8chan, the anonymous forum that was forced offline in August due to links to the El Paso shooting, is back after rebranding as 8kun, Gizmodo reported yesterday. The site’s new name was announced at the beginning of October before its owners asked existing 8chan board owners to submit requests for their boards to be migrated. At the time of writing, 63 public boards appear to be available on 8kun.
Missing from the list of 8kun’s boards is /pol/, where the alleged El Paso, Texas shooter published his manifesto earlier this year. Following the shooting, in which over 20 people died, multiple providers including Cloudflare and Voxility withdrew their service from 8chan, effectively pulling it offline.
The suspected El Paso, Texas gunman is one of three shooters who are thought to have published links to their manifestos on the site this year. The Christchurch, New Zealand and Poway, California shooters are also believed to have used the site to spread their hate speech prior to murdering dozens of people.
In the face of intense scrutiny from US lawmakers, 8chan’s owner and operator Jim Watkins has remained defiant. He told Congress in September that the site was “offline voluntarily” and that it “may” return once it had developed tools to counter illegal content. However, Watkins said that 8chan had “no intent of deleting constitutionally protected hate speech.”
8kun includes words to this effect on the top of its home page, with a warning sign that says “any content that violates the laws of the United States of America will be deleted and the poster will be banned.” However, it’s not clear what, if any, changes the company has made to how it polices its content.