Exposing the Darkest Reaches of the Internet
Friday 23 August 2019
On March 15, the real world impact of online hate became abundantly, horrifically clear. As a shooter opened fire at two Christchurch mosques, the online image board 8chan anticipated, celebrated and amplified his killing spree.
In the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, a team of award-winning journalists have investigated this site called 8chan, also known as Infinity Chan. Who’s responsible for the racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, mysognistic material it spreads?
Infinite Evil sees Stuff Circuit journalists travel to the United States and the Philippines in search of answers. They interview the 8chan website founder and follow the Philippines cybercrime unit in pursuit of the perpetrators of evil. The story shows how the fomenting of hate online translates into real life.
Reporter Paula Penfold says when the team started the investigation they weren’t entirely sure where they’d end up. “We discovered how obsessed and determined the ‘anons’ who use the website are, and how regardless of what happens to 8chan, they’ll find somewhere to go. We’ve shone a light into the dark corners in the hope that exposing this extremism and hatred will hold those responsible to account.”
The result is a compelling yet terrifying portrait of the site that describes itself as “the darkest reaches of the Internet”, an anonymous haven for extremists who vow to continue - whatever attempts are made to shut them down. It’s a must watch for anyone who cares about democracy and the future of the internet.
Infinite Evil will be released on Sunday 25 August on Stuff and will be broadcast on Māori Television at 7.30pm on Sunday night. It was produced with funding from NZ On Air. Warning: Infinite Evil contains offensive language and content that may disturb.
Stuff Circuit was awarded Best Current Affairs Programme at the NZ Television Awards.