Christopher Poole

Christopher Poole (born c. 1988[1]), also known online as moot, is an American internet entrepreneur and developer. He founded the anonymous English-language imageboard 4chan in October 2003, when he was a still a teenager; he served as the site's head administrator until January 2015.[2] He also founded the online community Canvas, active from 2011 to 2014. Poole was hired by Google in 2016 to work on the Google+ social network,[3] and left the company in 2021.[4]

Christopher Poole
Christopher Poole at XOXO Festival September 2012.jpg
Poole in 2012
Bornc. 1988 (age 34–35)[1]
Other namesmoot
EducationVirginia Commonwealth University (no degree)
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, former Google employee
Known forFounder and former head administrator of 4chan

Personal life

Poole was born in 1988 and grew up in New York City. As a teenager, he was a member of the Something Awful forum, and frequented the anonymous Japanese textboard 2channel and its offshoot 2chan.[1]

Until 2008, when his name was revealed in The Wall Street Journal,[5] Poole took great lengths to protect his identity, going under the pseudonym of Robert in real life and as moot online.[6] Several journalists noted that the name "Christopher Poole" could be a pseudonym itself, including Lev Grossman of Time and Monica Hesse of The Washington Post.[7][8]

Poole believes in anonymity on the Internet, and spoke at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California about the value of the concept.[9] In a MIT Technology Review piece entitled "Radical Opacity", Poole was described as being the antithesis of Mark Zuckerberg; while Zuckerberg is outspoken towards his advocacy for a transparent Internet, Poole advocates for a more opaque Internet.[10]

In 2009, The Washington Post reported that Poole had attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a few semesters before dropping out, and that he was living with his mother while trying to figure out how to monetize 4chan.[8]

Career

4chan

Poole established 4chan on October 1, 2003, using translated source code from 2chan, and sought to combine the anime culture on 2chan with the community on Something Awful.[1]

In April 2009, Poole was voted the most influential person of 2008 with 16,794,368 votes by an open Internet poll conducted by Time, beating out the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Oprah Winfrey.[11] It was soon discovered that the users of the /b/ board had manipulated the results of the poll in Poole's favor.[12] Several tools were developed to achieve this, including a website that would vote for Poole at a rate of about 100 votes per minute, and a program capable of voting for him at a rate of 300 votes per minute.[13] The other entries in the poll were also manipulated; the first letter of each entry in the poll spelled out an acrostic for "Marblecake, also the game", a reference to the IRC chatroom where Project Chanology was born and The Game, respectively.[14]

In April 2010, Poole gave testimony in the Sarah Palin email hacking trial, United States of America v. David Kernell. As a government witness, he explained the terminology on the site as part of his testimony, including "OP" and "lurker".[15]

 
Poole at ROFLCon II in May 2010

Canvas

In 2010, it was reported that Poole had raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas. Among the site's investors were Marc Andreessen and Joshua Schachter.[16] Canvas officially launched on January 31, 2011 in beta, and featured digitally modified images created by users of the site. In contrast to 4chan, users were required to identify themselves using Facebook Connect.[17] A similar app, called DrawQuest, launched on February 8, 2013.[18]

On January 21, 2014, Poole announced that, effective immediately, Canvas and DrawQuest were shutting down.[19]

Post-4chan

On January 21, 2015, Poole stepped down as the head administrator of 4chan.[2] Two days later, he held his final 4chan Q&A.[20] Following his departure from 4chan, he began to turn the site over to three anonymous 4chan moderators while looking for a buyer for the website.[21] On September 21, 2015, Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of 2channel, took over as the site's owner.[22]

On March 8, 2016, via a post on Tumblr, Poole announced that he had been hired by Google in an undisclosed position,[3] a decision that was met with anger from Google employees, who claimed that Poole's employment at Google was not compatible with its claims of diversity.[4] In June 2016, Poole became a partner at Google's in-house startup incubator, Area 120. He switched positions again in 2018 when he became a product manager for Google Maps.[23] On April 13, 2021, he left Google, after five years at the company.[4]

Legal matters

In November 2012, it was reported that Poole had sent a cease and desist letter to the startup moot.it, citing the similarities between the startup's name and his username, moot.[24]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Matthews, Dylan (September 2, 2014). "Your guide to 4chan, the site where Jennifer Lawrence's hacked photos were leaked". Vox. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Robertson, Adi (January 21, 2015). "4chan founder Moot is leaving the site". The Verge. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Carrie Wong, Julia (March 8, 2016). "Google hires founder of 4chan, the 'Zuckerberg of online underground'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Elias, Jennifer (April 22, 2021). "4chan founder Chris Poole has left Google". CNBC. Archived from the original on June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  5. ^ Brophy-Warren, Jamin (July 9, 2008). "Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  6. ^ Alfonso III, Fernando (October 1, 2013). "Now 10 years old, 4chan is the most important site you never visit". Daily Dot. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  7. ^ Grossman, Lev (July 10, 2008). "Now in Paper-Vision: The 4chan Guy". Time. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Hesse, Monica (February 17, 2009). "A Virtual Unknown: Meet 'Moot,' the Secretive Internet Celeb Who Still Lives With Mom". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 25, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  9. ^ Fisher, Ken (February 11, 2010). "4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  10. ^ Dibbell, Julian (August 23, 2010). "Radical Opacity". MIT Technology Review. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  11. ^ "The World's Most Influential Person Is..." Time. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original on July 1, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  12. ^ "4Chan Followers Hack Time's 'Influential' Poll". PCMag. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  13. ^ Lamere, Paul (April 15, 2009). "Inside the precision hack". Music Machinery. Archived from the original on May 26, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  14. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (April 21, 2009). "4Chan Takes Over The Time 100". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  15. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (August 11, 2010). "Sarah Palin hacker trial provides 'lolz' courtesy of 4chan founder". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  16. ^ Eunjung Cha, Ariana (August 10, 2010). "4chan users seize Internet's power for mass disruptions". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  17. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 31, 2011). "From the Creator of 4chan Comes the More Mature Canvas". Observer. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  18. ^ Rao, Leena (February 8, 2013). "Moot's New iPad App, DrawQuest Challenges Users Of All Ages To Create And Share Drawings". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  19. ^ Constine, Josh (January 21, 2014). "With Traction But Out Of Cash, 4chan Founder Kills Off Canvas/DrawQuest". Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  20. ^ Poole, Christopher (January 23, 2015). moot's final 4chan Q&A by 4chan – 1/23/15 @ 2:00PM EST (Q&A). 4chan. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  21. ^ Kushner, David (March 13, 2015). "4chan's Overlord Christopher Poole Reveals Why He Walked Away". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 8, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  22. ^ @4chan (September 21, 2015). ".@4chan is now owned and led by Hiroyuki Nishimura (@hiroyuki_ni), the founder of 2channel" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Cooban, Anna (April 23, 2021). "4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google after 5 years and several job changes". Business Insider. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  24. ^ "4Chan Founder Moot Sends Cease & Desist Letter to Startup Moot.It". Observer. November 19, 2012. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.