4chan’s board topics include cooking, fitness, fashion, technology, music, and math; they also include several boards dedicated to weapons, “politically incorrect” discussion, and hardcore — often disturbing — porn.Huge swaths of the site are dedicated to anime, manga and other Japanese cultural outputs, a legacy of the site’s creation in 2003.Later it invented an unfunny and inexplicable “mascot” for Ebola, and encouraged witless new i Phone owners to microwave their phones.(That latter rumor gained so much traction, the Los Angeles Police Department felt compelled to weigh in.) Apparently convinced the “ninth circle of Hell” was not doing enough to sabotage itself, shady viral marketers posing as 4chan users then pretended to hack Emma Watson’s nudes and — in the ensuing Internet-wide cacophony — demanded that 4chan be shut down.
For one thing, unlike Reddit, users never need to make an account or pick a username — even a pseudonymous one.That means participants can say and do virtually anything they want with only the most remote threat of accountability.It also means you can’t message other users or establish any kind of social relationship with them, unless they reveal their identity in some way. In fact, a number of sociologists have spent time studying exactly how it works.The site’s founder urged readers to take the survey with “a massive grain of salt” — since the site thrives on anonymity, he pointed out, there’s ultimately no way to know who uses it with any certainty.Three reasons: First, 4chan is the original incubator for a huge number of memes and behaviors that we now consider central to mainstream Internet culture.
That doesn’t mean 4chan is inherently evil, or that everything on the site is somehow depraved.