SOCIETY

A Brief History Of 4chan Vs. The Law

The infamous forum has a history of bucking against mainstream ideals and the police

Oct 02, 2015 at 4:31 PM ET

It may never be known whether Chris Harper Mercer went on the Internet forum 4chan the night before he killed nine people at Umpqua Community College to warn of what he planned to do, or whether the post that had media outlets and investigators scrambling was completely unconnected to the shooting. Either way, this is not the first time a member of 4chan or its /b/ board did something that warranted attention from the police.

Since Christopher “moot” Poole created 4chan as an English language sister-site to Japanese forum 2channel.net, the anonymous members who congregate there have been using the site to, among other things, post underground rap music, popularize Rickrolling and make lolcats a daily part of our Internet diet. But when they’re not creating adorable memes, some 4chan members are causing trouble. Sometimes they do that with garden-variety trolling, but often it escalates, and it can go as far as violent threats, empty or not, that attract the attention of local police, the FBI and even the Department of Homeland Security.