The probably right-wing motivated attack on a synagogue in the US state of California on Saturday was apparently announced in advance in the anonymous forum 8chan and the author there cheered. In the attack in Poway, California, the perp had killed a woman in the Jewish house of worship and injured three others. The sheriff in charge is currently examining whether a hacking posted online as part of the announcement under the name of the perpetrator is authentic. In the anti-Semitic pamphlet, the author mentions not only the alleged assassin in Christchurch, New Zealand, as inspiration, but also Adolf Hitler.
Announced in the imageboard
In a post on Saturday, the attack may have been publicly threatened for the first time, with thanks to the community. It also contained a Facebook profile under the name of the alleged perpetrator, on which “shortly” a livestream should appear. A livestream did not appear on Facebook, but the profile is now closed. Instead, only two photos were posted – uploaded the same day that the pamphlet was created. Maybe media should use the pictures. 8chan himself has stated on Twitter that the alleged announcement of the attack was quickly erased.
The anonymous forum 8chan had become known in the course of the “Gamergate” controversy, as many users left the more prominent anonymous image board 4chan after entries on the topic had been deleted there. However, 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan soon saw more and more right-wing extremists appearing on the site, he said in an interview recently. Also, the attack on two mosques in Christchurch two months ago was announced at 8chan.
Brennan has now nothing to do with the site and was concerned that it was related to the attack in New Zealand. Imitators he had already considered possible and explained, to meet hateful content, the Internet must be “completely rebuilt” – “with censorship in mind”.
An author of the research platform Belling cat has examined the comments of the anonymous 8chan users in more detail. His analysis shows examples of how violence and the alleged perpetrator of Christchurch are praised in the area “/ pol” . Trademarks are mainly the insider jokes and contributions that should provoke readers and distract. In view of this, the question arises, what could be taken seriously. For the author, it’s clear: “The Nazi stuff, take the Nazi stuff seriously.”
Praise for 8chan
Again and again, there are 8chan Nazi symbols and National Socialist contents in dialogues. Overall, it is about sowing hatred and violence to radicalize people. Whether Muslims or Jews are identified as the main enemies, is currently one of the biggest issues for right-wing extremists, explains Miro Dittrich of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation on Twitter. He also says Poway’s alleged assassin on 8chan is currently referred to either as a hero or as a loser for “killing too few.” Others thought the plot was fake.
Meanwhile, the controversial Youtuber Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg has also responded to the attack and demanded an end to the meme “Subscribe to Pewdiepie”. As part of this, it was originally a matter of making sure that Kjellberg was still ranked number 1 on Youtube. Over time, the meme has become more and more radical. Also “Pewdiepie” had contributed with clips that can no longer be viewed in India after racism allegations and a subsequent court order. The assassin of Christchurch had referred to the meme and the assassin of California had probably also taken to Kjellberg.