Absolutely everything you need to know for understand 4chan
For many people, the internet makes sense in metaphors clouds, superhighways, links, pages. Wikipedia is a kind of a brain. Facebook is more of a town square. But how about 4chan, the imageboard platform where everyone posts just about everything, with anonymity and impunity? If you’ve been on for some time, then you’d know that 4chan is the internet’s soul.
As one of the largest and most notorious social platforms, it’s estimated that 340,000 people visit 4Chan every single day, adding up to nearly 3,000,000. Long ago, before acquiring a reputation for hoaxes and hacks, 4chan was all about manga and anime discussions. Today. However, it’s famous for its alt-right user base and its role in spreading nefarious memes and doctored pictures during the 2016 elections.
With over 22 million monthly visitors, this platform’s greatest’ strength to its users is still its anonymity. It’s still impossible to have an account, which means that everyone can easily upload anything they want under any alias or name – content that eventually disappears from the site.
Mainstream Media and 4chan
Everything that lingers on 4chan can more or less have an impact on individuals and companies. For instance, when the platform started a disinformation campaign claiming that Ethereum CEO Vitalik Buterin died, the organization lost billions of dollars.
A few years back, 4chan users revealed Sarah Palin’s email password and started the Steve Jobs death hoax, which impacted more than 10% of Apple’s share price. In 2018, 4chan distributed fake Starbuck coupons claiming to award those of color free beverages.
And that’s not all. During the 2018 midterm polls, a survey found that 4chan users were distributing a video claiming to show Honduras migrants accepting payments to take the U.S by storm.
A lot of people are in for the “lulz”
That’s perhaps the funniest takeaway about messaging platforms like 4chan: Most users are making content to get attention and laughs. Most content is legitimately funny, depending on everyone’s sense of humor ( LOLcats and Rickrolling).
Other times, these “lulz” are attained by far more unsavory ways. After a Starbucks staff member called the police on two people who were waiting for a friend in a Philadelphia shop, the platform’s top users touted a hoax that the organization was giving out free products for people of color.
Why does your privacy matter on 4Chan?
Famous for popularizing funny content, bulletins, memes, and popularizing trends, 4chan allows everyone to express openly and anonymously.
However, there’s still a slight setback that everyone seems to forget. 4chan isn’t allowed everywhere on the globe – in some regions, local Internet Service Providers restrict 4chan. Since you won’t be able to access 4chan’s content from a certain location – a VPN can help you with that.
Besides now normal geoblocks and insecure protocols, the platform is famous for, 4chan is known to store your IP address. How does it work?
Since it can store your IP address, anyone who accesses your IP address can easily figure out where you are located and who you are.
A few years back, 4chan users have even been tracked and arrested, given that the platform isn’t as anonymous as many users are led to believe. That said, if you want to avoid trouble, then you need to hide your identity every time you access 4chan.
Why skepticism matter on platforms like 4chan?
It’s not always good to choose cynicism as a tool while reporting. However, on platforms like 4chan, it’s a survival tactic.
When someone finds misinformation flying around the internet, it’s useful to trace it back to its source – which is often an app or an anonymous message board. Yet, there can be plenty of false flags, rumors, and conspiracies that aren’t proved by anything more than emotions.
Pro tip: Try to find other places to confirm a rumor about it – if necessary, call people in real life, don’t rely on 4chan as a primary source- even though other media platforms do so -and confirm everything.
If 4chan provides specific directions that are being used in other parts of the internet, and it’s replicable, then that’s a good way of doing it. But when someone is just saying stuff on 4chan, it doesn’t actually mean anything.
There is no darkness without light, it seems. So, it’s perhaps right to assume that 4channers are at least a little bit weird but right: 4chan is for them the soul of the internet, the best source of sights and sounds, for worse and, sometimes for better. Need to track down a viral political hoax? Try 4chan, and watch conspiracies how they bubble up – but all this time, keep your guard up, you VPN active and watch, read and listen skeptically as there’s more than fake news and trolls to worry about.