These days, 4chan appears in the news almost weekly.
In 2008, I wrote the site’s teenage founder, Poole, whose contact was at the top of the site, asking for an interview. Then I saw 4chan was meeting, not in Baltimore, but a few blocks from my apartment in New York, in fact, in many cities around the world.
They had planned to protest the church of Scientology.
This essay is an attempt to untangle the threads of 4chan and the far right.
In the beginning I didn’t pay all that much attention 4chan.
That’s why it’s called “grooming.” Experts say the short-term goal of these manipulators is for the victim to feel loved or just comfortable enough to want to meet them in person, and these people know that sometimes takes time.
That’s ok, they’d say, because groomers tend to have a lot of patience, and they also tend to “work” a number of targets at once, telling all of them that they are “the only one for me.” You can imagine how well that can work with kids seeking sympathy, support, or validation online.
Poole had adapted a type of Japanese bulletin board software which was difficult to understand at first, but once learned, was far more fun to post in than the traditional American format used by S.
A., as a result the site became popular very quickly.
Their user base had grown exponentially and it was obvious they were about to explode into the mainstream.
(Much to the dismay of its millions of users, who tried in vain desperation to keep it a secret.)The key to 4chan’s popularity (and what distinguished it from its progenitor Something Awful) was the Japanese bulletin board Poole had adapted for English use.
Here are some tactics kids can watch out for (these are themes for which there are Being aware of these tactics – and the fact that groomers are self-taught experts in 1) getting kids to reveal their needs and desires and 2) tailoring messages to those interests – can go a long way toward protecting kids from sexual exploitation online.