Microsoft Azure Hosted Gab.ai Social Network Gets Warning Message Over User Content
August 13, 2018
Microsoft Cautions Gab.Ai Over User Content
Gab.ai, a cryptocurrency social media that focuses on free-speech, has been compelled by Microsoft to self-censor. This is in accordance to a Tweet from the firm’s official account, indicating that the company had been threatened with suspension of their hosting service unless postings made by one of the users of the site is not deleted. Microsoft Azure is the present host of the site.
Has Censorship Become The New Normal?
In the recent past, it has become more and more common for companies to censor rightfully secure speech. One worrying development is that most of the major tech firms as well as social media sites like Facebook are seen to be leaning towards leftist liberal prejudices. This is indicated by the fact that there is an increase in the number of conventional and alternative perspective holders which have suffered censorship, or removal from the services.
A very notable recent occurrence of the same is the well-known and autarchic ban of the self-described broad-minded and paleoconservative alternate media personality Alex Jones, as well as his Inforwars empire.
As A Result Of The Decision On Gab, Microsoft Is Seen To Be Joining The Political Fray
When it comes to censorships based on political motives, Microsoft as a company has always stayed of the fray. However, the censorship on Gab may be as a result of a couple of reasons. It is worth noting that currently, Microsoft lacks an impactful social media platform like Google, its business rival. However, the company seems to have placed its cards on the table.
The initial Tweet from Gab regarding the issue had screenshots from the initial communication that was sent by Microsoft Azure. The communication had all the clarity with regard to the matter, indicating that the content found by Microsoft was intolerable. As a result, Gab was under obligation to pull it down within two days. Otherwise, Microsoft would proceed to knock Gab offline for several weeks or months.
The strange thing about this is that Microsoft issued the warning, claiming that the offending poster had shared some ‘phishing URLs’. However, in a post that followed, Gab asserted that there was no evidence alluding to the presence of phishing URLs. According to Gab, the offensive posts were text only and as a result, they did not have any links of any kind.
Fortunately, the user willingly categorically decided to delete the posts in question, on their own volition. Gab went ahead to request to be advised on why it was Microsoft Azure contacted them about the phishing links, yet there were no links in the given posts.
Over and above, both of the posts in question originated from the same user, who apparently appears to be an open holder of anti-Semitic perspectives. In as much as such laws may be repugnant, detrimental, or nauseating dependent on one’s perceptions, sentiments like these are not prohibited in the United States.
Not long after making the declaration, the concerned user who posted the offensive information is seen to have willingly pulled it down. The said person, apparently named Patrick Little, made it clear that even though he willingly deleted the posts, his views are not a violation of their rights as citizens of the United States.
He further asserted that the idea of self-censorship on Gab will definitely result in vendors as well as service providers being forced to engage in self-censorship. In many ways, someone may argue that Microsoft, being a privately owned company, is at liberty to do business with whoever it chooses.
Regrettably, this become quite vague, particularly where major internet firms are involved. By and large, corporates such as Google and Microsoft are notable monopolies in their respective fields. This implies that in case they decide to censor people based on their perspectives, the consequences could be extensive.
Being a site that permits users to post anything without concerns of any kind of censorship, people who fear censorship flock in such a site to voice their opinions, however distasteful. This is something Microsoft should have realized from the beginning, even before hosting the site.
Is Decentralization The Only Protection From Censorship?
One of the key tenets of the virtual asset ecosystems is the fact that they are intended to be censorship-resistant. In case a nation declared Bitcoin illegal, it can virtually do nothing to curb its use within its boundaries. Even if the internet was to be shut down, people would still use the paper wallets.
The founder of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto, intentionally designed it in such a way that it could thrive outside the supervision of dominant groups, who would want sabotage its proprietorship and control.
Up until now, this has demonstrated to be effective since the cryptocurrency has never fallen victim to anyone aiming at controlling it. In the same way, it is vital for the society to decentralize everything. In this way, no one will have the authority to control an important sector like the social system.