Certain users of online forum 8chan may want to lawyer up, after a recently unsealed affidavit reveals that the FBI served the website with a search warrant in April for the IP addresses and metadata information on Chabad of Poway shooter John Earnst, along with "all of the individuals who responded to his posts on the forum.
lmaooooooo 8chan just got search warranted pic.twitter.com/Rhi6g2OWKo— shoshanot at cannes, pls stop asking 🛸 (@swodinsky) June 14, 2019
On April 27, 19-year-old John Earnest opened fire on the Chabad of Poway, located in a suburb of San Diego, killing one and injuring three others. Earlier in the day, an 8chan user believed to be Earnest posted "It's been real dudes. From the bottom of my heart thank you for everything. Keep up the infographic redpill threads," along with a link to a livestream of the attack broadcast over Facebook and an "open letter" manifesto.
Earnest's post and anyone who replied to it, "and/or commented about it" were swept up in the search warrant.
"Anyone had a decent read of his manifesto yet?" wrote one user. Another replied "It's very much written for /pol/" - referring to the "Politically Incorrect" forum where Earnest posted.
"Several people responded, both individuals who were taken aback about the posting as well as people who were sympathizers. As a result, some of the individuals may be potential witnesses, co-conspirators and/or individuals who were inspired by the subject posting."
"There is probable cause to believe that within 8chan, more fully described in Attachment A, will be found evidence of violations of federal law," reads the affidavit.
The search warrant for 8chan is going to sweep up a lot of people.— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) June 14, 2019
Feds are seeking "IP address and metadata for all commenters" on the shooter's thread, saying they may be "potential witnesses, co-conspirators, and/or individuals who are inspired by the subject posting." pic.twitter.com/BzqvOmeeEh
The affidavit also notes that Earnest was inspired by the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand which left 51 dead. Prior to the incident, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant uploaded a 74-page manifesto to 8chan replete with memes and dark humor used exclusively on the forum.
8chan currently only has one rule when posting: “Do not post, request, or link to any content that is illegal in the United States of America and do not create boards with the sole purpose of posting or spreading such content.” Any form of moderation is near nonexistent. -Daily Dot
Meanwhile, it appears that the thread was deleted quickly after it was created. 8chan's said via Twitter that the shooter's post was taken down "NINE minutes after creation," adding "There are only screencaps available and no archives exist since the post was deleted so quickly."
Here's what 8chan's Twitter account posted when the agents were working on getting this search warrant. pic.twitter.com/K2MC8iWkBS— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) June 14, 2019
Read the affidavit below: