4chan, sometimes better known by the general public as the birthplace of Anonymous which is considered a group of “hacktivists” who are typically known for getting involved in matters concerning free speech. This group became easily recognizable by their use of the Guy Faux mask popularized by the movie V For Vendetta. 4chan is also well known by the general public for allegations of abuse, harassment, and general non-politically correct behavior. It was put into a greater spotlight recently for its connection to a scandal called The Fappening which ended up getting national coverage regarding misogyny and sexism against women after several celebrities had private nude photos of themselves stolen and uploaded to the internet.
Now it is important to note that 4chan is not a monolithic entity but rather a board for individuals to post on, much akin to sites such as Twitter and Facebook, with its only rule being that your posts can not contain illegal material. A popular joke regarding 4chan online is “The hacker known as 4chan” which refers to news reports that ended up implying the message board is an individual as opposed to thousands of users.
4chan was bought from “Moot” aka Christopher Poole, last year by 2chan’s original founder Hiroyuki Nishimura but has recently come into some financial woe. Citing trouble getting ads on the site in a post titled “Winter is coming.” as well as an inability to afford infrastructure costs, network fees, server costs, CDN etc.
Included in this post is a statement of having only three options. One of those options being very odd in that it promises to put up malicious ads which seems an offsetting alternative to suggest inflicting upon your users. Other options include closing boards, most likely more notorious boards such as /pol/ to attempt to attract more advertisers along with reducing costs by placing more limitations on their users. In the final suggested option, is to gain more 4chan pass users. This is their yearly subscription model that costs 20 USD which allows you to avoid typing in a CAPTCHA verification before posting, and with this final option a promise of more features.
Now a few people have suggested having an interest in helping 4chan out, most notably Martin Shkreli, and Markus Persson. As neither Persson or Shkreli have formally contacted Nishimura with any offers so far, we can only speculate how serious these offers may or may not have been.