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4chan page.png
This logo is derived from Yotsuba Koiwai, 4chan's official mascot. Yotsuba is a female character from Japanese comedy Site
Type E-Commerce
Cloud Based Storage
Software Developer
Hardware Developer
Launch Date October 1, 2003
Status Active
Product Line Japanese animation and culture to videogames, music, and photography
Platform Image Sharing
Website www.4chan.org
is an Internet image and message board that was founded by Christopher "moot" Poole on October 1, 2003. Poole received inspiration for creating 4chan from other "chan" sites, especially Japanese imageboards. 4chan is organized by different boards containing a variety of topics such as Health and Fitness, Food and Cooking, Video Games, Technology, etc. Its community is best known for fostering internet subcultures, creating internet memes, and organizing human flesh searches. Over 90% of its users are anonymous[1], making the website prone to ethical debates and issues. Specific cases such as Dusty the cat, as well as, more generally, child pornography, desensitization, trip codes, and media attention are examples that have caused an ethical stir in the past. Cruelty amongst its users is also rather common, which is aided by the site's anonymity. Researchers and practitioners argue that real names and pseudonyms can help promote trust, cooperation, and accountability.[2] Anonymity, then, may make communication impersonal and undermine credibility, leading to ethical issues such as those that have already arisen.


4chan's founder Christopher Poole, aka "moot." He was voted the world's most influential person of 2008 in Time magazine's annual Time 100 online poll.

4chan launched on October 1, 2003 as a place to discuss and post pictures of anime and manga. The site was created as an English-language version of the popular Japanese imageboard 2chan, created in 2001[3]. It was founded by moot, a member of the Something Awful forums. Contributors to 4chan do not have to be identifiable as there is no login or registration required by users. The lack of user identity has given 4chan users the notorious ability to post anonymously. [4] According to The Washington Post, "the site's users have managed to pull off some of the highest profile collective actions in the history of the internet." [5] Anonymous has frequently been in the media for its DDoS and other web site attacks as forms of political statements.[6]

The format for this online community is a series of image boards where users can post text with an attached image. Although there are many sub-categories of image boards, the random board called "/b/" is 4chan's most popular board. Its popularity is mostly due to its low regard for rules and creation of popular internet memes such as rickrolling, pedobear, and lolcats. After creating /b/, moot made a topic at Something Awful about the website, which was received well. In 2004, two discussion boards were added, /amh/ and /bbs/, which moot used to ask for donations because of the high cost of running the website[7]. His users quickly responded by sending donations, which were able to keep the site running. During an interview in 2010, Christopher Poole estimated the usage of 4chan, "we’re the largest active forum in the United States, with 8.2 million unique visitors every month and 600 million page loads per month. People are on the site are on for an average of 19 minutes at a time and look at 30 pages each. On top of that, we’re currently getting 800,000 new posts a day."[8] Today, the site is still popular and expanding.

Yotsuba as 404 Girl
In Japanese, 4chan is known as "Yotsuba Channel" which explains why the popular imageboard adopted Yotsuba Koiwai as an official mascot. At one point, the site logo and icon consisted of four leaves positioned identically to her four distinctive, green pigtails. She appears in the HTTP 404 message, giving her the nickname "404 Girl" as well as banned user messages, banner ads, and logos. The code-name of the software the site runs on is Yotsuba.


4chan thrives on the ability of users to post anonymously. Due to the lack of connection between the user who utilizes the site and the presented content, users' experience lowered responsibility and freedom towards personal online experimentation. [9]The term "anonymous", or "anon", is a widely used, self-descriptive term and username on 4chan due to a perceived sense of community created by sharing an identity. Although membership of Anonymous originated in the imageboard 4chan, Anonymous has spread into the realm of the real world, collaborating on many events such as picketing and hacking important government databases. A study discovered that 90% of all posts on the board were from anonymous users. There are, however, methods in place that grant a user temporary identity on the site. See also Shortcuts.

A reoccurring message regarding anonymity, on /b/, dating from October 28 2010:
"You have just entered the very heart, soul and life force of the Internet. This is a place beyond sanity; wild and untamed. There is nothing new here. 'New' content on 4chan is not found; it is created from old material. Every interesting, offensive, shocking or debate-inspiring topic you've seen elsewhere has been posted here, ad infinitum. We are the reason for "not safe for work". We are the Anonymous Army. Cross us and you will fail. Anonymous is everywhere. You depend on us every day. We bag your groceries, we fix your computers. Anonymous sees you before you see him. Sitting at desks around the world right now is a nameless, faceless, unforgiving mafia composed of the best of the best, the worst of the worst and most people in between. We are 4channers. The people devoid of any type of soul or conscience; we are products of cynicism and apathy, and we spread those very sentiments daily. Anonymous is the hardened war veteran of the Internet. He does not forgive, nor forget. We have seen things that defy explanations. We have heard stories that would make any God-fearing, law-abiding citizen empty their stomach where they stand. We have experienced them multiple times and eagerly await their return. 4chan is a place of sheer genius and utter stupidity, and there is often a thin line dividing the two." -- Anonymous

4chan activities

4chan users have been the source of numerous controversial internet and real world attacks, as well as the occasional "do-good" intervention. They are known for pulling off some of the highest profile collective actions and attacks, since the history of the internet.


  • In 2009, images of a character named Boxxy, played by Catie Wayne, started appearing on 4Chan. Images of Boxxy originated from a video she had posted for a fellow GaiaOnline player on her YouTube channel weeks prior. Shortly after, Boxxy quickly filled the /b/ board of 4Chan. When Boxxy started appearing on the /b/ board, many supported her and called her "Queen" while those who disliked Boxxy formed an alliance to suppress the spread of Boxxy memes. The alliance took the same name as a World War II standing order to assassinate Adolf Hitler: 'Operation Valkyrie.'[10]
  • Operation Valkyrie was responsible for hacking into Boxxy's YouTube account as well as releasing Boxxy's personal information.[11] In response, Center for Boxxy Control and Restriction (C.B.C.R.) was formed in order to falsify personal information on Boxxy in order to protect her from Operation Valkyrie.[12] After suffering negative backlash for such conduct, CBCR eventually reverted the damage dealt on January 19th, 2009. A video apologizing for the hacking of Boxxy's YouTube channel was also released alongside.[13]

Habbo Hotel

  • One of the first attacks, which was done strictly as a joke ("the lulz", as it was stated on the site), was a mass log-on to the social networking site Habbo Hotel and the organization of a mass blockade of swimming pools in the game, spamming the chat with internet sayings, and forming into the shape of swastikas. The flooding of the site was characterized as a raid of sorts, with those participating dressing the same way and repeating the same lines as one another. [14]

Hal Turner

  • Between December 2006 and January 2007, 4chan collectively attacked white supremacist Hal Turner's website and prank called his radio show. This caused Hal Turner's website to go down, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage. Hal Turner has since been convicted of making threats to the government and is serving 33 months in jail. His website has been maintained by supporters who update about Turner's case and promote his right of freedom of speech.[15].

Jessi Slaughter

Jessi Slaughter
  • In July 2010, 4chan users found the myspace site and video of eleven year old Jessi Slaughter proudly and openly talking of her promiscuous history as well as using extreme profanity and making verbal threats to her ‘haters’. For example, she claimed that she would "stick a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushie." [16] 4chan users immediately retaliated by finding her personal information and proceeded to harass her personally through phone calls and emails. Not being able to withstand the harassment any longer, Slaughter posted a response video asking 4chan users to stop. Slaughter’s father made an appearance in the video, appearing extremely upset as he yelled at the harassers; from this incident originated popular catchphrases such as “backtraced”, “cyberpolice,” and “You done goofed.” Slaughter later made an appearance on Good Morning America [4] to talk about being victim of cyberbullying. Slaughter eventually ended up in foster care before her father died of a heart attack in August 2011. [17].

Project Chanology

  • In 2008, a Church of Scientology video that featured Tom Cruise was leaked onto Youtube. The church ordered that the video be removed on the basis of copyright infringement. This action raised the ire of Anonymous. One member created a video that was a call to action for members of Anonymous to protest outside the Church of Scientology locations around the world. Members began protesting many of the practices of the Church of Scientology, such as the fact that members of the church were required to pay large sums of money to climb the ranks of the church. Protesters began wearing Guy Fawkes masks to protect their identity due to the church's history of harassing people that spoke out against it. At its peak, there were protests in most large cities in many countries across the globe.

Sarah Palin email hacking

  • In 2008, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the target of an attack by 4chan user David Kernell, son of Democratic Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell. Kernell gained access to Palin's private Yahoo Mail account by enabling password recovery and answered her security questions using Wikipedia and a little research. [18] He then proceeded to read her email, hoping to find something incriminating that could derail her campaign. Once Kernell realized there were no emails of the sort, he started a thread on 4chan's /b/ board where he eventually posted the account's password. David Kernell was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in custody and 3 additional years of probation for his crimes. [19]

Steve Jobs' heart attack

  • On October 3, 2008, a hoax story was submitted to iReport.com, claiming that the CEO of Apple Inc (Steve Jobs) had suffered a heart attack resulting in a 10 percent drop in stock price of Apple Inc before rebounding later that day. The origin of the story was tracked down to 4chan. [20]

Justin Bieber

The phrase "justin bieber syphilis" reached the coveted #1 spot on Google Trends in only a few hours. This caused many fans and bloggers to question and talk about the rumor, thus further spreading it.
  • Justin Bieber has been a target of several attacks by 4chan's /b/ board. Many of the attacks are hoax stories about Bieber's death.[21] More recently, /b/ started the rumor that Justin contracted syphilis after he was photographed with Kim Kardashian [22] This rumor was spread simply though searching the phrase "justin bieber syphilis" on Google to push it up to the top of Google Trends. It was further spread through the use of YouTube videos, Twitter and blogs. The search phrase made it to #1 on Google trends and remained there until 2:00 am. [21]

TIME Magazine Person of the Year Poll Hacking

  • In 2012, the 'Supreme Leader' of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, led the polls in TIME Magazine's online Person of the Year poll. As of December 5, 2012, the North Korean dictator led the poll with just over 3.7 million votes. The next highest candidate was Jon Stewart with approximately 434,000 votes. With the success of voting Jong-un to the top, 4chan users have also used the first letter of the top 14 candidates names to spell “KJU GAS CHAMBERS”. The poll is scheduled to close at 11:59pm on December 12, 2012. [23]
A screenshot of the 3rd annual Time 100 online poll for the "2009 World's Most Influential People" award. If read vertically with the first letters of each name a message is revealed: "mARBLECAKE ALSO THE GAME".

TIME 100 Poll Hacking

  • In 2009, moot was the winner of TIME magazine's 3rd annual TIME 100 online poll. He won with 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100). TIME noted that everyone who moot beat actually held a job to emphasize the magnitude of this victory. [24] While TIME technical staff detected some hacking attempts and tried to extinguish them, they were unsuccessful. Not only did moot win with an abnormally high influence rating (runner-up Anwar Ibrahim only had 47 out of 100), the hackers manipulated the winners so the first 21 names spelled out "marblecake also the game." Marblecake refers to Anonymous's IRC channel, and The Game is a popular meme.

William Lashua's Birthday

  • A user on /b/ posted a picture of a poster on September 1, 2010 that read "Wanted: People for Birthday Party," advertising for the 90th birthday party of William Lashua. The poster included the time and location of the party, along with an image of Lashua. For some reason, /b/tards found their hearts softened by the man and his plea, and decided to "throw him the best birthday party ever." [25] The situation is often used by /b/ to claim that Anonymous does not always do harm; in fact, they sometimes do good.

Eskilstuna Shooting

  • In 2009 a 21-year-old man posted on 4chan a threat of a school shooting at St Eskils Gymnasium in Eskilstuna, Sweden.[26] The school was evactuated, and 4chan users provided the IP address of the poster to the police, who arrested him, but he was later released after claiming it was a joke and no evidence was found otherwise.[26]

Ali Saad

  • In 2011, Ali Saad, a student at Wayne State University was arrested after threatening to carry out a massacre at the university through a post on 4chan. After the FBI issued a warrant to raid his home, they found several pictures of child pornography on his computer. [27]

YouTube Trolling

  • There have been several instances of 4chan members collectively posting on specific artists' (often musicians) YouTube videos with messages exclaiming shock at their recent death. The purpose is to make those who are gullible or uninformed believe that specific artist has died recently.
Tay Zonday told MTV, "I just figured that if I didn't mention it, people would wonder what I was doing."

Chocolate Rain

"Chocolate Rain" is a song written and performed by Tay Zonday. Zonday posted a music video of the song on YouTube on April 22, 2007, where it quickly became popular, ranking as the hottest viral video of summer 2007 by CTV and as the second greatest viral video in the world by utalkmarketing.com. Chocolate Rain was also awarded the 2007 Music YouTube Award. Many attribute the initial spread of popularity of the song to 4chan, where a link to the video was posted on /b/ on July 11, 2007. 4chan users urged each other to watch the video and increase its ranking. Because of this, the video became an extremely popular Internet meme, even resulting in covers by John Mayer and Tré Cool, the drummer of the band Green Day. Zonday turns away from the microphone several times throughout the video with a caption stating "I move away from the mic to breathe in", and that itself inspired remixes and memes. [28]

/b/ - Random

A proclamation by a frequent user of /b/ in the 4chan image boards defining /b/. This definition has been held to much scrutiny within 4chan while also being held in high regard by both outsiders and insiders alike.

The most popular board on the site, /b/, is what people are most commonly referring to when they speak about 4chan. The board can be depicted as the garbage dump of the internet, or as Mattahias Schwartz of The New York Times put it, “the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line.” [29] It is, essentially, used for misdoing.

/b/ is known for having very lax and permissive rules. It has no restrictions on what may be posted aside from content that explicitly violates US federal law, spam, and a few types of content with dedicated boards [30]

This is also the board where a large portion of internet memes originate. Internet memes are images, videos, etc. that are passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

Common Terms and Shortcuts

Common Terms

  • alpha: The opposite of beta. A male who is assertive in nature and is good with the opposite sex.
  • anon: Term 4chan users use to refer to one another, short for 'anonymous'.
  • /b/: The "random" board on 4chan. It is the site's most popular board.
  • /b/tard: A person who participates on /b/.
  • banhammer: A term used to describe when a moderator bans a user for violating one of the rules; occasionally, a user is banned simply "for the lulz." Bans can be temporary or permanent.
  • beta: pertaining to a person who is meek or shy in nature, or a social introvert. Usually associated with those who are socially awkward.
  • bump (verb): To post in a thread, so that it is floated to the top of the board.
  • creepypasta: Reposts that are written to be scary or unsettling.
  • copypasta: Reposted content that is often easily recognizable.
  • CP: Short for child pornography.
  • deliver: To provide material or content that one promised to provide.
  • doubles: A pair of matching end digits on the post ID.
  • dubs: A shortened form of "doubles"
  • femanon: Hypothetical female anonymous user.
  • GET : A GET is any post that receives a notable post ID number on a board. The Post IDs most often considered to be GETs are large multiple of ten, or a number consisting entirely of a repeated digit. For example, the 300,000,000th post would be referred to as "300000000GET". They are most frequent on /b/ as a result of its high posting rate and the fact that other boards discourage seeking GETs. Posting activity on /b/ increases as a GET draws near because of intense competition to either determine the GET, force a meme, or troll others by creating an intentionally disappointing GET.
  • greentext: Used when a user is recounting a story about an experience they have had. It is generally understood that the story is likely made up or exaggerated, as these stories usually involve seemingly unbelievable aspects.
  • lulz: A bastardization of the internet acronym “lol,” meaning to laugh out loud.
  • lurker: A person who reads threads, but does not contribute to them.
  • meme: A concept or idea that spreads through the Internet
  • mfw: Short for "my face when" - usually an image is included of a person's expression, illustrating the user's reaction to a post or image.
  • moralfag: A person who goes against the norms of 4chan and tries to prevent harm to others.
  • newfag: A person who is new to 4chan and unaccustomed to its culture and behaviors.
  • oldfag: A veteran of 4chan who knows about old memes, customs, and threads.
  • OP: Short for Original Poster; the person who starts a thread.
  • rolling: The verb used to describe when a user posts to try to achieve a specific post number or a post number ending in a specific number. For example, the OP of a thread might promise to deliver some content if a user rolls and achieves a post ending in "111."
  • sage: A term included in the email box of a post, so that the post does not bump the thread.
  • sauce (noun): A term that is used to request more or the origin of some content.
  • samefag: A term to describe a user who bumps or posts from multiple accounts, either to attempt to reaffirm their opinion or to otherwise pretend multiple people are responding.
  • sticky: A post that is specifically designated by a moderator to by "glued" to the top of a board, guaranteeing that it will be the top post whenever a user views the page. A stickied page will have a tack icon next to the post, and are typically warnings to users of the board. For example, moderators will often sticky a post where a user broke a rule and was subsequently banned.
  • tripfag: A term used to describe a user who is using a tripcode. See also: Shortcuts.
  • trips: A term to describe getting the same first three digits of the post number.
  • troll: A person who deliberately acts naive in order to incite others.
  • whiteknight: A user who comes to the defense of others, usually "damsels in distress."


  • noko: A user can insert the string "noko" into the email field of a post, and after the post is submitted, the user will automatically be redirected back to the URL of the thread.
  • [spoiler]: A user can put the tags "[spoiler] <insert text here> [/spoiler]" around something that they wish to conceal unless the text is moused over (not all boards support this).
  • quotes: A user can use a '>' character to quote a passage of text. The text of a quote is automatically turned green and thus is often called "greentexting". It should be noted that a quote does not necessarily have to have been said in the thread, or even on the board to be displayed as a quote. Additionally, a user can use double pointers ('>>') to quote a whole post; this method also creates a link to the quoted post. If the post quoted does not exist, an error will be displayed when the link is clicked upon. Finally, a user can use triple pointers ('>>>') to quote a post on another 4chan board.
  • tripcodes: Tripcodes are a method in place which allow a user to temporarily be granted identity. When a user employs a tripcode, their name will display a unique hash which can help others identify the user. To use a tripcode, a user must include a '#' character in the name field, followed by a string that the server uses to associate the tripcode with the user. [31]

Ethics and Controversy

4chan is the source of many ethical controversies and is constantly in the news because of this fact. Of primary concern is the site's staple of full anonymity which has lead to the rise of the Anonymous persona. Under this anonymous disguise, participants on 4chan will target any person or organization they have a disagreement with. The targets range from random, and otherwise unknown, people off the internet to groups like the Church of Scientology or to companies like Google.[32]

Innocent Humor

A photograph posted by moot is of "Robert Bopkins," claiming to be himself.

While some users of the 4chan use the "anonymous" characteristic of the site for harmful reasons, others use it to have some innocent fun. An example of this is a prank pulled by the creator of the website himself, moot. As an April Fools' Day prank in 2004, moot posted pictures of a man in a graduation uniform shortly after getting his diploma from Stanford University. He later posted another picture of this man on April 4, showing him next to a statue in Mexico. moot claimed that the man pictured was himself, and that his name was Robert Bopkins. This was believed by the majority of 4chan users for quite some time, until moot appeared in the flesh at the 2005 Otakon Panel[33]. Seeing moot's teenage-like, un-nerdy appearance surprised many 4chan users, and moot was able to get a good laugh about the prank he had pulled, deceiving his users for over a year.

For those users who knew that "Robert Bopkins" was not really moot, it was quite an entertaining scheme. Those users who believed moot was telling the truth might have been frustrated, but they also might have found it funny to see that moot is actually a young, normal guy. However, it may have been seen as unethical to deceive thousands of users for over a year. All in all, no one was harmed or greatly offended.

Attempting To Ruin Lives

While some have innocent fun, other users find harmful uses of 4chan that ruin people's lives. One strategy of attack is to manipulate victims to reveal private or embarrassing information and then spread this cryptic information to the victim's friends and family. For instance, a 4chan user might go onto the site Omegle and pretend to be an underage girl. The 4chan user will then get the victim to make sexually explicit advances, by offering nude pictures for instance. The 4chan user will then ask for the victim's email or Facebook, so the pictures can be sent. Once this information is given, it becomes extremely easy to find the victim's family and friends. Using fake Facebook accounts, the 4chan user may then send screenshots of the conversation to these people with notes condemning the victim's actions.[34]

This kind of behavior is ripe for discussions on ethics. First, it demonstrates that one can never know and therefore should never trust a person who is anonymous. The consequences of this trust were previously made evident. Second, this is an example of one's online actions spilling over into the real-world, meaning that the boundaries between cyberspace and the real-world can be extremely porous. As such, one should be careful and mindful of the amount of their personal information being exposed online. Third, the 4chan user's actions are illegal in most jurisdictions, yet the user continues to break the law. This can be attributed to the user's high level of anonymity. It is highly unlikely that the person would ever be caught.

Dusty the Cat

One of the original "Dusty the Cat" meme still-shots featuring Dusty having just been assaulted by the YouTube user glennspam1 using the pseudonym "Timmy."

On February 15th, 2009, two YouTube videos were posted from the account glennspam1 in which an adolescent called "Timmy" punched and threw his cat against the wall for several minutes [35]. Users of 4chan were upset by the videos and formed an IRC channel, called #catraid, in order to organize an effort to discover the identity of the attacker and deliver "græt justice". Within 48 hours, local police arrested Kenny Glenn, the perpetrator of the crime, and his brother, and charged them with animal abuse. Dusty the Cat and another cat were taken from the home and placed in a safe place.

Kenny Glenn will forever be known as the abuser of Dusty the cat due to the actions of /b/ members of 4chan. A large ethical concern of this case has to do with the "physical interaction" that occurred between members of /b/ and Kenny Glenn and his family. Kenny's reputation is permanently damaged and although this damage is a result of his actions, it can be questioned whether or not his punishment was appropriate for his crime.

Child Pornography

Because /b/ has no set topic, users post a variety of images, ranging from highly disturbing gore, to sexually explicit images, and child pornography. Child Porn, commonly referred to as "CP", is joked about by posting pictures of the meme Pedobear and Chris Hansen, the host of Dateline NBC's segment To Catch a Predator. [36] Since users do get banned for posting actual child porn[37], they skirt the line by posting suggestive pictures of children, and explicit images of young boys and girls of questionable ages. This is done as a way of fostering simultaneous acceptance and rejection of the topic - so as to comply with the US government's age of consent law.

Although users are anonymous to each other, logs and other records of activity are kept by Christopher Poole. It is possible, therefore, for governments to obtain the IP logs of users for the site. These IP addresses, and the associated logs, can then be used as corroborating evidence in a trial.[38]

In one case, a 15-year-old California boy who uploaded child pornography to the site had a federal investigation launched against him. His house was raided by Homeland Security and his computers seized. It is unclear what criminal charges the boy has faced.[39]

Collin Campbell, a U.S. Navy Machinist’s Mate, was arrested in February 2011 after a fellow seaman found child pornography on his iPhone that he downloaded entirely from 4chan. [40]

On 17 February 2012, Thaddeus McMichael was arrested by the FBI for child pornography charges, after posting comments on Facebook claiming that he possessed child pornography. According to the official criminal complaint filed against Thaddeus, he admitted to obtaining child pornography from the /b/ board on 4chan.[41]


Since /b/ has virtually no filter for material, other than child pornography, 4chan users may become desensitized to content and images that they would otherwise have found offensive had they not seen them on 4chan. Material such as gore, dead bodies, and hardcore pornography are common on /b/, and will assault the unsuspecting user that enters the 4chan board for the first time. Specific types of shocking content may be posted in dedicated threads, such as "gore threads". Such content is also used by users to flood threads they dislike. Because of the prevalence of this content on /b/ and the fact that is the most popular board, some argue that 4chan is decreasing its users sensitivity to such material or imagery in the real world.

High School Gun Threat

Anonymous high school gun threat by 4chan user.

An anonymous user of 4chan’s /b/ recently threatened to bring his father’s submachine gun to Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington and “open fire on the people in the commons until I am taken down by our school’s police officer, or until I run out of mags.” [42] The user also posted a picture of the gun he was supposedly going to use to shoot his victims, saying, “I have a separate mag with a few bullets in it that I will use to take my life if I can make it up to that point.” [43] After large-scale high school shooting incidents at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado and various college campus shootings at schools such as Virginia Tech, Skyline High School was closed on September 20, 2012. Eventually, it was learned that “the threat originated on a server in Sweden.” [44] This incident raises questions concerning the ethics of posting and starting rumors in online environments, especially rumors that have life or death consequences. The anonymity of the user made it harder for law enforcement officers and 4chan administrators to prove that the threat was real and figure out ways to avert it. Had the user known that his personal information and location was available to the public, or at the very least 4chan administrators, the user might not have created this fake threat. If the user’s information was publicly available, he might have had to face the consequences of his actions instead of hiding behind his computer screen.


The NBA All-Star Game starters are determined by an online fan vote. In an attempt to affect the results, some users on 4chan started what they called "Operation: White Man Can Jump," which is a play on the movie White Men Can't Jump. The idea of the operation is to fill the ballot with votes for different "lighter skinned" players, despite many of them clearly not deserving starting spots. Users figured out a flaw in the voting system, as it turns out that users do not need to create an account to vote on mobile devices, like they are supposed to.[45]

Another issue arose with the case of Trayvon Martin, who was a black teenager killed by a local neighborhood watch coordinator. There was a lot of turmoil and animosity surrounding the situation, as it boiled down to a battle over racism. A 4chan user under the username 'Klanklannon' supposedly hacked into Martin's personal e-mail and social media accounts, and posted his Facebook messages as well as usernames and passwords for a number of e-mail and social media accounts.[46]


By using tripcodes on 4chan, one can create an identity for themselves amongst the anonymous population. However, this is typically looked down upon by most users. Even if a tripcode user posts good content and contributes to discussions, he or she is commonly met with disdain. This is due to the culture of 4chan and the view that if someone attempts to create a consistent identity they are usually trying to "attention whore" -- trying to seek attention. Some users take this view to the extreme and use 4chan browser add-ons to automatically ignore and block all posts by users using tripcodes. Because of the disruption that using a tripcode continuously may bring, many hold the view that people should never use a tripcode unless it is necessary. Such an instance would be needing to identify yourself as the OP of a thread. But at the same time, users should be free to do what they want and should not be unfairly ignored for simply using tripcodes, especially if they are good contributors.

4Chan Hacked

In 2011, 4chan was hacked by an online group UGNazi. The group obtained access to website's database and redirected anyone trying to access 4chan to the UGNazi Twitter page. The hack lasted for about 20 minutes and was followed by an official statement by UGNazi taking credit for the hacking, which they posted on Pastebin.com[47].

ISP Bans

Some ISPs, such as unWired, stated on the North American Operators Group (NANOG), an insider discussion board for ISPs, that they had to block 4chan to mitigate the effects of a DDOS attack. Other ISPs on the forum disagree, especially to a wide scale blocking of the site. [48]


AT&T's DSL branch initiated a temporary block 4chan on July 27, 2009 because an AT&T customer was affected by a denial-of-service attack that originated from an IP address connected to img.4chan.org. AT&T had been under a DDOS attack for some time and undertook defensive measurers which created collateral damage to AT&T customers. AT&T maintains that the block was not related to the content of 4chan. 4chan's founder, Christopher Poole, confirmed that the AT&T claims of DDOS attacks originating from 4chan were due to a network error. The ban ended on July 28, 2009. [49]

Verizon Wireless


On February 4, 2010, 4chan started receiving reports from Verizon Wireless customers that they were having difficulties accessing the site's image boards. After investigating, Poole found out that only traffic on port 80 to the boards.4chan.org domain was affected, leading members to believe that the block was intentional. On February 7, 2010, Verizon confirmed that 4chan was "explicitly blocked". Verizon blocked traffic affiliated with 4chan after its security and external experts detected attacks from an IP address associated with the 4chan family of websites. The block was lifted several days later. [50]

See Also

External Links


  1. Bernstein, Michael. "An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community" 20 July 2011. Retrieved on 15 April 2016.
  2. Millen, D. R., and Patterson, J. F. 2003. Identity disclosure and the creation of social capital. In Proc. of CHI, 720–721.
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