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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work