Multiple figures claiming to represent white nationalist groups have been promoting or trying to recruit for those groups on online message board sites 4chan and 8chan -- sites that are already in the spotlight for the white nationalism and far-right content that proliferates there.
Posters on 4chan are well-known for their tendency to spread hate speech and far-right conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate. 8chan was recently knocked offline after it was reported that the suspects of mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand; Poway, California; and El Paso, Texas, posted manifestos on the site before carrying out the attacks. But 8chan’s owner, who was recently subpoenaed to provide evidence to congressional staffers, has pledged to bring the site back. Additionally, both sites have at one time or another been the centers for the QAnon conspiracy theory, some of whose supporters have been tied to acts of violence, and QAnon has been flagged by the FBI as a potential domestic terrorist threat.
Given these sites’ clear ties to the far-right, multiple users claiming to be with white nationalist groups have apparently seen them as a recruiting ground to add members to their ranks. Those white nationalist groups include the following:
Identity Evropa (now called the American Identity Movement)
Identity Evropa is a white nationalist group that tried rebranding earlier this year as the American Identity Movement (AIM) to downplay its racist beliefs as part of the “Identitarian” white supremacist movement.
Earlier this year, someone claiming to be a member of AIM posted on 8chan, writing, “You guys should consider joining AIM.” The user added that it “only takes a minute to fill out the application” and linked to the organization’s site. One poster responded, “I will pledge some financial support for you guys.” Other users identifying as AIM’s president or AIM’s representatives encouraged people on 4chan and 8chan to “join today” by posting an image of its site or a link to donate (AIM’s president has denied that the group advertised on the chans).
Legion of Saint Ambrose
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Legion of Saint Ambrose -- founded earlier this year -- is “a white supremacist group whose members want to rebuild America as a white Christian nation.” The group’s leader, Colton Williams, was reportedly an active member of the now-defunct neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party.
Since at least April, 4chan users suggesting they are affiliated with the group -- including a user with the screen name “Colton Williams” -- have repeatedly posted links to the group’s social media accounts and urged other users on the site to “join the Legion.”
Canadian Nationalist Front
The Canadian Nationalist Front is a neo-Nazi organization founded by Kevin Goudreau, who Vice reported “has been a longtime player in the Canadian neo-Nazi scene” and has been investigated by Canadian authorities for a Facebook post calling for violence. In April, Facebook banned the Canadian Nationalist Front from the platform.
Soon after Facebook’s ban, a poster on 8chan with the username “Canadian Nationalist Front” urged users to “join the Canadian Nationalist Front today,” giving what it claimed was Goudreau’s email. Since then, users on both 4chan and 8chan with screen names “Kevin Goudreau” or “Canadian Nationalists” have repeatedly promoted the organization and its “mission statement” as part of a “recruitment drive” and advertised the organization’s social media accounts.
Ku Klux Klan
Earlier in September, a poster claiming to be “a missisippi chapter klansman” did a question-and-answer session with 4chan users. In the thread, the poster said that KKK leaders should realize “that places like 4chan are ripe with people who could join.”
According to the ADL, Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) is “a small, international neo-Nazi organization that embraces the most extreme interpretations of white supremacist ideology,” including supporting “a race war.” One of FKD’s “apparent goals is to create a whites-only ethno-state where citizens are able to survive off the land.” Earlier this year, posters on 8chan encouraged users to “join Feuerkrieg Division” in multiple countries and shared an email address and apparent Gab accounts for the group. (Gab is a social media platform popular with white nationalists.) Users also encouraged others to join the group “if you really want to take [the Zionist Occupied Government] down” and to “prepare for the collapse.”
The white nationalist organization Northwest Front was founded by Harold Covington, “a long-time fringe figure in the neo-Nazi movement” who died in 2018, and it has sought to remove nonwhite people from the Pacific Northwest and establish an independent white ethnostate. The white supremacist who killed nine people at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 cited the Northwest Front in his manifesto.
Since at least 2018, posts have shown up on 4chan promoting the organization, posting contact information, and urging users to “get involved” and “join” a community “rooted in blood and soil.” Some users have responded to these posts, with one saying they were “doing my part” to help and another writing, “How many people do we need up to the [Pacific Northwest] before we can try to succeed?”