by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
The “Fake News” wars are raging in full force these days, as the corporate-sponsored “mainstream” media fights to hang on to its influence in American culture, using the term “Fake News” to refer to anyone outside of their influence who publishes material contrary to their own agendas.
They are exerting extreme pressure on social media giants such as Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, where the term “Fake News” is being used to censor content that they deem “fake” or “false.”
As a result, many are looking for alternative platforms to exchange the free-flow of information without centralized authoritarian censorship based on political views and ideology.
A new kind of social media platform that was started in 2016 is Steemit, which is based on “blockchain” technology, the same technology used for cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.
There are many advantages advertised for this new technology, and because it is “community-driven,” it is seen by many as an alternative to current social media networks that are controlled from the top down, which can lead to censorship based on the political views of those who control the platform.
But Steemit’s biggest advantage is seen in the ability of its users to earn rewards (cryptocurrency) for themselves for participating in the network. From Steemit’s FAQ:
What is Steemit.com?
Steemit has redefined social media by building a living, breathing, and growing social economy – a community where users are rewarded for sharing their voice. It’s a new kind of attention economy.
How does Steemit work?
Steemit.com is one of the many websites (including Busy.org, DTube, and Utopian.io) that are powered by the Steem blockchain and STEEM cryptocurrency. All of these websites read and write content to the Steem blockchain, which stores the content in an immutable blockchain ledger, and rewards users for their contributions with digital tokens called STEEM.
Every day, the Steem blockchain mints new STEEM tokens and adds them to a community’s “rewards pool.” These tokens are then awarded to users for their contributions, based on the votes that their content receives. Users who hold more tokens in their account as “Steem Power” will get to decide where a larger portion of the rewards pool is distributed.
While most social media sites extract this value for the benefit of their shareholders, Steemit believes that the users of the platform should receive the benefits and rewards for their attention and the contributions they make to the platform.
Health Impact News Joins Steemit But Does Not Receive a Warm Welcome
Since Health Impact News generally publishes information not found in the corporate media, and even exposing corruption in areas such as vaccine safety and medical kidnapping, we have been actively researching other platforms to disseminate our information in contingency of possibly becoming another casualty in the “Fake News” wars among the current social media giants.
So while earning cryptocurrency for our content was not our primary motivation for joining Steemit, we decided to give it a look and see if it could be a platform to expose more readers to our content, and have a secure place to store our content that would not just disappear overnight because it was deemed “fake news.”
After waiting nearly 3 weeks for our account to be approved, we created our profile with a clear link to our main news website so people could easily contact us.
We posted a few of our articles in our top content areas to give members an idea of our news categories.
We then began searching for content providers on Steemit in the areas of content that we currently publish.
I was pleasantly surprised to see many posts on the abuses of child social services similar to the content we have been publishing on MedicalKidnap.com for the past 3 and a half years.
I “followed” a couple of people in this content area, and then found a post about a group called “FamilyProtection.” The title is:
So I did take a look, and read the post. Here are some the things written that caught my attention:
When we first heard of this up and coming communities project, we knew that @familyprotection was on the right path and it gave us an extra incentive to make something of our little community.
This community is very lucky, we’ve had a huge head start, in more ways than one.
We have a whale on-board who goes by the name of @canadian-coconut. When @markwhittam first approached Ca-Co with the idea of building an awareness group it was a little rusty to say the least, but with the help, belief and guidance from Ca-Co we finally came up with a working model. Thanks to Ca-Co we are NOT called ONE VOICE! (sounds more like a boy band) instead we settled on @familyprotection because of the current governMENTAL “child protection” rackets were not focused on protecting families.
We have a lot to thank @canadian-coconut for but we are also very lucky that we have the support and encouragement from so many loyal steemians. People who really take this issue serious and want to see change.
So @familyprotection is paving the way for future communities, our community model works and has proven to be a solid foundation for others to start building communities on the Steem Blockchain!
When one of the volunteers @familyprotection upvotes and resteems a post, they always include a comment that explains that the post was chosen by our community, and that if they wish to support our community with our goal of saving funds to Help Families in Need, than [sic] please donate a portion of the SBD rewards they receive from this post.
Once the Communities Feature is complete, these comments will no longer be needed, as we will decide a set minimum % and any posts accepted in our Community, will automatically deduct this donation.
We started @familyprotection in September 2017, and it has grown organically and quickly, beyond our expectations! THANK-YOU TO ALL OUR AMAZING COMMUNITY MEMBERS!
In this short time alone we have already raised a $USD value of $29,000 in crypto funds.
Wow! This sounded great!
But when I went to the profile page of the two leaders mentioned, @canadian-coconut and @markwhittam, not to mention the profile page of @familyprotection, I could find no further information about these people, and no external links off of Steemit to any kind of website or document explaining who ran this group.
So I posted one of my first comments:
I am editor of Health Impact News and Medicalkidnap.com. I am new to Steemit. How can we learn more about the members who run this group?
I figured that as someone new to Steemit (we had just joined that day!) someone would respond with more information helping me to understand the group better. I also assumed that at least some of the members in the group would know who we were at Health Impact News, and our years of already being involved in this subject area.
What happened next was totally unexpected!
One of the leaders, @canadian-coconut, who in the quote above is called a “whale” and apparently has a lot of “Steem” power and is behind the account @familyprotection, flagged all of our posts we had just put up, which instantaneously grayed them out and prevented others from apparently seeing them. She then made this comment, NOT in reply to my comment on her post, but on our MedicalKidnap article:
We do not believe that this is the real Health Impact News. If you are real, then please mention on your official website or Facebook page that you have joined Steemit, and link it here.
Until then, this post will be flagged. You have seven days to provide proof. If you do, I will unflag this post.
Wow! So even on Steemit, censorship is still possible, and in this case we were deemed guilty until proven innocent!
What followed was a heated debate as to our true identity, until one member (NOT one of the leaders) decided to contact us via our MedicalKidnap.com contact form to verify that we had indeed just joined Steemit.
I pointed out the fact that before posting or commenting we had clearly put a link to our main news website where anyone could have contacted us to verify, whereas the leaders of this “familyprotection” group have NO links to external sites to verify their own identities.
Candian-coconut, to her credit, did apologize and removed her flag after the other member contacted us directly, and apparently gave us the thumbs up to her.
The other leader, Mark Whittam, came on later and criticized us for supposedly violating certain common ways of doing things on Steemit. We were given different explanations as to why we were flagged, with the first leader claiming:
There are lots of people who come onto Steemit pretending to be someone that they are not. I am trying to protect the real Health Impact news, who I have a LOT of respect for. But your [email protected] history is dubious.
The first account that you followed was me, and then you followed @familyprotection.
but the other leader stated that this was why we were flagged and censored:
we flagged you for suspected plagiarism
After they admitted that we had successfully identified ourselves, and they removed their flag, I asked the original leader who flagged us, @candian-coconut, to identify herself, since she was the leader of a group soliciting donations on behalf of troubled families.
I will NOT reveal my real name, as I have small children to protect.
Are You Using Steemit?
One thing is clear after attempting to use the Steemit community for one week: we don’t fully understand it yet.
One of the members of @familyprotection told us:
Questioning your identity is understandable …. kiss and make up and put a bit of faith in this platform, steemit and @familyprotection.
When I replied:
Yes, just as “Questioning your identity is understandable” so is asking honest questions about a group “protecting families” that solicits funds from others. They should welcome such questions instead of attacking newcomers. Steemit is not the only place where people are involved in helping families and fighting this issue.
her response was:
Well then, I guess this is not the place for you.
While we do believe that this blockchain technology is the future of social interactions, Health Impact News has not yet decided if they will invest their time in Steemit.
While Steemit is obviously one of the first to develop a social media platform around the blockchain technology, there are many other platforms being developed as well, and this technology is still in its infant stage.
What do you think? Readers of Health Impact News and MedicalKidnap.com, do you use Steemit?
Are you comfortable donating funds to a group that is utilizing the CPS child kidnapping issue to collect funds to supposedly fight this system, and yet some of the leaders are anonymous, and there is no external website or organization, and as yet no guidelines, bylaws, board of directors, etc. that is normally present for a charity group?
We have been active in this topic area for over 3 years, and before writing this article my team and I asked around in our networks to see if any of the many people we had worked with over the years had knowledge of this group, and so far none of them have responded that they are familiar with them.
I have no reason at this point to doubt their claims, as many of them appear to be victims themselves of a corrupt “child protection” system.
But we also are hesitant to endorse a group collecting such amounts of funds when we do not know the people running the group, or how they plan on determining who receives their funds. It would be one thing if they were just distributing their own funds, and encouraging others to do so, but they are apparently directly soliciting funds from others to be donated to their group.
If you are on Steemit and enjoy using that platform, please contact us, either here or follow us on Steemit, and let us know how you are using this new platform.
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