A congressional committee probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election could broaden its investigation to look at Reddit and 4Chan as potential tools of clandestine activity, according to a congressional aide.
The Hill reported Wednesday that Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wants to look at the loosely controlled internet message boards, which became a hub for the so-called alt-right during the election.
The controversial TheDonald subreddit, which launched the same day Trump confirmed his candidacy, will be of particular interest.
It has been described as a “safe-harbor” for racists, white-nationalists, and white supremacists to express their views and spread conspiracy theories, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism.
According to the Economist, “few corners of the internet are fouler.”
The notorious 4Chan message board, where anonymous users fear few restrictions, already has a link to Trump. While still a candidate, the businessman tweeted an image of Pepe the Frog, a meme that originated on the 4Chan site and has strong links to far-right groups, anti-Semites, and racists.
Users of 4Chan started a discussion Wednesday on the possibility of their actions becoming the focus of a Congressional investigation.
One poster noted that controversial comments were on the site long before the Trump campaign: “4chan was always like this you retards. Just look at the official logo of /pol/ from 6 years ago. It’s a swastika.”