Exposed: How Dark Forums Turned Search Queries into a Goldmine of Private and Intimate Data

Dear Fellow Survivor™
9 min readNov 20


"If the truth shall kill them, then let them die." ‐Immanuel Kant (a belief that these sites perpetuate, but only if they're not on the receiving end of it.)

Dear Fellow Survivor,

As a survivor who has experienced the dark underbelly of the internet firsthand, I understand the importance of shedding light on the covert methods employed by certain online communities. In this article, I will explain the controversial websites like Kiwi Farms, 4Chan, and 8Chan, exploring their notoriety, abhorrent activities, and how private information can be shared.

Kiwi Farms, 4Chan, 8Chan, and similar platforms have stirred controversy due to the freedom they afford their users. These websites operate as online forums and imageboards where users can create and reply to threads while maintaining anonymity. While they were originally intended for casual discussions, their unregulated nature proved attractive to individuals with ulterior motives.

1. Kiwi Farms:

Kiwi Farms is an online forum known for its controversial activities. Originally created to discuss internet culture, it has gained notoriety for its extensive harassment and targeting of individuals. The forum provides a platform for users to document and mock people's actions, often focusing on marginalized communities, public figures, or individuals experiencing mental health issues. Kiwi Farms has drawn criticism due to its relentless pursuit of private information and its encouragement of harmful behavior.

2. 4Chan:

4Chan is an anonymous imageboard website founded in 2003. It is divided into various boards, each dedicated to different topics such as anime, video games, politics, and more. Users on 4Chan typically do not register accounts, allowing for anonymity. While it started as a platform for online discussions, 4Chan has faced notoriety due to its association with offensive content, cyberbullying, and the promotion of fringe ideologies. It gained significant media attention for incidents like "Gamergate" and the release of private celebrity photos in 2014.

3. 8Chan (now rebranded as 8kun):

8Chan was created as an alternative to 4Chan, aiming to provide an even more unregulated platform for free speech. It gained attention due to its tolerance for extreme and illegal content. 8Chan gained infamy when it was linked to multiple mass shootings, as perpetrators had used the platform to share their manifestos before carrying out the attacks. The platform's lax moderation policies and encouragement of hate speech led to widespread condemnation and investigations by law enforcement agencies.

While Kiwi Farms, 4Chan, and 8Chan are separate platforms, they share certain similarities and connections. Kiwi Farms, in particular, acts as a hub for documenting and amplifying content from various sources, including threads and discussions found on 4Chan and 8Chan.

Individuals and incidents discussed on Kiwi Farms often have some connection to, or stem from, content originally posted on 4Chan or 8Chan. There is often an overlap in user bases, with individuals participating in multiple platforms concurrently.

These platforms share a common thread of controversy, featuring a combination of anonymous posting, minimal moderation, and a culture that thrives on pushing boundaries. Their notoriety stems from the harmful activities associated with these spaces, which include harassment, cyberbullying, the sharing of private information, and the promotion of extremist ideologies.

Multiple cases have come to light, exposing the abhorrent activities associated with these websites. One instance revolves around Kiwi Farms, which gained notoriety for targeting victims of online harassment. These platforms often act as meeting grounds for individuals seeking to amplify and perpetuate harm, feeding off vulnerable parties' pain and suffering.

An insidious method employed by some site admins involves utilizing the search bar. While it may seem innocuous, the search bar provides a gateway for accessing personal information shared within the community. By combing through past threads and conversations, sensitive details may fall into the wrong hands.

Here are ten specific case studies that have garnered notoriety related to Kiwi Farms, 4Chan, and 8Chan:

1. Gamergate (2014):
Originating on 4Chan, Gamergate sparked controversy when it targeted female game developers, critics, and female players, aiming to discredit them, ruin their lives, and push an agenda centered around misogyny. The movement involved harassment, doxxing (revealing private information), and threats against individuals such as game developer Zoe Quinn and critic Anita Sarkeesian. This was the movement that I was targeted by as well and the abuse has lasted long into 2023.

2. Isla Vista Massacre (2014):
Before carrying out a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California, the perpetrator posted a chilling manifesto and disturbing videos on 4Chan. This tragic incident shed light on the platform's role in amplifying and spreading dangerous ideologies associated with violence.

3. Christchurch Mosque Shootings (2019):
The perpetrator live-streamed the horrific shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Facebook. Prior to the attacks, he posted a link to his manifesto on 8Chan's /pol/ board. This incident exposed the platforms' role in facilitating the spread of extremist ideologies and inciting violence.

4. Swatting Incidents:
Swatting involves making false emergency calls to lead to a SWAT team response at a targeted individual's location. The practice has been facilitated on these platforms, with users sharing personal information to carry out swatting attacks as a form of harassment. Notable incidents include swatting attacks on popular Twitch streamers and public figures.

5. CelebGate/ The Fappening (2014):
Private and intimate photos of numerous celebrities were leaked and circulated online. The incident originated from 4Chan when a user shared the stolen images on a dedicated board. This breach of privacy exposed the platforms' lax approach to moderation and user anonymity.

6. The Charlottesville Rally (2017):
Coordinated on platforms like 4Chan and later disseminated on 8Chan, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, became a catalyst for neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. Participants organized and discussed their plans on these platforms, leading to violent clashes and the tragic death of Heather Heyer.

7. The New Zealand Mosques Attack Manifesto (2019):
The perpetrator behind the Christchurch mosque shootings shared a 74-page manifesto outlining his extremist ideologies and motivations. Prior to the attack, the manifesto was posted on 8Chan's /pol/ board, generating widespread condemnation and raising concerns about the role of online platforms in radicalization.

8. Cyberbullying and Harassment:
Kiwi Farms gained notoriety for its relentless targeting of individuals experiencing mental health issues, marginalized communities, and ex-members of cults. The forum encouraged and celebrated harassment campaigns, leading to severe emotional distress and harm to the victims.

9. Distribution of Non-consensual Pornography (Revenge Porn):
These platforms have been known as hubs for sharing explicit photos and videos without consent. Users freely distribute compromising material, contributing to the violation of privacy and often causing severe emotional and psychological harm to the victims involved. This also is what I personally went through.

10. Breach of Privacy and Doxxing:
Numerous incidents involved the intentional release of individuals' private information or doxxing on these platforms. Users shared personal details, including addresses, contact information, and social media profiles, enabling others to harass, stalk, or threaten the targeted individuals.

One alarming aspect lies in how private and intimate data can be shared within these online communities. Users typically share information willingly, either to vent frustrations or seek advice. However, malicious actors exploit these spaces to collect personal data. These platforms often save data sets to keep track of ongoing threads or user information, creating potential vulnerabilities.

Here is a list of private and intimate data that is commonly shared within online communities, including those known for controversial activities:

1. Personal Identifying Information (PII):
This includes details such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, or any other information that can be used to identify and locate their targets. Such sensitive data can be targeted and shared via search queries within these communities for malicious purposes.

2. Images and Videos:
Explicit images or videos shared without consent, commonly known as revenge porn, are unfortunately prevalent within certain communities. These platforms become mediums for individuals to distribute and exploit such content, like private links to view content, causing severe emotional distress to the victims.

3. Financial Information:
Financial details like bank account numbers, credit card information, or online payment account credentials can be targeted within these communities and passed around via search queries. This data may facilitate fraudulent activities, leading to monetary loss for the affected individuals.

4. Medical Information:
Confidential medical records, diagnoses, treatments, or any other intimate health-related information can be shared without consent, violating privacy and causing harm to individuals' wellbeing.

5. Social Media Profiles:
Personal social media accounts and profiles can be targeted to gather additional information about individuals. This data can potentially be misused for harassment, cyberbullying, or identity theft. Links to the accounts can be sent through search queries to promote the “proxy” abuse and “murder by proxy” I’ve mentioned in other articles.

6. Employment History and Personal Reputation:
Sensitive employment information, including company names, work history, performance evaluations, or personal reputation, can be wrongfully exposed or manipulated within these communities, leading to damage in professional and personal life if leaked to the admins through search queries.

7. Relationships and Sexual Orientation:
Private information related to relationships, names and details of their partners, romantic interests, or sexual orientation can be shared within these communities, potentially causing harm, discrimination, or further harassment to individuals involved.

8. Online Account Credentials:
Hackers or malicious actors may seek to obtain login credentials, email addresses, or passwords from users within these communities, leading to unauthorized access to personal accounts, identity theft, or further privacy breaches.

9. Geolocation and Tracking Information:
Sharing location details or tracking individuals' movements within these communities can compromise personal safety and security. Sharing a target’s location through search queries to the admins can potentially lead to physical stalking or harassment.

10. Personal Conversations and Correspondence:
Private conversations through messaging platforms, emails, or personal communications can be exposed, shared, or manipulated within these communities, causing emotional distress, reputational damage, or further harassment.

Here’s a list of ten ways that private data can be possibly transmitted from a user to the admins of forums using the search bar, both in a normal context and how it can be (and probably is) abused:

1. Usernames and Personal Information:
Searches containing personally identifiable information, such as usernames, email addresses, or real names, can unintentionally reveal private data to admins when searched within the platform.

2. Sensitive Topic Discussions:
Users searching for specific sensitive topics, like health conditions, personal struggles, or legal issues, might reveal private information related to their experiences unknowingly.

3. Location-based Searches:
Searches involving location, such as cities or addresses, can provide admins with insights into users' whereabouts or potential vulnerabilities to privacy breaches.

4. IP Address Tracing:
Certain search queries can expose IP addresses, which, when linked with other personal information, can potentially compromise user privacy.

5. Private Conversations and Messages:
The search bar within private messaging systems or threads can be used by admins to access users' private conversations, exposing sensitive and personal information shared within them.

6. Revealing Interests and Preferences:
Searches regarding specific interests, hobbies, or preferences can inadvertently expose personal information, potentially impacting users' privacy and online reputation.

7. Financial Transactions:
Searching for particular financial keywords or account details within platforms that facilitate transactions can potentially leak sensitive financial information to admins.

8. Full Text Search:
Utilizing the search bar for comprehensive full-text searches within posts, comments, or private messages might reveal personal data shared in conversations or threads to admins.

9. User Behavior Patterns:
The search bar can be used to analyze user behavior patterns, allowing admins to gain insights into individual preferences, habits, or potential vulnerabilities, which can be exploited as covert data.

10. Customized Search Queries:
Admins can modify the search function to specifically target certain keywords or phrases to gather private information about users, bypassing regular scrutiny while appearing as a standard search feature.

In a normal context, searches may be saved for various reasons, including improving user experience, analyzing trends, or personalization. However, if admins abuse this feature, they can utilize search logs as a covert method to access and collect private user data without explicit consent or awareness, infringing upon user privacy.

In addition to traditional methods of data collection, covert methods are becoming increasingly prevalent. Users may believe their communications are secure, but malicious actors have found ways to conceal data sharing within these platforms. This covert information exchange may occur through encrypted channels, hidden threads, or private messaging systems, eluding regular scrutiny.

The ramifications of such covert information sharing are immense, causing irreparable harm to individuals and their loved ones. It is crucial to demand greater responsibility from the platform admins, encouraging proactive measures to safeguard users' privacy. Stronger moderation policies, collaboration with law enforcement, and raising the general public’s awareness about these covert practices are essential steps to prevent further harm.

Survivors like us understand the need to expose the dark corners of the internet. Kiwi Farms, 4Chan, 8Chan, and similar platforms have controversial reputations due to their associated activities. Sharing private information covertly is just one alarming facet that highlights the urgent need for change.

Together, we can stand against these practices, demanding greater accountability to protect the privacy and well-being of all internet users.