A quantitative analysis found that /pol/ is an important influencer of news content on Twitter, with the board contributing 3% of mainstream news links and 1.96% of alternative news links on Twitter (as a fraction of all links co-appearing on Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan). The researchers concluded that "'fringe' communities often succeed in spreading alternative news to mainstream social networks."
/pol/ was created in October 2011 as a rebranding of 4chan's news board, /new/,[failed verification] which was deleted that January because of a high volume of racist discussion. According to Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, /pol/ was created by 4chan's founder '… to siphon off and contain the overtly xenophobic and racist comments and memes from other parts of 4chan."
/pol/ has been characterized as predominantly racist and sexist, with many of its posts taking explicitly alt-right and neo-Nazi points of view. The Southern Poverty Law Center regards /pol/'s rhetorical style as widely emulated by white supremacist websites such as The Daily Stormer; the Stormer's editor, Andrew Anglin, concurred.
Many /pol/ users favored Donald Trump during his 2016 United States presidential campaign. Upon his election, a /pol/ moderator embedded a pro-Trump video at the top of all of the board's pages.
Much of the content on /pol/ relies heavily on memes to further spread ideas. One of the most popular memes found on the board is that of Pepe the Frog, which has been deemed as a white supremacist symbol by some media outlets due to it being shown in uniforms, places, and people associated with Nazism, the Ku Klux Klan, and antisemitism. Many have questioned the sincerity of users on /pol/ as possible trolls.
After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, a Google search for a "registered democrat" showed a /pol/ thread in the top stories section falsely identifying him as the shooter. A spokesperson for Google said that the thread appeared because search queries and news about the man were rare allowing for the thread to the appear in the top stories section of the man's name but the thread did not appear in broader searches about the Las Vegas shooting.
A popular meme that originated on /pol/ claims comedian Sam Hyde is the perpetrator of a mass shooting event or terrorist attack, in hopes of trolling a mainstream news outlet to report Hyde as the attacker. The first instance of this hoax was the Umpqua Community College shooting. According to BBC News, CNN mistakenly included Hyde's image on their coverage of the shooting.
- Pepe the Frog
- Pizzagate conspiracy theory
- Gamergate controversy
- Moon Man
- It's OK to be white
- /r/The Donald
-  (WebCite archive)
- Zannettou, Savvas; Caulfield, Tristan; De Cristofaro, Emiliano; Kourtelris, Nicolas; Leontiadis, Ilias; Sirivianos, Michael; Stringhini, Gianluca; Blackburn, Jeremy (2017). "The web centipede: understanding how web communities influence each other through the lens of mainstream and alternative news sources". Proceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference. ACM. pp. 405–417. ISBN 1-4503-5118-2.
- moot !Ep8pui8Vw2, October 23, 2011, Welcome back, robots, 4chan /r9k/. (WebCite archive)
- January 19, 2011, Why were /r9k/ and /new/ removed? – Statement by him regarding the removal of /r9k/ and /new/. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011.
- Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine (2018-10-02). We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0-316-43536-9.
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This paper presented the ﬁrst large-scale study of /pol/, 4chan's politically incorrect board, arguably the most controversial one owing to its links to the alt-right movement and its unconventional support to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
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