Steemit, a social media content creating platform based on the Steem decentralized blockchain solution, banned the account of a group of hackers called “The Dark Overlord”. The group threatened to share sensitive information related to the terrorist attacks which happened on September 11th of 2001.
The hackers first gained notoriety after demanding Bitcoin in exchange for not publishing the mentioned 9/11 related data. The group also claimed they have “dirt” on various property management companies, insurers, and other agencies; they promised not to expose this data, but for a price as well.
The group has since been pruned from several other online media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, or Pastebin. Steemit was supposed to be a censorship-proof, immutable, unregulated version of the platforms mentioned above; this latest ban confirms that they are also susceptible to deplatforming related controversies.
The community didn’t respond well to the news of Steemit censoring information that falls under the umbrella of legal free speech. While some have questioned the ways the information was obtained, the information certainly represents something that the public would have the right and an interest to have access to. Several crypto community members pointed out that this removal clearly shows that Steemit isn’t the decentralized network they flaunt themselves to be in their whitepaper.
Still, a closer look into the network’s Terms of Service shows that they reserve the right to remove any law-breaking account from the Steemit platform without any prior notice. The Dark Overlord was clearly a group that broke some rules while acquiring the mentioned information.
The debate on whether or not publishing and hosting illegally obtained information of public interest is right has been raging on for a while. Steemit have clearly decided to take the easy way out and limit what basically falls under legal free speech. This will earn them favors from the establishment but could hurt them in the long run since they’ve proven they aren’t much different than Facebook, Twitter or any other centralized social media platform.