Justin Chastain, CEO of Voat, a censorship-free Reddit, said that American authorities contacted him regarding death threats posted by users on the platform. Following this, the CEO requested users to “chill on the ‘threats,’” reported Motherboard on April 26, 2019.
The Voat Community Responds
Chastain took to Voat to notify users that a U.S. agency contacted him, that he didn’t name, to warn him against the increasing content that crosses the limits to making threats. On a lighter note, he said, “We are better than this.”
He said that the platform stands for free speech, but they also need to cooperate with law enforcement and not operate outside the law. The CEO also told users that if any content is in the gray area, they might remove it upon request.
Unsurprisingly, the community didn’t take that message well. The first comment following Chastain’s request insinuated the annihilation of the Jewish people.
“The Voat user cited a 1969 First Amendment Supreme Court case involving a Ku Klux Klan leader who gave a televised speech targeting certain races, arguing that the court ruled a threat needs to be specific to be illegal. The user then gave an example of a specific call for violence against a specific synagogue on a specific day.”
The comment, as reported by Motherboard, was still up at the time of writing.
A License to Hate Mongers?
While creators who envision the concept of imparting censorship-free platforms to people for practicing free speech might not have the same ideology in the back of their mind, but they often end up fueling the fire that burns within hate mongers.
In October 2018, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings that caused the death of 11 people and left six injured was done by a user of Gab, another censorship-free version of Twitter, who was behind several anti-Semitic messages shared on the site.
Though the crypto community stands for censorship-free everything as far as it can be afforded, these incidents leave many questioning human instincts and whether imparting absolute freedom does more bad than good.