Don't look now, but there's a new social network coming. No, it's not Google Circles, no matter what the ReadWriteWeb blog says. It's also coming from the people you'd least expect: 4chan.
Yes, that's right: The purveyors of the most insidious (and some of the most grotesque) memes on the InterWebs -- LOLcats, Rickrolling, and Justin Bieber's North Korean tour, to name but three of the less disgusting ones -- are working on a new online community called Canvas.
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More accurately, Christopher "Moot" Poole, the founder of the 4chan message board, has been quietly working on his site, canv.as, for some time now. He piped up about it at this week's SXSW conference, where the 24-year-old Poole took the stage and proceeded to lambast his elders -- specifically, 26-year-old Mark Zuckerberg -- about their failure to appreciate the benefits of online anonymity. Per the UK's Guardian:
"Zuckerberg's totally wrong on anonymity being total cowardice. Anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, raw way," Poole said, adding that the internet allows people to "reinvent themselves" as if they were moving home or starting a new job.
"The cost of failure is really high when you're contributing as yourself," he said.
Chris Poole became somewhat infamous when he was named the World's Most Influential Person in a 2009 online survey by Time magazine. Of course, that survey was hacked by his pals at 4chan, which is also widely believed to be the source of the Anonymous campaigns that have bedeviled everyone from the Church of Scientology to the government of Egypt. At least, the two groups appear to draw from the same pool (if not, ahem, Poole) of digital prankster-vigilantes.
Canvas is in closed beta at the moment, so it's impossible to gauge how much it is or isn't like the 4chan boards, though Business Insider offers a preview of the site. From the description, it sounds like a grown-up version (minus the grotesque bits) of the original, but allows users to take images others have posted and make then even sillier. The idea is to draw some or all of 4chan's 8 million monthly visitors without a) alienating potential advertisers, or b) getting arrested.