|Born||c. 1988 (age 32–33)|
|Education||Virginia Commonwealth University (No Degree)|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Google employee|
|Known for||Founder and former administrator of 4chan|
Christopher Poole (born c. 1988), known online as moot, is an American Internet entrepreneur. He founded the anonymous English-language imageboard 4chan in October 2003, and served as the site's head administrator for more than 11 years before stepping down in January 2015. He worked at Google from 2016 to 2021.
In April 2009, Poole was voted the world's most influential person of 2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time. The results were questioned even before the poll completed, however, as automated voting programs and manual ballot stuffing were used to influence the vote. 4chan's interference with the vote seemed increasingly likely, when it was found that reading the first letter of the first 21 candidates in the poll spelled out a phrase containing two 4chan memes: "mARBLECAKE. ALSO, THE GAME."
On September 12, 2009, Poole gave a talk on why 4chan has a reputation as a "Meme Factory" at the Paraflows Symposium in Vienna, Austria, which was part of the Paraflows 09 festival, themed Urban Hacking. In this talk, Poole mainly attributed this to the anonymous system, and to the lack of data retention on the site ("The site has no memory"). His talk was published in the academic reader Mind and Matter: Comparative Approaches towards Complexity (edited by Günther Friesinger, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Thomas Ballhausen).
On February 10, 2010, Poole spoke at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California. He spoke about the increasing prevalence of persistent user identities and the sharing of personal information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter and he also spoke about the value of anonymous posting on sites such as 4chan. Fred Leal of the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo said his inclusion in the conference "indicates that something extraordinary is happening... [4chan] challenges every Internet convention: it is, alone, the antithesis of Google, social networking sites, and blogs."
In a 2010 interview, Poole discussed his belief in the value of multiple identities, including anonymity, in contrast to the merger of online and real-world identities occurring on Facebook and many other social networking sites.
In 2010, Poole was reported to have raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas. The web site opened on January 31, 2011, and featured digitally modified images uploaded by users who are required to self-identify using Facebook Connect. The enterprise ran until January 2014 when Poole announced that Canvas, and its DrawQuest feature, would be going out of business.
In January 2015, Poole announced that he would be stepping down as the 4chan administrator. On January 23, he hosted a final Q&A with site users using the /qa/ board and YouTube to livestream. This marked the beginning of his "retirement" from being an administrator and owner of the web site after eleven and a half years. He began a process of turning control of the site over to three anonymous 4chan moderators while searching for a buyer for the website. On September 21, 2015, it was announced that Hiroyuki Nishimura, founder of the Japanese BBS 2channel, would take over as the site's owner.
On March 7, 2016, Poole announced that he had been hired by Google, with The Guardian writer Julia Carrie Wong noting speculation from some that he would assist with the social network Google+. He was reportedly hired to help the social media platform compete with Facebook, though this decision was criticized by some after Google's commitments towards increasing diversity and inclusion in their workforce. In 2018, he started working as a product manager in the Google Maps division. He left Google on April 13, 2021, after five years at the company.
In April 2010, Poole gave evidence in the Sarah Palin email hacking trial, United States of America v. David Kernell, as a government witness. As a witness, Poole explained the terminology used on 4chan to the prosecutor, ranging from "OP" to "lurker." He also explained to the court the nature of the data given to the FBI as part of the search warrant, including how users may be identified uniquely from site audit logs.
Previously known only as moot, Poole's name was revealed on July 9, 2008, in The Wall Street Journal. The same day, Lev Grossman of Time published an interview describing the influence of Poole as a non-visible administrator, as "one of the most [significant]" on the evolution of content collaboration. Although Grossman's article began with the confession that "I don't even know his real name," he claimed to identify moot as Christopher Poole. Later, on July 10, Grossman admitted that there was an outside chance that Christopher Poole was not the real name of moot, rather an obscure reference to a 4chan inside joke. The Washington Post concurred that "Christopher Poole" could be "a big hoax, a 'gotcha.' It would be just what you'd expect from the creator of 4chan." In March 2009, Time backpedaled somewhat on the identity issue by placing the moot persona on the 2009 Time 100 finalists list. Prior to The Wall Street Journal and Time interviews, moot deliberately kept his real identity separate from 4chan. He told Grossman, "my personal private life is very separate from my Internet life ... There's a firewall in between." As moot, he has spoken at conferences at Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A 2008 article in the London Observer described him as "the most influential web entrepreneur you've never heard of," although he has been described since that time in more limited terms such as a "benefactor."
In February 2009, The Washington Post reported that Poole had attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a few semesters before dropping out. It reported that Poole was living with his mother while looking for a way to make money from owning 4chan.
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