Google has hired Christopher Poole, the founder of the notorious online community and bulletin board, 4chan, to tackle its Google+ issues.
Poole, aka Moot, announced the move on his Tumblr page, where he states that he can’t wait to “begin the next chapter of my career at such an incredible company.” Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP in charge of photos and stream, confirmed the hiring in a tweet, congratulating the former 4chan founder on joining the Google+ team.
Poole was 15 when he launched 4chan, an image sharing message board in 2003. For the first five years, his identity remained anonymous and he was simply known as Moot. The nefarious online community started off as a forum for anime fans but later morphed to encompass all types of geek culture and became a source of popular memes.
4chan was at the center of dozens of online controversies, most notably Gamergate, a orchestrated and virulent sexual harassment campaign against top women gamers.
4chan users also hacked emails accounts of former Gov. Sarah Palin and Trayvon Martin, the black teen gunned down by George Zimmerman in Florida; helped the top Google search become a swastika; posted bloody pictures of a murder victim; and promoted #CuttingForBieber, which encouraged Justin Bieber fans to mutilate based on false rumors the singer had cancer.
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Google did not immediately respond to questions about Poole’s role in the company but it is assumed that Poole was brought on board to aid the company’s struggling social media network.
Google+ launched in 2011 as Google’s alternative to Facebook, yet the site remains lackluster. More recently, the tech giant revamped the design layout, which now emulates Pinterest and focuses around creating communities around topic of interests. Perhaps Poole can contribute something to this.
4chan, whose biggest redeeming feature was the ability to post without registering for an account, has been hailed as a haven for free speech. Poole has loudly voiced its concerns over Google’s user identification policies on the internet in the past;
"Facebook and Google do identity wrong," Poole said at the time. "Twitter does it better. I want to think about what the world would be like when we do it right."
Poole’s desire for privacy seems to be at odds with Google’s desire to track its users’ activities in order to bombard them with ads. Let’s see what the future holds for the founder of 4chan who is greatly lauded for creating communities with millions of users but whose website gained a reputation as a breeding ground for cyberbullying, trolling and harassment.