Steemit Social Network Bans Users Amid Censorship Resistance

 

  • Steemit bans user account ‘thedarklord’ for attempting to leak documents exposing ‘truths’ about 9/11
  • The decision to censor account is faced with a backlash from users who claim Steemit went against their core value proposition to be censorship resistant and promote free speech
  • Steemit blockchain utilizes a proof of stake consensus protocol, which naturally makes it prone to centralized decision making

As we’ve discussed in the past, one of the most advertised benefits of the blockchain is its ability to prevent government censorship or any censorship from centralized organizations. To that end, many saw Steemit as the solution to the growing abuse of power by platforms like Facebook Google and Twitter, who time and time again have bowed down to the will of advertisers by censoring any user who shared even mildly controversial content.

Steemit, a decentralized social network promoted itself as being the censorship-resistant alternative to Facebook. According to recent reports, it appears that the platform has failed to uphold this core value proposition.

9/11 conspiracies violate Steemit’s ‘terms of service’

‘Thedarkoverlord’ is an account that belongs to a hacker group that has been trying to publish leaked documents that they claim expose hidden ‘truths’ about 9/11.

The group had previously tried to publish the documents on centralized platforms like Pastebin, Reddit, and Twitter. Predictably, those platforms all banned their accounts (apparently due to pressure from Government agencies).

Seeing as how they would never get their content published on centralized social media sites, the group thought that they would try their luck on a decentralized platform like Steemit. To their surprise, Steemit also banned them on January 7th due to a TOS violation.

The ban action itself wad made by Steemit developer RedBeard and can be seen on Steemit GitHub account. RedBeard added thedarkoverlord username into a list that is located on a file called GDPRUserList.

Source: Github print screen

Whether or not you agree with the methods by which this group attained and has threatened to expose this information, the fact remains that according to Steemit’s original promise to uphold censorship resistance, thedarkoverlord account should be entirely free to publish their findings without being banned.

User ban contradicts Steemit’s promises in the original white paper

To clarify, thedarkoverlord was only banned from the front-end interface to the Steemit Blockchain, meaning that although his content can no longer be viewed on the Steemit website, it can be seen on other front end interfaces connected to the Steem blockchain, like Busy.org. This in no way excuses the fact that Steemit has blatantly gone against the promises made in their original white paper:

“Steem is a decentralized network that is operated by witnesses in jurisdictions around the world. All user actions are publicly recorded on the blockchain, and can be publicly verified. This means that there is no single entity that can censor content that is valued by STEEM holders.”

As one would expect, Steemit users were angered by the censorship and expressed their grievances on Reddit and on the Github commit page as well.

How was censorship possible on a ‘decentralized’ social media platform?

Although Steem claims to be a decentralized platform, the reality is that their consensus protocol is much more prone to centralization than truly decentralized Blockchains like Bitcoin.

Steemit’s use of the proof of stake consensus protocol exposes them to situations where specific stakeholders can make decisions without full consensus from the community. This is a flaw that other proof of stake Blockchains like Ethereum are also exposed to. We are not sure if the decision to ban thedarklord was made by a Steemit user (or group of users) who staked a disproportionate amount of Steem tokens compared to other delegates. However, the rules of proof of stake most certainly allow for such a scenario to occur, which compromises the entire value proposition of Steem as a censorship resistance social media platform.

Ultimately, Steemit may have to make some drastic changes to their protocol and terms of service to regain users trust. As the market sentiment around cryptocurrencies remains bearish, Altcoins like Steemit don’t need any more reasons for their remaining holders to dump them.


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Author: ARNON
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Telecoms Giant AT&T Seeks Patent for Blockchain-Enabled Social Media ‘Mapping’ System

American telecoms giant AT&T is seeking a patent for a blockchain-based social media history “map.” The patent application was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Dec. 13.

AT&T’s patent application describes a blockchain-powered system that may include a transaction history controller to store subscribers’ data, which may be used for various purposes. The file outlines a number of particular cases, such as creating and sharing information, ideas, and career interests through virtual communities and networks.

Broadly speaking, by deploying the system users could purportedly track “micro-culture transactions,” like tracing current trends at a particular time or place, or behavior of their friends. That ability, per the patent application, “may have enormous value in e-commerce, marketing, and targeted advertising.” The document further states:

“The social media history map platforms described herein may take advantage of the immutable and permanent nature of blockchain records to store, and provide access to, data representing online transactions that occur on multiple social media applications.”

Per the filing, content creators would keep ownership of their data on the “mapping” platform:

“However, instead of passing ownership of blocks or data between users, a social media account owner maintains primary ownership of his or her online transaction data. What passes from the social media account owner to other users of the social media history map service, such as followers of the social media account owner, is a notion of elevated visibility rights.”

In November, the USPTO awarded printing and digital copying appliances manufacturer Xerox a patent for a blockchain-driven auditing system for electronic files. The technology offered by Xerox can supposedly detect whether a file has been altered and tracks the history of changes to documents. Owing to the decentralized verification mechanism, the system thus becomes resistant to tampering, the filing states.

Also that month, financial services giant American Express (Amex) filed a patent for a blockchain-based system to capture and transmit the image of a receipt. The filing describes how the system lets a user with a mobile device capture the image of a receipt. The system then, via “optical character recognition,” deciphers the image and matches it with “related records,” namely transaction history.


Source
Author: Ana Alexandre
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Research Shows That Social Media Influences The Bitcoin Price!

The value of Bitcoin may be manipulated by public sentiment from social media, new research shows. A four-university team, led by professor Feng Mai of Stevens School of Business, found that not only do comments influence the price, but some commenters can even carry up to ten times the weight of others.



Professor Feng Mai was working with University of Cincinnati, Dickinson College and Ivey Business School, collecting two years’ worth of posts from the Bitcointalk forum, as well as two months’ worth of data from Twitter.

“Any changes in Bitcoin’s price are obviously going to affect the sentiment around it, so we needed to factor in those influences as well,” Mai was quoted as saying on the website of Stevens School of Business.

The results of this research were recently published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, and show that “periods of increasingly positive social media commentary do in fact influence the rising price of Bitcoin significantly.” But the voice of those who do not regularly talk about Bitcoin, instead taking the time to comment infrequently, is what is actually moving the price. On the other hand, users who are very active did not move Bitcoin’s price much at all.

“This was a big finding, and it does seem to prove that people are trusting the silent majority much more, perhaps because they do not seem to have an agenda,” Mai said for the Stevens article, adding, “It’s also true that, by following the infrequent posters’ comments, you get a much more accurate prediction of Bitcoin’s price over time, and this is useful for investors and potential investors to know.”

The team hopes to investigate blockchain technology and its relationship with social media soon as well.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has already urged customers to avoid buying tokens based on tips shared on social media. Moreover, anyone who promotes an initial coin offering (ICO) in exchange for compensation tied to the sale may be breaking the law if they don’t first register with the regulator, Richard Levin, Denver-based chair of fintech and regulation practice at law firm Polsinelli PC, told Bloomberg in a recent interview.

Also, as reported, John McAfee, a self proclaimed “crypto visionary” and software tycoon, said he will stop recommending ICOs because of unspecified “threats” from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Sead Fadilpasic
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VR for social networking? What’s Tron (TRX) up to?

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When Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive legendary code writer who invented the blockchain and Bitcoin, released his ideas about a new currency based on cryptography, he was very clear about the goal: it was about getting rid of fiat currencies, banks, and credit card companies through full decentralization. Very ambitious but very clear.
That’s what it’s all about. That’s what all cryptocurrencies are about. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, you name it, they are all going after fiat money. But there’s one exception: Tron.

While Tron’s project does include a cryptocurrency called Tronix (TRX), Justin Sun‘s vision is even wider and more ambitious than Nakamoto’s. Tron’s CEO and founder wants to use the blockchain to create a fully decentralized web in which corporations have no power over content or monetization processes. He targets the entertainment industry mainly, but he basically is going for everything.

The ban on social media: bring it on!
Sixty days ago Twitter joined the anti-crypto club started by Facebook and Google. None of those firms has been outspoken against Bitcoin or any other digital currency (Facebook even started an in-house blockchain team recently), but they’ve been draconian in banning any and all adds related to cryptocurrencies. They are currently being sued for this in countries like South Korea, China, Russia, and Switzerland.



The ban isn’t great news for the crypto world because lack of advertising in media as important as those will slow things down. However, a closer look at the situation suggests that it could backfire against the social media giants and end up favoring the crypto community. Here’s why:

Internet decentralization
Decentralization is the core value of cryptocurrencies, the quintessential feature of the blockchain. The media giants are central authorities in their own fields, they’re not too far from being monopolistic. If they are not Big Brother (not an overstatement after the Facebook and Cambridge Analytics scandal) they are at least gatekeepers. If their behavior serves to illustrate the abuses inherent to centralized power, it only bolsters the need for decentralization on the internet.

Banned things become interesting
When Orson Welles finished filming Citizen Kane and the film was banned, he was just elated. He knew right then and there it would be a huge success (which it was, and it’s considered until today as one of the best movies ever made).

So Facebook and friends may claim they are keeping crypto away in the best interest of their users. But we all want more something when somebody tells us we can’t have it. Just ask Adam and Eve. So while the ban will prevent faster growth in the short run, it will end up making things more interesting for laymen.

People can become fed up with gatekeepers
If Google, Twitter, and Facebook keep taking unilateral decisions, users can just have enough of them at some point. Companies are not a fact of nature and they don’t last on the top forever.

Remember a time when it was unthinkable for IBM to be outdone on the software business by these two Seattle nerds who started up a little firm that was called Microsoft? A few decades later it was equally unthinkable that Microsoft could be challenged by another small startup founded by another couple of nerds, this time from San Francisco, called Google.

So….

The third point is the most relevant for Tron’s case. Justin Sun is trying to rebuild the web from scratch by means of the blockchain so that central authorities for all types of content or social media lose the power they hold. In other words: Sun’s dream is Google’s and Facebook’s worst nightmare.

It’s a very long shot for Tron to get a market share that could be compared to Facebook’s or Twitter’s (at least for now) but it could still create an environment for those content producers who are not so happy about studios, corporations, Google and central authorities in general.

And there’s another possibility: Tron’s blockchain could find another technology to use in tandem. Augmented reality is a good candidate. This combination could create the world’s first VR/AR social media platform, and it would be fully decentralized. That could be the killer app that seals the deal for Tron.

Tron (TRX) and VR
Tron’s looking for meaningful partnerships in the gaming industry. Justin Sun has already created a link with Game.com’s Xu Le who, in turn, has been vocal in advocating and encouraging games that will incorporate the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He considers the Tron partnership as a win-win deal for both parties.

Once Tron penetrates the gaming industry, bringing VR into their social media would be the logical next step. Tron has the tools, the platform, the resources and the vision to bring it about. That would give the Tron brand, the Tron Foundation, and Tronix a tremendous advantage.

And that advantage would be to stand out. The first obstacle for a new product to do well in social media is the lack of a competitive advantage, of having something that makes it special. That’s the incentive that makes customers move from one platform to another.
Facebook is interesting only if most people you know are there already, for instance. For Tron that could be coupling a successful cryptocurrency with virtual reality. That will snatch some headlines, for sure. As things stand today, Tron can’t seriously think about overthrowing Facebook, or Twitter.

It will have to swim against the current. But it still becomes one of a kind with something like the “premier crypto coin based social media platform” or like “first virtual reality social media platform”. New things are always attractive. If you want someone to remember you, show them something, give them an experience nobody has given them before. That could create just enough interest, attention and users that, in time, they could even become a problem for Facebook.

Virtual Reality games are unavoidable. It’s just a matter of time for them become the rule rather than the exception. Tron is in the right place to be the main crypto factor in this equation and it stands to make a killing if it really takes advantage of those ties.

The first step for Tron would be to get enough meaningful partnerships in the industry and to steer them and their developers into social media outlets. Then, integrating social media and VR would be the next logical step to promote the platform, especially if Tronix and the Tron foundation can shake the gaming industry a bit.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: MaxPositives
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