8Chan owner Jim Watkins released a video address on YouTube today where he addressed accusations from the media about his website and expressed condolences for the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH over the weekend.
He began the video by mentioning that he watched President Donald Trump’s national address before admonishing the mass killers, who he said were likely mentally insane.
“It is a tragedy for those families. It is a tragedy for Mexico and the United States of America. It is indeed such a sad day and time in the history of the world,” he said.
Watkins claims that his company always works with law enforcement and that they were helping law enforcement find information to help their investigations “within minutes” of these tragedies.
“We have never protected illegal speech, as it seems that we have been accused of by some less than credible journalists. We have responded with both vigor and integrity every single time that a threat of violence has been posted and information for it has been requested by law enforcement,” Watkins said.
He believes that attacks on 8chan are essentially attacks on digital free speech, as he describes his internet forum as “an empty piece of paper for writing on.” This is why Watkins believes that Cloudflare, a popular tech service firm, pulling their infrastructure support for 8chan is such an injustice.
“We are working to restore service. Thank you to the incredible people and companies that are helping with this task. It is clearly a political move to remove 8chan from Cloudflare. It has forced a lot of people to find other places to talk,” he said.
Watkins noted in his video that the El Paso killer actually posted his manifesto on Instagram, and it was only posted later in second-hand fashion on 8chan. He believes his forum is the latest target in the political establishment’s war against free speech.
“It is actually sinister behavior. Ours is one of the last independent companies that offer a place you may write down your thoughts free from having to worry about whether they are offensive to one group or another,” Watkins said.
“Power consolidation of the media beginning as radio and TV stations were gobbled up by a few strong and rich companies is now moving at a breakneck pace through the internet. It will effectively silence the masses and leave them with no place to voice their messages,” he added.
The entire video address can be seen here:
Twitter Posts Job Posting for Developing Paid Subscription Service; Will Platform Become Pay-to-Use?
Will it lead to the downfall of the platform?
Shares for Twitter’s stock surged more than 8% on Wednesday as the company posted an online job listing for a developer who would work on a new system designed as a pay-to-use platform.
The job listing advertises the opening for a project team termed “Gryphon.” The company describes the team as creating a “subscription platform” that “can be reused by other teams in the future.”
In a statement to CNN on the job listing, Twitter underplayed the announcement, stating that it was only a job listing, not a product announcement.
“We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
CEO Jack Dorsey has resisted shareholder demands to reorganize Twitter to prioritize profitability, most recently fending off a buyout attempt staged by oligarch Paul Singer challenging his leadership of the company. Dorsey kept his position of power over the company after reaching an agreement with profit-hungry shareholders, and the new development of paid subscription software could signal he intends to further satisfy them.
The company’s major investors will likely be pleased by any sign the company intends to convert its service into a pay-to-use model, evolving away from the tradition business model of micro-targeted ads towards its user base. However, a change to a subscription model could prove to be a threat to Twitter’s appeal, especially when newer free speech platforms are gunning for the platform’s user base and the company caves to the demands of censorious liberal journalists in suspending a variety of public figures deemed inconvenient to the neoliberal societal model.
Ultimately, the greed and thirst for power of the privileged elites of Silicon Valley could possibly bring about an end to their era of domination over online political speech, heralding a renaissance of the internet.
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