Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Isn’t an Anonymous Social Network an Oxymoron?

People are buzzing today with the hacktivist group Anonymous’ pronouncement that it will create a new censorship-resistant social network called AnonPlus after Google+ accounts associated with Anonymous were suspended.

Anonymity is not just in the group’s name; it’s a core aspect of the existing decentralized Anonymous community, as well as this yet-to-be-born social network, which the group says will be for “ALL people, not just Anonymous.” (Quote slightly altered for clarity and typos, the original is here.)

So how exactly would an anonymous social network work? There has been much discussion, but not a lot of success so far, about how to create a decentralized alternative to today’s social networks, but anonymity would take it to another level.

Think about it. Where would AnonPlus users post their vacation photos? Kidding… But would users feel comfortable submitting personal information into a void? How could it not be a risk to associate sensitive posts with a user profile that’s connected to other ones? Is an anonymous social network basically a Web forum or message board like 4chan, where Anonymous got its start? Would this just be a troll haven?

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald