WASHINGTON—A key House committee has subpoenaed the owner of 8chan, an anonymous pro-free speech web forum that has been said to be a platform where extremist views have been amplified and people radicalized, including the man suspected of killing 22 people in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and the panel’s top Republican announced the subpoena on Aug. 14, saying that “at least three acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan in the last six months.”
Today the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a subpoena to 8chan owner Jim Watkins for testimony on our work countering extremist content on social media. At least 3 acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan in the last 6 months.
— House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) August 14, 2019
The El Paso shooter along with the gunman accused of killing 51 worshippers at a New Zealand mosque and the man accused of terrorizing a synagogue in Poway, California, are all said to have posted hateful screeds on 8chan before committing their crimes.
Thompson and GOP Rep. Mike Rogers say it’s crucial to examine what can be done to counter the trend.
🚨BREAKING🚨: Homeland Security Chairman Thompson & Ranking Member Rogers sent a letter to 8chan owner Jim Watkins demanding he come before Congress and answer questions on the site’s extremist content.
— House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) August 6, 2019
The subpoena asks owner Jim Watkins to appear Sept. 5 for a deposition.
Watkins maintains that 8chan is “a law-abiding company.”
“We have responded with both vigor and integrity every single time that a threat of violence has been posted and information has been requested by law enforcement,” he said in a video on YouTube.
By Andrew Taylor.