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| October 17, 2018

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Facebook purged over 800 accounts and pages pushing political messages for profit

October 14, 2018 |

Facebook said Thursday that it has purged more than 800 U.S publishers and accounts for flooding users with politically oriented content that violated the company’s spam policies, a move that could reignite accusations of political censorship.

The accounts and pages, with names like Reasonable…


L.A. Times – Business

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages, 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections

October 12, 2018 |

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages and 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections

Facebook’s Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, and Oscar Rodriguez, Product Manager, announced that “Today, we’re removing 559 pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” It is another decision to purge the world’s largest social media site of political speech, and it just might be a final catalyst for mass adoption of an on-chain, censorship-resistant platform, for example, within the Bitcoin Cash network.

Also read: Singapore Hosts New Fiat-Crypto Exchange, Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts

Facebook Purges Hundreds of Pages Under Broad Sweep

Nicholas Bernabe, the founder of popular alternative news organization The Anti-Media, posted how “Facebook has unpublished my page, The Anti-Media, after falsely accusing us of violating policies.” Based in Chula Vista, California, his news page was not anywhere near fraud or spam; it regularly published hard-hitting alternative news articles. Nevertheless, “2.1 million followers and 5 years of work gone,” Bernabe wrote.

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages and 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections

Facebook’s blog titled the entry of Oct. 11, 2018, “Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook,” leading readers to believe pages and accounts deleted were associated with a version of fraud or scam activity. Indeed, the company insisted, “People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. It’s why we have a policy banning coordinated inauthentic behavior — networks of accounts or pages working to mislead others about who they are, and what they are doing,” they claimed, adding that “the bulk of the inauthentic activity we see on Facebook is spam that’s typically motivated by money, not politics.”

Sterlin Lujan believes something more sinister is going on. “My long-standing and well-liked page, The Psychologic-Anarchist,” he alerted followers, “has just been unpublished by Fascistbook. I had 50,000+ followers on it. I also noticed that Danilo recently had his Facebook page, Peaceful Anarchism, unpublished for no reason,” he lamented.

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages and 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections

‘Facebook is Going After Anarchists and Freethinkers’

When asked why certain pages like his were being targeted, though they never asked for money and never used spam techniques to gain followers, Lujan wrote, “What’s happening is clear. We are victims of censorship. Facebook is going after anarchists and freethinkers. They are censoring people who have the gall to challenge the system and post news stories that contradict the lies spouted by mainstream sources.”

“Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action,” Gleicher and Rodriguez explained of Facebook’s actions. “Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of groups and pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages and 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections

Of the cursory examination done by news.Bitcoin.com, a significant number of the pages zapped from existence did not engage in any of the activities Facebook cited as the reason for the purge. In addition to the two already highlighted above, political pages such as Free Thought Project, V is for Voluntary, and Press For Truth were caught up in the web of deletion as well. “This definitely seems politically motivated considering most of the pages I’m familiar with that were unpublished leaned libertarian or anarchist,” Bernabe detailed. “With the midterm elections so close, this can be described as nothing other than Facebook trying to manipulate the outcome of the coming elections.”

Could This Trigger More On-Chain BCH Social Media Platform Adoption?

Luis Fernando Borges Mises is also convinced certain pages were taken down on purpose. “All of this is nothing more to me than a neo-Marxist cleanse, if you will,” Mises told news.Bitcoin.com by phone, “…all the liberal pages are still there, all the Republican pages are still there. The ones that are trying to question the status quo, like the voluntaryist pages, are being censored and deleted.”

As these pages explained only a few months ago, alternatives to sites like Facebook are being built on the Bitcoin Cash network. “On April 15 a new on-chain social network was launched for the Bitcoin Cash blockchain called Memo. The platform allows users to create a profile which is tied to a specific BCH address and a public/private key pair. Users can then tether certain data using the program such as a website URL, a quote, or a certain date which is hashed into the BCH chain using an OP_RETURN transaction.”

Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages and 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections
Social media platforms on Memo.Cash might be an answer to Facebook.

Still, more alternatives have popped up since, including a “blogging site called Matter [which] has been introduced to the BCH community, and the platform’s actions are all powered by the Bitcoin Cash network. Matter claims to have no access to the user’s key and explains keys are stored only in your browser. Now Matter does have its differences compared to the Blockpress application and Memo, as Matter users can publish arbitrarily long-form posts. Essentially due to the fact the miner’s fee using bitcoin cash is so minimal Matter users can store any document in the BCH chain in an immutable fashion,” news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

It’s early days to say any of the BCH platforms will ever compete with the billions of users already on Facebook. But there does appear to be renewed interest in making sure content providers are not caught unaware again. “The ‘moderators’ of Facebook have made this into a war of attrition,” Lujan wrote angrily, “meant to stifle the free flow of information. However, this attack against anarchists is not going to silence us. It is going to further invigorate freedom lovers. We are going to continue speaking out against the vile nature of the system. We are also going to continuously paint cowards like Zuckerberg into a corner. These people need to realize that trying shut people up is the first step taken toward total Orwellian fascism.”

Is the Facebook purge a use case for on-chain BCH platforms? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.


Disclaimer: Sterlin Lujan is an employee of Bitcoin.com

The post Facebook Purge Continues: 559 Pages, 251 Accounts Removed Ahead of US Elections appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Singapore Hosts New Fiat-Crypto Exchange, Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts

October 11, 2018 |

Singapore Cautiously Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts, Fiat-Crypto Exchange

It has been a busy week for Singapore as it relates to cryptocurrency. The city-state is set open the first fiat-crypto exchange in Southeast Asia, while the financial regulator has vowed to help crypto companies set up local bank accounts, according to media reports. 

Also read: Salt to Offer Crypto-Backed Loans in 7 Global Markets, 15 More US States

Strong Response to
Eurekapro’s Beta Launch

More than 8,000 people signed up for the open public beta launch of Eurekapro’s new fiat-crypto exchange, Finews.asia has reported. “A Singapore-based exchange will allow for easy fiat-to-crypto trading and aims to make digital currency more easily accessible to businesses and consumers,” the news site said.

Singapore Cautiously Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts, Fiat-Crypto Exchange

Eurekapro offers its own native token, EKT, and claims it provides the most extensive fiat-to-crypto support in Asia. With its new Singapore exchange, the company — which was previously known as Overswitch and based out of Sweden — will allow users to conduct transactions with a number of regional fiat currencies, including the Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah.

MAS Cautiously Embraces Crypto

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will start helping crypto firms to set up local bank accounts, Bloomberg has reported, citing MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon. Although Asia is home to a growing middle class that is keen to experiment with cryptocurrencies, Singapore is looking to contrast its embrace of crypto against that of other countries across the continent. For example, MAS does not plan to require licenses for crypto exchanges, as the Japanese authorities do.

Singapore Cautiously Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts, Fiat-Crypto Exchange
MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon

Japan has emerged as the gold standard for crypto in Asia, and really around the world, as it has largely taken a live-and-let-live approach. But in Singapore, MAS plans to place different crypto businesses into categories. “Utility tokens,” the first of these categories, refers to the use of blockchain technology to facilitate payments for things such as computing services. Menon said that barely any regulation will be required for such activities.

The second distinction that MAS will draw for the crypto industry relates to digital tokens that resemble securities. Such cryptocurrencies will fall under the oversight of Singapore’s Securities and Futures Act. In reality, Menon acknowledged that there have not been many local initial coin offerings that could be classified under this category thus far. But those that do will be subject to the relevant legislation. MAS has even said that it will not consider many such examples to be viable business models. “Most of them are careful to steer clear of that line,” Menon said.

Lack of Regulatory Clarity

While the Singapore authorities have overtly tried to encourage the growth of financial technology businesses, crypto companies have found that a lack of regulatory clarity has thus far held back their expansion. Part of the problem is that crypto firms have struggled to get local bank accounts; in some cases, the banks have ended up closing accounts that such companies have managed to open.

Singapore Cautiously Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts, Fiat-Crypto Exchange

Yet Menon acknowledged that the crypto business is different from the fintech space in many ways, noting that the reluctance of local banks to get involved is understandable, due to the arguably “opaque” practices of some crypto companies. He said that the regulator’s primary concern involves discouraging money laundering and protecting the interests of consumers. But he also noted that there are ultimately limits to the regulatory reach of the MAS.

Do you believe Singapore will eventually accommodate crypto businesses to the same degree as Japan? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Eureakapro


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Singapore Hosts New Fiat-Crypto Exchange, Welcomes Crypto Bank Accounts appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Kanye West deletes Twitter, Instagram accounts — again

October 7, 2018 |

Kanye West is once again off of social media.
FOX News

TMZ

Kanye West Deletes His Instagram and Twitter Accounts

October 6, 2018 |

Kanye West has done it before and now he’s done it again … he’s deleted his Twitter and Instagram. Ye went dark around 1:45 PM PT Saturday without warning or any announcement as to why. However, his social media disappearance comes after a…

TMZ.com

Facebook Finds Security Flaw Affecting Almost 50 Million Accounts

September 29, 2018 |

Facebook discovered a security flaw affecting almost 50 million accounts, the company said Friday. A problem in its code allowed outsiders to take over users’ accounts.
WSJ.com: US Business

Facebook says 50 million user accounts have been affected by a security breach

September 28, 2018 |

Nearly 50 million Facebook accounts have been affected by a security breach that enabled hackers to take over users’ accounts, the social media giant announced Friday.

The new breach comes as Facebook strives to convince its more than 2 billion users that it can be trusted. It is grappling with…


L.A. Times – Business

Gemini Dollar Code Review Reveals the Stablecoin’s Accounts Can Be Frozen

September 16, 2018 |

Gemini Dollar Code Review Reveals the Stablecoin's Accounts Can Be Frozen

This week a blockchain researcher named Alex Lebed published a code review on the new stablecoin, the gemini dollar, created by the Gemini Trust cryptocurrency firm. According to Lebed’s study, gemini dollar accounts can be frozen by the exchange, and the tokens can be turned into non-transferable assets.

Also read: Markets Update: Short Term Recovery – Is a Bullish Reversal in Sight?

The Custodian Has the Ability to Freeze Gemini Dollar Accounts

Gemini Dollar Code Review Reveals the Stablecoin's Accounts Can Be FrozenThe latest tether (USDT) competitor, the gemini dollar (USDG) created by the cryptocurrency exchange owners the Gemini Trust, has had a code review this week. A post written by Alex Lebed details that exchange’s new stablecoin creation has some interesting centralized features. It’s also interesting to note that Lebed is not only a blockchain researcher but also the founder of ‘Stableunit,’ another stablecoin that claims to be decentralized and offer low volatility. According to Lebed’s report, he reviewed the gemini dollar’s codebase that was created with an ethereum-based smart contract.

“Gemini USDG is a new centralized stablecoin (similar to tether) implemented as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain,” explains Lebed’s study.

The current implementation gives Gemini the ability to freeze any account or make all tokens non-transferrable. The custodian is able to completely change the implementation of the token every 48 hours.

After detailing with references on how anyone can verify his work on their own, Lebed reviews the code and replicates the results. Lebed claims the custodian of the gemini dollar smart contract can generate an “infinite amount of tokens.” Moreover, Lebed emphasizes that the custodian can easily make all the tokens non-transferable.

“This project has another single point of failure: the company — They can just say one day: ‘you know what, sorry, we don’t want to change your tokens for dollars anymore,’” Lebed states.

You think this is impossible because it’s a big company with a reputation? History has a precedent when the whole country with the largest economy in the world did this in 1971. And here we speak about just a private company which has to follow all the regulations of the US government.     

‘Then It’s Not a Cryptocurrency’

Gemini Dollar Code Review Reveals the Stablecoin's Accounts Can Be FrozenSince the rise of tether, and the slew of other stablecoins released over the past few months, many other cryptocurrency firms are in the midst of creating their own stablecoin. For instance, there are at least 6-7 more stablecoin projects on the way like the Boston-based US cryptocurrency unicorn, Circle Invest, is in the midst of making a stablecoin. And then, of course, Lebed seems to be making his own decentralized version of a stable digital asset. In an update after the editorial review published, the author notes that Gemini Trust is not hiding the fact that his claims are possible in the official white paper.  

“Nowadays this is considered a best practice for evolving smart-contracts, especially for the asset-backed token — And Gemini made an excellent job by explicitly mentioning that in their whitepaper,” Lebed concludes.

Of course on social media and Reddit forums, cryptocurrency proponents were quick to note that controversial Tether Limited, the company that issues tethers via the Omni Layer, also has the ability to freeze accounts. One Reddit user explains what he thinks of the gemini dollar custodian’s freezing ability saying, “then it’s not a cryptocurrency, just a database.”

What do you think about the stablecoin phenomenon? Let us know in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Fandom, and the Gemini dollar logo. 


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Gemini Dollar Code Review Reveals the Stablecoin’s Accounts Can Be Frozen appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Bank of America reportedly froze some accounts after asking customers about their citizenship

September 1, 2018 |

In order to get a bank account in the U.S., customers need to provide their name, date of birth, address and an identification number, which may or may not indicate a person’s citizenship, federal regulators say.

But recent reports show that banks are also explicitly asking for an individual’s…


L.A. Times – Business

Banks Freeze Company’s Accounts After Owner Traded on Localbitcoins

August 26, 2018 |

Banks Freeze Business' Accounts After Owner Traded on Localbitcoins

The owner of cryptocurrency mining electric bicycle retailer, 50cycles, recently had his company’s accounts with HSBC and Barclays frozen within hours of transacting on peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platform, Locabitcoins.

Also Read: P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in India

HSBC and Barclays Freeze Accounts of 50cycles

Scott Snaith, the owner of cryptocurrency mining electric bicycle retailer, 50cycles, has sought to deter businesses from partnering with U.K. high street banks after his company was thrown into “chaos” following the freezing of his business’s accounts.

Mr. Snaith’s accounts were frozen by HSBC and Barclays just hours after he conducted five-figure BTC transactions via peer-to-peer trading platform Localbitcoins, in which he sold BTC for fiat currency that was deposited into his personal bank accounts, and not his company’s accounts. Mr. Snaith asserts that the transactions were “entirely transparent and above board,” adding that his trading partners were U.K. account holders with verified identification. Mr. Snaith stated that no explanation was offered for the account closures, describing himself as being the victim of “financial discrimination.”

“My two personal bank accounts and business account were frozen for using a well-known bitcoin trading site. No unlawful activity has taken place but just because the word ‘Bitcoin’ was mentioned my accounts were locked instantly. A ‘senior fraud advisor’ then closed my complaint off – leaving me with no choice but to take the issue to the Financial Ombudsman for appeal. This situation is a complete nightmare and the knock-on effects have been unbelievable. One of my staff left as they had just had a baby and couldn’t afford to be in a job that was unable to pay them, which isn’t surprising,” Mr. Snaith said.

HSBC Reinstates Account, Barclays Refuses

Banks Freeze Business' Accounts After Owner Traded on LocalbitcoinsWhilst HSBC have reinstated Mr. Snaith’s account, Barclays maintained the freeze. Mr. Snaith stated: “I’ll never be able to bank with Barclays again. I’m a professional business owner taking advantage of new financial technologies and it looks like the banks are failing to keep up with their customers’ habits. We are the ones being punished. The banks are deliberately creating obstacles. They are anti-digital currency and displaying a new form of financial discrimination.”

“To me, this is a clear case of the high street banks abusing their power. It is not a criminal matter but a personal, corporate decision that someone has made. In my mind, that’s wholly wrong, and I am sure there are many other victims that are even less fortunate than myself,” he added.

What is your reaction to the freezing of 50cycles’ accounts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Banks Freeze Company’s Accounts After Owner Traded on Localbitcoins appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News