A lot of controversies has been stirred among social media enthusiasts regarding the censorship on social networks. This is believed to be the case of Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and several others, not until Steemit, a social network based on Blockchain also censored a user. This is a platform that claims to be immutable and as such, prevents the editing or deleting of user messages.
Group Threatens to Release Information About 9/11
Before the proceedings began, a hacker group began making a publication on social networks blackmailing companies for Bitcoin. The group had stated that they would release information about 9/11, a major world trade bombing that occurred years ago. They also threatened these companies to release their private data to the general public.
The only name that could be associated with the group is a user, Thedarkoverlord. First, the user released an image of part of the document on Pastebin, but the message was deleted. The user was also banned on Reddit and Twitter. Finally, Darkoverlard resorted to Steemit in hopes that the decentralized platform will be uninfluenced by the U.S. Law Enforcement agencies.
Steemit Deletes User’s Message
This is not the case since a Steemit developer, jredbeard deleted the user from the platform on January 7. The username of the person behind the message was appended in the site’s source code. While this action is similar to what other social networks had done in a bid to censor the message, it appears Steemit may have awakened the sleeping dogs.
This is because its Whitepaper claims that user’s publications will not be controlled by any individual. As such, the moderation of messages will be nonexistent as is the case of other social platforms. Steemit advocates for freedom of speech in its paper, but looking at the recent happenings, it appears no one on the platform has the final say.
Whitepaper Contradicts Terms of Service
Part of the Steemit’s Whitepaper states that;
Censorship is a means of stealing votes through limiting public discourse. Steem is committed to enabling free speech and building a free society.
However, before this time, Steemit had explicitly stated in its Terms of Service (TOS) that they will not be supporting payment for or the encouragement of illegal activities. Accordingly, the company reserves the right to delete any account if it breaches their TOS.
While responding to Steemit’s actions, several social media enthusiasts disapproved of it. A user said that deleting the message makes Steemit responsible for others. Another said: “Basically dead now after this. I regret ever telling people that this would be an option for content in the future.”
Steemit is not the only company that claims to be a freedom of speech social network, given that there is another called, Gab. Unlike the former, this a far-right social media accepts payment from its users. In a recent report, Gab revealed that they are now accepting Bitcoin.