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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.
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Nicholas Bernabe, the founder of popular alternative news organization The Anti-Media, posted how “Facebook has unpublished my page, The Anti-Media, after falsely accusing us of violating policies.”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’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 “My long-standing and well-liked page, The Psychologic-Anarchist,” he alerted followers, “has just been unpublished by Fascistbook.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 I also noticed that Danilo recently had his Facebook page, Peaceful Anarchism, unpublished for no reason,” he lamented.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 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.”
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.”
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.
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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.
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About four days ago news.Bitcoin.com reported on a dispute concerning the removal of the owner of Bitcoin.org, an anonymous figure known as ‘Cobra.’ At the time a Github contributor opened an issue on the website’s repository, saying that Cobra had become untrustworthy for showing support towards the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Then the CEO of Blockstream and a large swarm of Bitcoin Core supporters insisted the domain should be handed over to someone else. Since then the maintainers of the BTC repository also removed all of the associated links to Bitcoin.org from the Core client’s website.
The CEO of Blockstream Thinks Cobra Should Transfer Control to a Trusted Person or Group
Many Bitcoin Core (BTC) proponents have been upset at the owner of Bitcoin.org for showing some support towards the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) protocol. Four days ago a Github contributor opened an issue that stated a number of individuals feared Cobra because he started “suddenly propagandizing BCH as ‘The Real Bitcoin.’” The individual further noted that he didn’t feel comfortable that a pseudonymous person has “total control of the Bitcoin.org domain name.”
Then in a different chat channel the CEO of Blockstream, Adam Back, asked Cobra to relinquish control over the domain “to a trusted person or group to hold in trust for the public interest.” Back also lambastes Cobra for caring about “Bcash” and at the very least Cobra should call BCH — “Bcash.” Cobra then responds and states “I’m waiting for names Adam.” Back then replies back “Cobra maybe Wladimir? — How about in terms of a name you transferred domain control to Theymos — You obviously know, and trust him quite well for many years from several sites and domains you’ve both maintained.”
Cobra didn’t seem to like Back’s commentary, stating:
Adam, you should not be the CEO of Blockstream. I think you should transfer control of Blockstream to Warren Togami or something… Adam, this notion of “community property” only exists in your head because you want to influence who owns Bitcoin.org so they submit to your agenda.
Bitcoin.org Links Decoupled from Bitcoincore.org
Following the argument between Back and Cobra, this past Sunday a Github commit to the Bitcoin Core website went viral on cryptocurrency forums and social media. The commit called ‘Adjust bitcoincore.org links’ was merged by the most prominent (as far as writing Core code) Bitcoin Core developer, Wladimir van der Laan. Essentially Wladimir removed associated links to Bitcoin.org from the Bitcoincore.org website. Immediately a Github contributor named Daniel Ginovker spoke out against the move to delete the links.
“Seriously? You guys are that upset at Cobra for not denouncing Bitcoin Cash?” Ginovker asks the Core developers.
Cobra, if you read this, I genuinely am on your side at this point. You’ve done an excellent job with Bitcoin.org, and it is in your domain. Don’t succumb to this Blockstream bullying forcing you to give up your playing cards.
However, other Core contributors were pleased with the decision to remove Bitcoin.org associations, and Jonas Schnelli explains the decision had nothing to do with Cobra.
“This has nothing to do with Cobra or any other influencer — The reason why we still linked to Bitcoin.org was historical since the domain was once owned by Satoshi,” explains Bitcoin Core developer Jonas Schnelli. “It’s a natural and logical step to decouple the Bitcoin Core project from any centralised organised website — Bitcoin Core is the/a reference implementation of the Bitcoin Protocol and there is no need to link it with any website outside of the projects control.”
Cobra: ‘Bitcoin is Much Bigger Than Bitcoin Core’
Following the merge, Cobra writes to his followers on Twitter saying, “Bitcoin is much bigger than Bitcoin Core.”
Bitcoin Core (BTC) proponents don’t know what to think of Cobra, and it’s safe to say a great majority of BTC supporters don’t trust him. It’s also clear and evident that the angst towards Cobra is because he’s not towing party lines and because he doesn’t use the phrase ‘Bcash.’ For now, the Github request, the Blockstream CEO, and the slew of Core followers have not phased Cobra, and it doesn’t seem like he will be relinquishing the domain any time soon.
What do you think about the controversy towards Cobra and the how Core supporters want him to relinquish the Bitcoin.org domain? What do you think about Core developers removing Bitcoin.org links from the website? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Github, Bitcoin.org, and Reddit.
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He says his right of religious freedom has been abridged.