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8chan's rebranded 8kun site goes offline days after launch

A domain registrar terminates the site, saying it breached its services agreement.

8kun

8chan came back, with a new name.

8chan

Anonymous internet forum 8chan resurfaced over the weekend after going offline in August following a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Now named 8kun, the site had 63 active public boards as of Monday. 

Two days later, however, the rebranded site was back in internet purgatory when its domain registrar pulled the plug. Domain registrar Tucows said N.T. Technology, the parent company of 8kun and 8chan, had violated its services agreement. 

"Yesterday, Tucows terminated N.T. Technology, Inc., the reseller for the domains that have hosted the 8chan forum, for violating the terms of the OpenSRS reseller agreement," Reg Levy, head of compliance for Tucows, said thursday in an email. "The specifics of the breach are a private matter." (OpenSRS is a domain reseller company owned by Tucows.) 

Ron Watkins, the site administrator for 8kun, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

8chan's re-emergence as 8kun and its subsequent disappearance mark the latest twist for a website that has drawn attention for its anything-goes attitude. 8chan had been largely unknown to the public until August, when a gunman allegedly posted a hateful screed to one of its boards before a shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people and injured 24. That prompted a congressional committee to depose Jim Watkins, Ron's father and the owner of the site, to learn more about how the site works. 

Security platforms Cloudflare and Voxility pulled their support of 8chan after the shooting, effectively forcing the site to go dark.

On Saturday, the older Watkins uploaded a video saying the site was doing higher-than-expected traffic after its return. 

"It is a fantastic amount of users who attempted to access at one time," Watkins said in the video. "Although I expect setbacks and attacks, it is almost to the point already where no one man, corporation or government will be able to stifle us."

Cybersecurity service and content delivery for the new site is being handled by VanwaTech, based in Vancouver, Washington. On Oct. 30, VanwaTech CEO Nick Lim tweeted about the site's launch. 

"I am confident that the team of people operating 8kun have made significant improvements to the operational nature, and moderation of their new website," Lim said. "Free speech, the internet, and the ability to communicate freely and legally, are some of the many pillars that serve as the foundation for America's success both past, present, and future." 

Before going offline, 8kun bore a warning telling users not to post content that's illegal in the US.

First published Nov. 4.
Update, Nov. 7: Adds information about site going offline. 

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