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Police in Philippines launch probe into 8chan: report

The Hill logo The Hill 8/8/2019 John Bowden
a group of people preparing food on a table: Police in Philippines launch probe into 8chan: report © Getty Images Police in Philippines launch probe into 8chan: report

Authorities in the Philippines are investigating the owners of the website 8chan to determine whether they were negligent in dealing with far-right users of the platform who have created an atmosphere that encourages mass shootings.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that police in the country are investigating the site's owner, Jim Watkins, as well as founder Fredrick Brennan for negligence in their management of the platform, and want to determine the site's influence in the country.

Both men, natives of the U.S., now reportedly live in the Philippines, but Watkins left the country in recent days, according to the Journal.

"The first thing we want to know is the influence of 8chan in the Philippines," the probe's chief investigator told the newspaper.

8chan's role in serving as a platform for far-right and white supremacist ideologies came back into the spotlight this week following two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, the latter of which was carried out by a suspect who reportedly posted a manifesto expressing anti-immigrant rhetoric on 8chan before his attack.

The site has been linked to other mass shootings in the past, including the Poway synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand.

The site currently remains unlisted but accessible from an IP address due to web hosting platforms' unwillingness to service the company's clientele.

Watkins blasted the web service Cloudflare after it ended support for 8chan after the attacks Saturday, calling the company responsible for dispersing "a peacefully assembled group of people talking," according to the Journal.

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