Misery loves company, apparently: 4chan owner Hiroyuki Nishimura, who acquired the site in 2015, announced that 4chan is not meeting its costs–apparently the basement dweller hotspot is not exactly prime ad real estate–and that King Troll Martin Shkreli is considering footing the bill. Shkreli, you will remember, is the pharmaceutical executive who made national headlines and gained the world’s ire for price-gouging a long-generic, life-saving AIDS drug through exploiting FDA loopholes. Shkreli likes the idea that 4chan encourages the “free expression” of “anything” (namely, um, gore, and organized attempts to hack celebrity nudes from iCloud), but he doesn’t like that the site is kinda really anti-semitic. He’s on the fence.
While it seems unlikely that 4chan will shut down completely, Nishimura would probably slow down the site’s server speed or prohibit users from posting large images to save on costs. 4chan, you had it coming. Read Sara Ashley O’Brien’s report for CNN Money in partial below, in full here.
Nisimura listed three options for 4chan’s future: Slow the speed of the site, limit the size of pictures users can post and even close some boards entirely; add more ads; or have more people sign up for its paid feature, 4chan Pass.
Nisimura, a Japanese entrepreneur who took over the site in 2015, wrote that 4chan recently cut down on the number of ads on its site due to ad serving costs. In an email sent to CNNMoney, he said that 4chan is not for advertisers and that “attracting advertisers is not [the] first option.” He said relying on ads is “risky,” citing ad blockers – where users block ads from surfacing in their browsers.
His post attracted the attention of those who’ve advocated against 4chan: “It’s ground zero for orchestrated harassment,” tweeted game developer Brianna Wu, who expanded on her thoughts in a post on Bustle.
But Wu told CNNMoney that while she doesn’t expect 4chan to die, she does anticipate the site to be much “slower and require users to pay to upload large images.”
While 4chan’s future is far from clear, there is one person interested in ensuring the site stays around: Martin Shkreli. The former pharmaceutical exec who’s facing criminal charges expressed interest in making sure the site doesn’t die. Nisimura confirmed to CNNMoney that he and Shkreli are talking.
(It should be noted that Shkreli is known for stunts aimed at getting a rise out of people, like auctioning off the chance to punch him in the face.)
In a call with CNNMoney, Shkreli declined to comment on a possible 4chan deal but did talk about 4chan more broadly. He referred to himself as a “blackbelt troll,” but even he has been “very distraught” by some of 4chan’s content, including a gross amount of antisemitic posts. “At the same time, I respect that people have those thoughts. I think its wrong, but I can’t do anything about it.”
*Image of Martin Shkreli via CBS News