The owner of 4chan has posted a message on one of its boards admitting that the sometimes controversial website is experiencing something of a cash flow problem.
The website which critics claim often showcases the darkest recesses of web subcultures is in financial trouble, and according to Hiroyuki Nishimura can no longer afford “infrastructure costs, network fee, servers cost and CDN [servers that help distribute high-bandwidth files such as video]… Thank you for thinking about 4chan. We had tried to keep 4chan as is. But I failed. I am sincerely sorry.”
According to Nishimura, 4chan has three options to keep the site online.
It can add more paid features for 4chan-pass-users, show more ads including pop-ups, or half the traffic costs by closing some boards and limiting upload sources.
While Nishimura admits that neither of these three options is ideal, it could also drastically affect the culture of the site which has long held a reputation for being a bastion of non-regulation and free speech.
Such freedom has also brought controversy with it however. While having been the birth place of thousands of viral memes, such as the infamous Rickrolling phenomenon of a few years ago, it has also been linked with the release of famous actresses stolen nude pictures, as well as the Gamergate campaign whose sole purpose seemed to have been the online harassment of women.
Most notable however, 4chan is also thought to have been where the hacktivist collective Anonymous was formed. Hacktivists are claimed to have taken the Anonymous name from the fact that since 2004, all posts to 4chan are marked as ‘anonymous.’
4chan was founded 2003 by then schoolboy, Chris Poole. Poole sold 4chan to its current owner, Nishimura, the founder of 2chan, in 2015.