4chan is now 20 years old, so we wanted to take a look back at its beginnings and how it has grown to become what it is today. In its early days, the site originated to share all kinds of content related to Japanese manga and anime. It ended up evolving into a meeting point where readers could read all kinds of conspiracy theories and messages of criticism.
4chan is the proof of how an Internet site can evolve.
Sometimes, the internet is amazing and, when a community is created, a person may have no idea how it will end. 4chan is the very example of diversity and an example of how a page can grow and evolve on its own, giving way to something different from what was intended, as if they were creations that had a life of their own. Thus, entertainment and learning content gave way to ideologies of any kind. These included ultra-right-wing and anti-vaccine or pandemic conspiracy stories, among others.
When was 4chan created?
Christopher Poole created 4chan in 2003, when he was only 15 years old. His inspiration was Futaba Channel. So when he started developing his project, he envisioned a site where he could share all kinds of images related to Japanese manga in an English-speaking interface.
With ease, Poole obtained the Futaba Channel source code and replicated it by changing the Japanese text with a text translation tool. Already up and running, the 4chan website received all kinds of topics such as cosplay, otaku culture (anime and manga fans) or curiosities related to the culture of Japan.
The forum was only expanded thanks to the participation of its readers.
Shortly thereafter, people entering the forums left clues as to what they wanted to comment on and read. They began to open discussions on other topics such as video games, technology, the paranormal world and UFOs, fashion, TV news, political issues or even LGBT issues and adult erotic content.
According to its creator, the community started with twenty people. It is currently one of the most visited forums in the United States, attracting more than eight million visitors per month and 600 million page loads per month. The notoriety gained by the site thanks to its multitude of topics is such that, according to Poole, each person can visit up to thirty pages per visit. These explanations were given by Poole to the New York Times in 2010, after revealing that he was the creator of 4chan.
Poole sold 4chan, overwhelmed by its popularity, to Japanese entrepreneur Hiroyuki Nishimura. Nishimura was convicted in the past in his own country for posting inappropriate content on 2Channel. One of Nishimura’s working rules is not to veto content published by his authors. In this way, 4chan became a bottomless pit where all kinds of content, sometimes labeled as tasteless and even dangerous for society, have ended up.