Chris Poole, who founded the controversial online community 4chan before joining Google in 2016, left the search giant after jumping between various groups within the company, CNBC found.
Poole’s last official day at Google was April 13, according to an internal repository seen by CNBC, which described his last role as product manager. Employee shares linked to hiring are often acquired at the five-year mark, although it is unclear whether this is a reason for Poole’s departure now.
Poole did not respond to several requests for comment. Google confirmed that Poole is no longer employed there.
Poole, who goes by the nickname “Moot”, founded 4chan in 2003 at the age of 15. It has become one of the most influential and controversial online communities to date. Rolling Stone called him a boy genius and “Mark Zuckerberg of the online underground”.
4chan has become an Internet haven for almost unrestricted freedom of expression. But over time, it faced criticism for hosting hackers, obscene images, harassment and leaked information – often targeting women and minority groups – and became the target of several lawsuits, as well as FBI subpoenas for threats of violence posted on the site, according to reports. In 2015, Poole announced his retirement from 4chan and sold the site to Japanese internet entrepreneur Hiroyuki Nishimura for an undisclosed fee.
Poole revealed in 2016 that he joined Google as a continuation of his work and, in a post now removed, stated that he would use his “twelve-year experience building online communities” and “growing up in ways that just can’t be done by them.” He joined as a product manager for the photos and streams unit, which oversaw social networking efforts under Vice President Bradley Horowitz at the time, sparking speculation that the company hired him to help renew its social media ambitions. , some of which aim to compete with Facebook.
Poole jumped between several different roles during his five years. At one point, he allegedly became a partner with Google’s internal start-up incubator, Area 120, which was just starting in 2016. He then became a product manager in Google’s map division, according to Crunchbase .
Some employees and industry workers criticized the hiring, as Google had just publicly committed to diversity and viewed the executives’ enthusiasm for hiring Poole as deaf. The chief architect of Google+, Yonatan Zunger, wrote a post now removed defending Poole and promising that Google Plus would not “become a den of infamy”, adding that Poole “would do something really exciting”.
The company ended up shutting down the social network in 2018 after it gained little traction against Facebook and other social media sites.