BCH-Promoting Twitter Account @Bitcoin Suspended, Internet Debates ‘Death Of Free Speech’
In a Twitter-based continuation of the Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH) debate, the BCH-promoting Twitter handle, @Bitcoin, has been suspended by Twitter, seemingly due to a large number of complaints from Twitter users – likely Bitcoin supporters – Sunday, April 8.
The rivalry between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain that took place in August 2017, is characterized by the debate over scaling issues on the network and how to solve them. Along those lines, Bitcoin enthusiasts promote second-layer scaling solutions; they are opposed to any hard forks that may solve said problems, but seek to replace Bitcoin, protective of the “Bitcoin” name, whose user base and brand recognition are unparalleled by other coins.
Roger Ver, a long-time crypto entrepreneur and major proponent of Bitcoin Cash, tweeted today that the suspension of the BCH account is the death of free speech:
So this is how free speech dies...with thunderous applause.@bitcoinhttps://t.co/TMZc0EWoIx
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) April 8, 2018
Self-proclaimed cypher punk Jameson Lopp commented on Ver’s Tweet that “[f]reedom of speech means that the government won't throw you in a cage for saying something it doesn't condone. Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want on someone else's property,” starting an online argument about Twitter’s policies on account suspension.
Twitter user Cryptomania replied to Jameson Lopp that “an army of people commanded by /r/bitcoin reporting the account non stop [sic]” led to its suspension, to which Lopp retorted that “[e]ven if that's the case, it's still an issue with Twitter as a private platform rather than with government authorities threatening folks. Similar issues exist on Reddit with mass down voting / reporting / brigading.”
A post on sub-Reddit /r/Bitcoin from earlier today that “Twitter has finally suspended the compromised ‘@Bitcoin’ account,” is full of commentators that are on the whole happy about the account suspension. Some Reddit users also have hypothesized that Ver was the owner of the account due to an alleged coincidence with the Tweets that both Ver’s Twitter and @Bitcoin “liked.” Additionally, according to commentators on the sub-Reddit post, if Ver had acquired the account handle by purchasing it, the account had broken Twitter’s guidelines:
“Buying/selling Twitter handles is supposedly against Twitter's ToS. The @Bitcoin account has leased OAuth2 access to another publisher in the past, this access was abruptly terminated at the start of 2018 and started promoting Bitcoin(dot)com propaganda exclusively, as well as a wide range of deceptive (fraudulent) altcoin propaganda echoing Roger Ver. The account operator and Roger Ver both claim that the account was not sold, but given the abrupt shift and Roger Ver's proclivity to throw his money around to get what he wants, I think it's likely the account changed hands.”
Bitcoin researcher and developer David Shares also tweeted his disappointment with the account suspension directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, expressing his opinion that the account was suspended due to Bitcoin “Core trolls” falsely reporting it:
The @Bitcoin account has been suspended (again) by @TwitterSupport only because Core trolls constantly submit fake reports about it. @Jack why do you guys keep letting this happen? Instead of suspending all the fake scammer accounts you suspend the real ones. WTF. pic.twitter.com/Z6yWR0y81N
— David Shares (@DavidShares) April 8, 2018
Coinivore, a crypto news and research site, also directed their frustration over @Bitcoin’s suspension to Dorsey:
Dear @Jack & @TwitterSupport ,
Bitcoin is an open-source project. The account @Bitcoin should be restored and allowed to express their opinion on scaling.
Policy of adhering to the mob rule of haters is not going to serve you or the Bitcoin project well.
— Coinivore (@Coinivore) April 8, 2018
Other crypto personas have taken the event more lightly, like Litecoin’s (LTC) Charlie Lee, who posted a screenshot of the then-suspended account with an emoji of crying laughter:
Oh snap! @bitcoin 😂 pic.twitter.com/yGcIcioxC6
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) April 8, 2018
Before being suspended for a second time today, the account briefly appeared to have a new owner. While the Twitter profile left the identity of its new owner relatively anonymous (the picture was of a Jaguar), one could hypothesize that the new user may have been from Turkey, as their third tweet, before the new account was suspended, read “Turkey is so cool” and featured the Turkish flag.
The intrigue over @Bitcoin’s new owner continues, as Shares posted on Twitter recently that since an account cannot be re-registered once it has been suspended, the account may have been deleted and then re-registered:
Does @TwitterSupport have a rogue employee abusing Twitter profiles internally? If an account is suspended you cannot re-register it. Clearly in this case Twitter shut down and then *deleted* the @Bitcoin account allowing it to be re-registered. WTF is going on @Jack? https://t.co/RHAe4FooK9
— David Shares (@DavidShares) April 8, 2018
On April 3, a panel discussion dedicated to Bitcoin (BTC) scaling between Roger Ver and Blockstream Chief Strategy Officer Samson Mow turned into a “passionate debate” between the two’s visions.