Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Sep. 06, 2019 2 min read

An incredible Vice report from @elspethreeve about 8chan, its ecosystem, & its founder Fredrick Brennan. From Brennan's life story, his trail of radicalization, building the board & registering the domain while on psilocybin, to Admin theater. Must watch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kerg2rrIdAU 

"[8chan] started out diverse, but over time it became disillusioned white men & everybody else left. Image boards create that mentality because if you don't know the memes, you're an outsider. If the memes are all Nazi memes, why are you going to want to post there?"

"A lot of these users of these boards start out as kind of disillusioned, but they're not all of the way there yet. They're not going to want to look at something with a swastika on it. Maybe their wife will see. Maybe somebody will find out and they'll become a pariah."

"But, on the Internet, you can dabble in Nazism. You can see if it suits you, and you can see if it's your kind of gig, and pretty soon you're a hardcore Nazi."

"Those marches are not playing to the people Charlottesville, but to the people on Twitter & the Internet at large. It's all about the recording that shows: we're powerful, we're growing, join us, we're a movement... They were trying to make [8chan speak] an acceptable thing IRL"

"Engineered the way it is right now, with anonymity in mind, the Internet will always turn out like it is right now... You have to do what China & Russia are doing, which is, they're deciding no, we don't want the freedom, we want your identity tied to everything you do."

"Across the world, everybody who has an anonymous Internet, they're having the same kinds of problems. They speak different languages, but they're still lynching people because of anonymous trolls."

"We've run the [anonymous Internet] experiment so many times, in so many languages, and it's always turned out the exact same way, across cultures."

That stream of consciousness from Fredrick Brennan is some of the clearest, most precise, thinking on radicalization, separatism, and the state of the Internet. Each word stings of truth — and he might be right in the end. I can only hope others like him surface to solve this.

You can follow @_DanielSinclair.


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