PNP to probe website linked to U.S. mass shootings
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has begun probing 8chan, the website whose owner is said to be based in the Philippines, after it was linked to the two recent mass shootings in the United States.
"I asked the ACG (Anti-Crybercrime Group) to verify it, and to monitor yung website na yun (and to monitor that website)," PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde said in a Camp Crame press briefing on Tuesday, August 6.
This comes after two mass shootings in the US that left at least 22 dead at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and another 9 outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
"Depende kung anong makikita natin. Of course, kung sino ang mga connections, kung ano ang ma-dig natin doon, ang makita natin, lalo na kung local 'yan, dito sa atin, we have to conduct verification and intelligence buildup," Albayalde said.
(It depends what we will see. Of course, who are the connections, what we're able to dig, what we see there. We have to conduct verification and intelligence buildup.)
What is 8chan? It is a message board site, where users can start and moderate boards with zero to little intervention from the site administrator.
The website has been a haven for far-right speech, and recently was used as a platform of the El Paso shooter to post a "manifesto" which incited hate and violence.
At least 3 2019 mass shootings, including the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the synagogue shooting in Poway, California, have been announced in advance on the site, according to the New York Times.
The website has been shut down as of press time after its hardware provider discontinued its service.
Why the PNP's intervention? The owner of the site lives in the Philippines.
Albayalde said that as the "verification" has only begun, it is still unclear what possible violations the PNP is looking for in the site. The Philippines currently has Presidential Decree No. 966, which criminalizes inciting violence.
"Imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than one year, if the offender is guilty of inciting to acts of violence against any race or group of persons of another color or ethnic origin or is an officer or organizer of an organization engaged in propaganda activities, which promote or incite racial discrimination," the proclamation says. – Rappler.com