4chan and Canv.as founder Christopher Poole thrashed Google and Facebook for their reliance on real-world identities on their social networks, saying that it “degrades humanity” at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco today.
“We’re about to sacrifice something that’s valuable and special, and the complexity of identity is something that defines our humanity, and I would strive for us to keep this ideal and demand from services,” Poole said. “Facebook and Google do our identity wrong, Twitter does it better, I’d like to see what happens when we do identity right.”
Poole is no stranger to anonymity. He’s the mastermind behind 4chan, an online image message board that arguably produces a lot of the original content that appears on the web. Most users that post images and messages on that site post anonymously.
Canv.as, Poole’s latest creation that is an online image-sharing application, is a natural evolution of 4chan and also includes some rudimentary photo-editing features. It’s designed for remixing content and creating new content. Canv.as users connect with Facebook, but can post content anonymously.
Canv.as is small compared to Facebook, which has more than 700 million users, and Google+, which has more than 40 million users.
“We all have multiple identities, it’s part of being human, identity is prismatic,” he said. “Google and Facebook would see you as a mirror, but in fact we’re more like diamonds — you can look from any angle and see something totally different but it’s really the same thing.”