4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google

Poole, who founded 4chan at 15, was a controversial hire back in early 2016

A Google kitchen area at one of its offices

Google has confirmed that it no longer employs the founder of the popular imageboard platform 4chan, Chris Poole.

The news comes just over five years after the hiring of Poole, a decision which garnered headlines due to the controversial nature of 4chan, which most recently has been found to contain leaked source codes for various versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Poole, who founded the platform in 2003 at the age of 15, had taken on numerous roles across different parts of the company, with his last day at Google being 12 April 2021, according to documents seen by CNBC. An internal repository seen by the publication described his last position as a product manager at Google Maps. Prior to that, he had been a partner at the company’s startup incubator Area 120.

In a now-removed post, Poole said that he had decided to join Google as a continuation of his work, stating that he would use his “experience from a dozen years of building online communities” and “grow in ways one simply cannot on their own.”

Poole had joined Google in March 2016, after over a decade at 4chan, which he had been initially created for English-speaking users to discuss traditionally East-Asian media, such as anime and manga. However, the platform quickly became popular among hackers and was criticised for hosting pornography, leaked personal information, as well as content of racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic nature, often becoming the centre of legal cases. With 4chan having no other staff members, Poole attempted to moderate the contents of the site with the help of volunteers.

“As 4chan's sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I've come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure,” Poole wrote in a farewell post to 4chan in 2015, having sold the platform to Japanese internet entrepreneur Hiroyuki Nishimura for an undisclosed amount.

Speaking to Rolling Stone shortly after his retirement from 4chan, Poole admitted to having received death threats from 4chan users for removing their content. This resulted in Poole being a notoriously private person and is likely the reason as to why he didn’t comment on his departure from Google: CNBC stated that they had contacted Poole repeatedly, yet he had not provided any statement.

IT Pro has contacted Google for comment on Poole’s departure, reasons for which remain unknown.

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