THE FOUNDER OF the controversial internet image-board site 4chan has officially joined Google.
Christopher Poole announced the move on Tumblr, saying he would be contributing “my own experience from a dozen years of building online communities” and to “begin the next chapter of my career at such an incredible company”.
“When meeting with current and former Googlers, I continually find myself drawn to their intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm – as well as a universal desire to share it with others,” he said. “I’m also impressed by Google’s commitment to enabling these same talented people to tackle some of the world’s most interesting and important problems”.
The exact role he’ll be playing hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s believed it will tie in with developing the company’s social media offerings like Google+, which failed to make a dent in Facebook’s userbase when it launched in 2011.
Poole founded 4chan in 2003 when he was 15, originally as a way for people to chat about anime and Japanese culture. A site split up into various boards dealing with specific topics, it has been the origin of a number of internet memes including Rickrolling and LOLCats, but has been the subject of much controversy.
When private nude photos of various female celebrities were leaked online back in 2014, they first appeared on 4chan, and the site has been linked with numerous cases of trolling, abuse, and online harassment.
Poole stepped down as the site’s administrator in 2015 and handed responsibility to a handful of volunteers. He later sold it to Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder and former administrator of 2channel whose approached influenced 4chan anonymous posting culture, a few months later.
In an interview with Mashable back in 2015, he was asked if he would start another project or work for an existing company after stepping down from 4chan. At the time, he said he would be open to the idea of working for someone else.
I honestly don’t know. I never worked for someone else. I would like to. I would like that experience. I’ve learned a lot from my experience with 4chan. I’ve done the startup thing, I’ve tried to take the experience and do it with my own thing and to a certain degree of success. Are there other community apps or anonymous apps that would benefit from my decade of experience.
Chances are his new employer hopes they’re the answer to that last line.