4chan Just Sold to the Founder of the Original ‘Chan’
One of the web’s weirdest and most influential sites has been sold. Today 4chan founder Christopher “moot” Poole announced that the anonymous image sharing site 4chan, which he created when he was just 15, was acquired by Hiroyuki Nishimura. Nishimura is best known as the founder of the Japanese site 2channel—one of the original inspirations for 4chan. You can read our 2008 profile of Nishimura here. Poole stepped down as administrator of the site last January. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“I met Hiroyuki in 2011 and we became fast friends, bonding over our shared passion for creating and managing online communities,” Poole wrote in a post on 4chan. “He is one of few individuals with a deep understanding of what it means to provide a digital home for tens of millions of people for more than a decade. There is nobody more qualified than Hiroyuki to lead 4chan, and I can’t think of a person better suited for the task.”
4chan is home to the infamous “anything goes” image board known as /b/, known for its hodgepodge of porn, racism and disturbing imagery. And yet few sites have had a larger impact on web culture than 4chan since it was launched in 2003. It gave the world “lolcats” and brought the nightmarish figure of Pedobear into the popular imagination. It served as the incubator for hacktivist group Anonymous and spawned the open source Skype alternative Tox. And if you’ve ever been rickrolled, you have 4chan to blame.
2channel, an anonymous text-based Internet forum, has been similarly influential in Japan and, in fact, though it may be less of a household name in America, it is actually more popular worldwide according to Alexa, a site that measures web site popularity across the world. It’s currently the 23rd most popular site in Japan and the 302nd most popular in the world. According to Alexa’s rankings, 4chan is the 800th most popular website in the world. Nishimura sold 2channel in 2009.
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