Cryptocurrency, a technology based upon principles of transparency, accountability, and censorship-resistance, is facing further censorship. Blogging service Medium joins a long list of platforms to have clamped down on crypto content together with Facebook, Google, and Mailchimp. As a service that’s meant to support free speech, Medium’s crackdown is all the more mystifying.
Medium is the crypto community’s platform of choice for long reads and thought leadership pieces. It’s a place where the latest thinking on tokenomics, hashing algorithms, blockchain scaling and much more can be found. It’s also where ICOs and other cryptocurrency projects publish details of their crowdsale, bug bounties, and other initiatives for the benefit of their community. In the past week, however, Medium has begun inexplicably suspending the blogs of crypto projects. The reasons for its decision are sketchy, but the suspensions seem to be triggered by content discussing airdrops or bug bounties.
In a post entitled “Status, Medium, and Censorship”, Ethereum-based messaging platform Status wrote, on June 15: “Medium is currently one of the primary communication channels of the cryptosphere. Blockchain-based visionaries, both affiliated with projects and independent free-thinking technologists, have all made Medium a critical part of how they communicate. Recently, we attempted to publish a blog post announcing our latest Bug Bounty Program. The post was immediately suspended, followed by an automated email noting a general violation, without detailing any specifics, and a link to Medium’s recently updated policy regarding cryptocurrencies.”
They continued: “Though we had not violated any of these policies, we re-submitted several revisions that carefully edited out any potential trigger words, like “bounty”, “ETH,” and “SNT”. The post was never successfully published.” Status is not the only project to have been suddenly suspended without warning: this week Blockchain.io’s Medium page also succumbed to the same fate. It’s since been restored, but the most recent blog post, discussing its airdrop, has gone. While Blockchain.io’s Medium blog is hosted on the Medium platform, Status’s is self-hosted on their own domain. In each case, the end result has been the same: sudden suspension.
Creeping Censorship Is an Attack on Cryptocurrency
When Google and Facebook announced that they were calling a stop to ICO ads, few mourned their loss. But when other platforms joined in, including Twitter and, bizarrely, email marketing service Mailchimp, it led to fears that cryptocurrency was facing a concerted global attack. Be it through imitation or collusion, company after company has begun censoring or excluding crypto projects, whilst allowing far more egregious content including affiliate schemes, hate speech, and spam.
In its terms of service, Medium states that “We can remove any content you post for any reason” but does not specify what sort of content might give the company grounds to exercise that right. There is nothing that explicitly excludes cryptocurrency, airdrops, or bug bounties. Medium was founded by former Twitter CEO Evan Williams. While fellow co-founder and current Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is extremely bullish on bitcoin, Evans’ only discernible comment on cryptocurrency is a single tweet posted five years ago.
“We worry that the seemingly arbitrary decision to suspend our blog is a sign of a troubling trend,” finish Status. “We’re concerned about the creeping censorship around cryptocurrencies. We want our society to be freer for everyone. We believe the forces of censorship and centralization often are closely bound and we worry when we see the power to freely express ourselves so arbitrarily limited.”
Why do you think Medium has begun censoring crypto content? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Medium
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