CHANOLOGY: 4chan Founder Goes Semi-Legit


TECH CRUNCH: According to an SEC filing, 4chan founder Christopher “Moot” Poole has raised $625,000 in funding for a stealth startup called Canvas Networks. We’ve emailed Poole to confirm the funding. 4chan is an online bulletin board where anyone can post comments, expound on topics and share images. Poole was featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world last year. As of March, 4chan was receiving around 8.2 million unique visitors per month. Poole told the New York Times’ Nick Bilton that the site receives an average of 800,000 new posts a day. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: Mr. Poole created 4chan in 2003 on summer break at 15. He modeled it after a Japanese anime site called 2chan. For the next several years, most people knew Mr. Poole only by his online handle, moot. He came out publicly as the founder of 4chan a few years ago. Before then, he ran the site in secrecy from his bedroom. Even his parents were unaware of the site. “Even in my real life, I was anonymous,” he said. During that time, the site exploded in popularity and cemented itself squarely in Internet culture, for better or worse. The sheer power and influence that 4chan is able to wield online is difficult to deny and often goes beyond the Internet. The site is credited with creating one of the better-known Internet memes, Lolcats, pictures of cute cats paired with quirky, misspelled captions. In 2009, 4channers concentrated their efforts on electing Mr. Poole as Time magazine’s most influential person of the year, earning him a ticket to a red carpet event that included John Legend and Diane Sawyer. But the site is often at the root of much mayhem on the Internet. Members taunted the family of a teenage suicide victim. A few years ago, members on the site started a rumor that Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, had suffered a heart attack, causing shares of the company to plummet. More recently, some 4channers initiated a Web attack that brought down PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, after those sites cut off donations to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing site. Nevertheless, the drawing power of Canvas intrigued venture capitalists who provided $625,000 in seed money. The investors say this is a new kind of service that may portend a different future for Web services and behaviors. MORE

RELATED: At South by Southwest Interactive 2011 in Austin, Texas this week, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (also known as “moot”) took the stage to talk about various online issues. One of these was how important anonymity is on the Internet and how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t get it. “Mark Zuckerberg has kind of equated anonymity with a lack of authenticity, almost a cowardice,” said Poole. “I would say that’s totally wrong. I think anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, unfiltered, raw way. I think that’s something that’s extremely valuable. In the case of content creation, it just allows you to play in ways that you may not have otherwise. We believe in content over creator.” MORE

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