate groups and boards that are being used as safe spaces to spread hate.
How the site became a hub for racism and antisemitism
8chan’s 8ch.net/pol/ is a politics board that became popular after Trump’s election. It has roughly 2 million posts, making it one of the biggest archives on the site. The number of posts on this board shows how many people use 8chan as an outlet to express their opinions, often since they could never do that publicly or through other channels.
Although this board was the initial focus of the New Zealand shooter, 8chan’s /pol/ has been known for a while as a place to express racism and antisemitism.
What is next for 8chan?
8chan was founded in 2013 by Fredrick Brennan. Because of the site’s dubious reputation, it had trouble finding a host that would agree to plant its servers.
Since then 8chan has been hosted by multiple companies on which the site constantly changes its location on the web, making it harder to track down. So far Cloudflare has been the main host of 8chan, which is why they are now under pressure to ban the site.
8chan was also forced to change hosting companies after their previous host pulled out for safety reasons. After that happened, 8chan’s owners urged users to start donating money so that they could afford a new hosting company .
It is therefore expected that 8chan will try to find a new hosting company soon. It is unclear what will happen to the site if they are banned, but it is expected that 8channers will keep trying to find ways to continue their activities.
Why do we need to take action now
8chan and similar websites like 4chan and Gab provide a space for hate groups and radicalized individuals to network and organize.
The 8ch.net/pol website is often used as a base for racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic groups that promote far-right extremism. Hate speech on these websites can have serious consequences outside of the Internet. For example, the Christchurch mass shooter is said to have been radicalized online.
The fight against hate speech on the Internet is therefore not just about enforcing penalties for perpetrators who spread racist or antisemitic hate. Rather, it should include raising awareness among young people that online hate speech can have serious consequences in real life.
What you can do to help stop this hateful behavior online now and in the future
On an individual level, there are some basic things you can do to help stop online hate speech.
– When you come across hate speech on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, flag it and then report it. These companies usually have staff that will review the flagged content and then take action if they find that the reported content violates their rules.
– Try to avoid engaging with the hate speech you encounter online. People often say that ignoring bullies makes them go away, but it can also be tempting to engage when someone does something offensive. The truth is that no matter what you say at that moment, online bullies are just trying to get a reaction out of you. So ignore it instead.
– Contact the companies hosting these websites if you see something that violates their terms of service. Most web-hosting companies have rules about not allowing hate speech on their servers. If they notice that a website is violating those rules, they may remove them from their hosting services. This can make it harder for bullies to organize and proliferate their messages.
On a larger scale, we as a society need to start holding internet companies accountable for the content on their platforms. Only when more of us demand better behavior from these websites will we find solutions to stop hate speech. This can be achieved through legislation or by changing policies within the companies themselves. We also need to start teaching young people about the dangers of online hate speech.
As workplaces, faculties, and locations of worship go surfing as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the FBI publicly warned that Zoom calls had been being focused and hijacked, a observe often known as “Zoombombing.” Now, VICE has discovered proof of racist customers of the positioning previously often known as 8chan coordinating an internet harassment marketing campaign towards a Jewish academy for kids in Philadelphia.
The information is but extra proof of privateness and safety issues lingering across the video-conferencing app, which has exploded in reputation through the Covid-19 disaster and provides a peek into how the far-right is coordinating a rising assault: Zoombombing Jewish customers.
It can also be an additional affirmation that 8chan, which has been closely linked to white supremacist and extremist chatter for years, continues to be a repository of hate speech—even throughout a time of worldwide pandemic and underneath a brand new title, which VICE is not going to publish so as to keep away from additional amplification of the positioning.
A publish from Tuesday, on the successor website to 8chan offered hyperlinks to the Zoom calls of academics on the Jewish college, with directions to “really freak them out,” and included a reference to the “Boogaloo,” which is often recognized among the many far-right as a future “race war” within the U.S. One consumer replied to the unique message and made it clear the deliberate Zoombombing was racially motivated.
The Counter Extremism Project, the U.S.-based international terrorism watchdog that first noticed the publish concentrating on the Jewish day college in Philadelphia, mentioned that federal authorities had been conscious of the Zoombombing plans. The FBI declined to remark
VICE, which is not going to title the college in Philadelphia to guard it against additional concentrating on, couldn’t affirm with the college if the Zoombombing was profitable after calls went unanswered.
Zoom informed VICE as per firm coverage it is not going to, “disclose information regarding privately reported incidents.”
Earlier this week, the web Zoom service of a synagogue within the United Kingdom attended by over 200 worshipers was hijacked by racists who started spewing hateful speech to shocked congregants over the videoconferencing app.
Thursday, safety journalist Brian Krebs reported on a device that’s getting used to robotically name into Zoom chats that aren’t password protected. And Zoom introduced that it’s spending the subsequent 90 days centered solely on safety, to unravel a bunch of design selections and bugs that safety researchers have mentioned make the app weak.
To shield towards Zoom calls being hijacked, the FBI informed customers to ensure they set conferences and lecture rooms on the app to non-public, to maintain hyperlinks shared inside closed networks, make display screen sharing
“Host-Only,” and to make sure they’re utilizing the most recent model of Zoom, which the company mentioned had addressed safety points concerning hijackers having the ability to scan the positioning for public conferences in an earlier software program replace.
After a number of neo-Nazi terrorists used 8chan to publish their manifestos online all through 2019, the positioning was de-platformed by a number of web infrastructure firms, together with Cloudflare. Soon after, it reappeared underneath a brand new title and backed by a controversial web supplier that’s common amongst neo-Nazis.