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4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community

4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community

This video was recorded at 5th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), Barcelona 2011. We present two studies of online ephemerality and anonymity based on the popular discussion board /b/ at 4chan.org: a website with over 7 million users that plays an influential role in Internet culture. Although researchers and practitioners often assume that user identity and data permanence are central tools in the design of online communities, we explore how /b/ succeeds despite being almost entirely anonymous and extremely ephemeral. We begin by describing /b/ and performing a content analysis that suggests the community is dominated by playful exchanges of images and links. Our first study uses a large dataset of more than five million posts to quantify ephemerality in... Show More
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