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Christopher Poole

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Christopher Poole
Christopher Poole at XOXO Festival September 2012.jpg
Poole in 2012
Bornc. 1988 (age 32–33)
Other namesmoot
EducationVirginia Commonwealth University (No Degree)
OccupationEntrepreneur, Google employee
Known forFounder and former administrator of 4chan

Christopher Poole (born c. 1988),[1] 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.[2] He worked at Google from 2016 to 2021.[3]



In April 2009, Poole was voted the world's most influential person of 2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time.[4] The results were questioned even before the poll completed, however, as automated voting programs and manual ballot stuffing were used to influence the vote.[5][6][7] 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."[8]

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").[9][10] His talk was published in the academic reader Mind and Matter: Comparative Approaches towards Complexity (edited by Günther Friesinger, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Thomas Ballhausen).[11]

Poole at ROFLCon II in May 2010

On February 10, 2010, Poole spoke at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California.[12][13] 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.[14] 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."[15]

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.[16]


In 2010, Poole was reported to have raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas.[17][16] 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.[18] The enterprise ran until January 2014 when Poole announced that Canvas, and its DrawQuest feature, would be going out of business.[19][20][21]


In January 2015, Poole announced that he would be stepping down as the 4chan administrator.[22] 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.[23][24] He began a process of turning control of the site over to three anonymous 4chan moderators while searching for a buyer for the website.[25] On September 21, 2015, it was announced that Hiroyuki Nishimura, founder of the Japanese BBS 2channel, would take over as the site's owner.[26]

On March 7, 2016, Poole announced that he had been hired by Google,[27] with The Guardian writer Julia Carrie Wong noting speculation from some that he would assist with the social network Google+.[28] He was reportedly hired to help the social media platform compete with Facebook,[29] though this decision was criticized by some after Google's commitments towards increasing diversity and inclusion in their workforce.[30] In 2018, he started working as a product manager in the Google Maps division.[31] He left Google on April 13, 2021, after five years at the company.[29]

Legal matters

In April 2010, Poole gave evidence in the Sarah Palin email hacking trial, United States of America v. David Kernell, as a government witness.[32] 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.[33]

In November 2012, Poole sent a cease and desist letter to Moot.It, an internet startup.[34]


Previously known only as moot, Poole's name was revealed on July 9, 2008, in The Wall Street Journal.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37] 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."[38] In March 2009, Time backpedaled somewhat on the identity issue by placing the moot persona on the 2009 Time 100 finalists list.[39] 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."[36] As moot, he has spoken at conferences at Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[36] 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."[40][41]

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.[38]


  1. ^ Chris Poole part 1/3- ROFLCON 2012 – Solo Panel, Christopher Poole - "I'm 24 years old" YouTube site, May 10, 2012
  2. ^ Robertson, Adi (January 21, 2015). "4chan founder Moot is leaving the site". The Verge.
  3. ^ Amadeo, Ron (April 23, 2021). "4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google". Ars Technica.
  4. ^ "The World's Most Influential Person Is..." Time. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Heater, Brian (April 27, 2009). "4Chan Followers Hack Time's 'Influential' Poll". PC Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  6. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (April 21, 2009). "4Chan Takes Over The Time 100". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  7. ^ "moot wins, Time Inc. loses " Music Machinery". April 27, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
  8. ^ Reddit Top Links. "Marble Cake Also the Game [PIC]". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Paraflows 09". September 12, 2009. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  10. ^ Herwig, Jana. Partial transcript: Moot on 4chan and why it works as a meme factory, Digiom blog, April 6, 2010. accessed 2010-04-07
  11. ^ "Mind and Matter: Comparative Approaches towards Complexity". Transcript. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "TED2010 program of speakers". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  13. ^ Fisher, Ken. 4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010, Ars Technica, February 11, 2010. accessed 2010-02-12
  14. ^ "4chan founder: Anonymous speech is 'endangered'". SciTechBlog. Blogs. February 12, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
  15. ^ Leal, Fred (April 19, 2010). "Feio, sujo e surreal". O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). p. L1. Archived from the original on September 9, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Dibbell, Julian (September 10, 2010). "Radical Opacity". Technology Review.
  17. ^ Cha, Ariana Eunjung (August 10, 2010). "4chan users seize Internet's power for mass disruptions". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  18. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 31, 2011). "From the Creator of 4chan Comes the More Mature Canvas". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  19. ^ "A very important note from Team Canvas". Canvas Blog. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  20. ^ D'Onfro, Jillian (January 21, 2014). "A Classy Way to Admit Your Startup is Dead". Business Insider. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  21. ^ Welch, Chris (January 21, 2014). "4chan founder Chris Poole is shutting down Canvas and DrawQuest for iOS". The Verge. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  22. ^ "4chan founder to retire from site he started at age 15". The Associated Press. January 22, 2015. Archived from the original on September 29, 2021.
  23. ^ "moot's final 4chan Q&A by 4chan – 1/23/15 @ 2:00PM EST". 4chan. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  24. ^ Woolf, Nicky (January 23, 2015). "4chan founder 'Moot' bids farewell: 'This is it for me. This is goodbye'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015.
  25. ^ Kushner, David (March 13, 2015). "4chan's Overlord Christopher Poole Reveals Why He Walked Away". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  26. ^ Issac, Mike (September 21, 2015). "4chan Message Board Sold to Founder of 2Channel, a Japanese Web Culture Pioneer". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  27. ^ Poole, Christopher. "My next chapter". Chris Hates Writing. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  28. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (March 8, 2016). "Google hires founder of 4chan, the 'Zuckerberg of online underground'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 29, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Elias, Jennifer (April 22, 2021). "4chan founder Chris Poole has left Google". CNBC. Archived from the original on June 8, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  30. ^ Kane, Shanley (March 8, 2016). "Google Hires 4Chan Founder, Sends Huge "Fuck You" to Marginalized Users". Model View Culture. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016.
  31. ^ Cooban, Anna (April 23, 2021). "4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google after 5 years and several job changes". Business Insider. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021.
  32. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (August 11, 2010). "Sarah Palin hacker trial provides 'lolz' courtesy of 4chan founder". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  33. ^ "Christopher "Moot" Poole Testimony in Palin Email Trial | Internet Forum". Scribd. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  34. ^ Roy, Jessica (November 19, 2012). "4Chan Founder Moot Sends Cease & Desist Letter to Startup Moot.It". Betabeat. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012.
  35. ^ Brophy-Warren, Jamin (July 9, 2008). "Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  36. ^ a b c Grossman, Lev (July 9, 2008). "The Master of Memes". Time. 172 (3). United States. pp. 50–51. Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  37. ^ Grossman, Lev (July 10, 2008). "Now in Paper-Vision: The 4chan Guy". Time. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  38. ^ a b Hesse, Monica (February 17, 2009). "A Virtual Unknown; Meet 'Moot,' the Secretive Internet Celeb Who Still Lives With Mom". The Washington Post. pp. 23–24. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  39. ^ "moot – The 2009 TIME 100 Finalists". Time. March 19, 2009. Archived from the original on March 22, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
  40. ^ Smith, David (July 20, 2008). "The 20-year-old at heart of web's most anarchic and influential site". London: Observer. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
  41. ^ Cohen, Stefanie (February 22, 2009). "Grosses and 'Nets". New York Post. p. 25. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2009.

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