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August 06, 2019

Thompson, Rogers Demand 8chan Owner Appear and Answer Questions on Site’s Extremist Content

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Committee, sent a letter to Jim Watkins, the owner of the website 8chan, to request that he appear before the Committee to answer questions on what is being done to address the proliferation of extremist content on his platform.  According to media reports, the killer who carried out the August 3rd domestic terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, posted a manifesto describing his anti-immigrant, white supremacist beliefs on 8chan.

Letter excerpt: 

Regrettably, this is at least the third act of white supremacist extremist violence linked to your website this year. In April, the killer who murdered one Jewish worshiper and wounded three others at a synagogue in Poway, California, appears to have posted an anti-Semitic and racist open letter on 8chan shortly before carrying out the mass shooting.  In March, the killer who murdered 51 Muslim worshipers and wounded 49 more at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, appears to have posted on 8chan a 74-page manifesto outlining his racist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant beliefs, as well as a link to a Facebook livestream of the massacre.  

On August 5, 2019, your network service provider, Cloudflare, called 8chan a “cesspool of hate” before suspending service.  Fredrick Brennan, 8chan’s founder, called the site “a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there,” and called for 8chan to be shut down.  Experts have described 8chan as a platform for amplifying extremist views, leading to the radicalization of its users. 

Americans deserve to know what, if anything, you, as the owner and operator, are doing to address the proliferation of extremist content on 8chan.

To that end, the Committee on Homeland Security respectfully requests your presence to provide testimony regarding 8chan’s efforts to investigate and mitigate the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist extremist content, on your website.

Link to letter

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Press Contact

(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-226-2616
(Rogers) Nicole Hager at 202-226-8417