Before he quit as the administrator of 4chan, Christopher Poole received “a lot of e-mails of a threatening nature” from users, he says. Sean McCabe A t 11 a.m. on January 21st, Christopher Poole posted a note online saying he was retiring as the administrator of 4chan, the notorious website he had founded as a high school student in upstate New York 11 years earlier. The news was as shocking as some of the site’s content: The Zuckerberg of the online underground was walking away. Poole had started 4chan as a way for fellow anime obsessives to post and discuss images. But over the next decade, it morphed into the Net’s greatest factory of memes and mayhem. LOLcats and Rickrolling started on 4chan. So did Anonymous, the international collective of hacktivists and geeks. Most recently, 4chan has been in the crosshairs of two of the biggest controversies on the Web: the celebrity nude leaks called the Fappening, and Gamergate, the increasingly vicious battle over sexism in the video-game industry. Sidebar Strippers, Rappers and VR Porn: Welcome to Internext » With 20 million unique visitors a month — and more than 40 billion page views since its inception— 4chan is one of the most-trafficked websites ever. Poole, a lanky, acerbic 27-year-old with a mop of light-brown hair, has given a popular TED talk and been the keynote speaker at SXSW Interactive, and in 2010 Facebook brought him in to give an informational address to employees (one asked if he could ever see 4chan becoming a part of Facebook; Poole’s response: ” Uhhhhh, nope!”). Jeff Moss, founder of the offline hacker conference DefCon, calls 4chan “the embodiment of the original Internet spirit.” When Poole topped Time’ s poll in 2009 as “The World’s Most Influential Person” — beating out Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama — many thought he deserved it, especially the 4channers who’d gamed the vote to make sure he won
Home / Tech News / Chris Poole hopes to sell 4chan, says Fappening and Gamergate stress triggered his departure (David Kushner/Rolling Stone)
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