CNBC reports that 4chan founder Chris Poole no longer works at Google. Google hired Poole in 2016 to work on the company’s doomed social media project, Google+. Poole only lasted five years at Google, which CNBC says is usually just long enough for employees’ shares tied to hiring to vest. It sounds like Poole never found a permanent place at Google, as he held three different positions over his five years.
Poole’s 4chan is an anonymous, ephemeral imageboard that is often referred to as the ‘cesspool of the Internet’. The site is divided into boards with different topics, and some of the more lawless boards are home to all of the internet’s worst characters, such as school shooters, child pornography, and racists. It’s also the birthplace of a lot of internet culture, such as Rickrolling, lolcats and, more recently, Pepe the Frog memes and alt-right. The site gave rise to the Internet hacktivist group Anonymous and is often used as a dumping ground for various hacks, such as the Nintendo Gigaleak. Poole sold 4chan in 2015, a year before joining Google.
When Poole was hired, Google’s fear of Facebook spawned an unhinged obsession with social media, but no one at Google really understood how social media worked. Poole’s hiring at the company was controversial, but senior Google+ executives defended the move. 4chan is a social site with millions of monthly visitors, which made Poole one of the company’s few veteran social experts when he arrived.
Google+ launched in 2011 and shut down two years after Poole’s arrival, so the hiring doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact. After Google+, Poole apparently joined Google’s experimental “Area 120” group, eventually becoming a product manager for Google Maps.