On Steem and AbusesteemCreated with Sketch.

in abuse •  last year

Impressions


I wasn't much of social media person, in fact, I loathed Facebook, Twitter, and the likes. I'm against any social media platform that makes billions on their users' backs while violating and selling their privacy. Facebook is the number one at that, they don't need any introduction. I learned about Steemit a few months ago from Youtube videos dealing with cryptocurrencies. I figured what the hell, it's a decentralized platform, it has its own cryptocurrency, which goes with my convictions about the future of the internet. Most importantly, the fact that people actually earn money from their blog was very appealing. I mean come on, if you throw pennies on the ground, everyone will jump on it, right? So I thought I'd give it a try. Since the day I joined in June 2017, I haven't been disappointed. I experienced a strong booming user base, met a lot of people, from different countries, with diverse backgrounds and interests. What I liked the most was the fact that I could remain relatively anonymous; I do give hints about my personal life sometimes, like most of us do, but at least I can control it. And of course, I earned some modest money from my earlier posts, which was cool. However, despite the positive things I could say about Steemit, there has been a lot of negative aspects about it that started to emerge as time went by, which left me wondering 🤔

The Types Of Abuse Steemit Faces

Spams

I consider any form of advertisement as spam. I never asked for it, I don't want it, it's intrusive, I hate it. Spam plagues our emails, social media, TV, websites. It's a nagging and undesirable pest that no matter how hard we slap it, it keeps coming back. Steemit is not immune to spam. Back in June 2017, I didn't think much of it, but as more users (and spammers) signed up, I became more aware of it. The problem with the Steem blockchain, everything is permanently recorded (unless edited/removed within 7 days of the posting, before the reward payout). A spammer's account cannot be terminated or their spam deleted by an external force. We may flag spam to make it invisible on Steemit, but in reality it's still there. In other words, we close our eyes, while spam keeps accumulating and ultimately bloating the blockchain.

Scams

While spammers are flourishing, scammers are on the rise too. I'm sure many of you have received dust memos from accounts offering their service to resteem your posts for 4 SBD? Oh wait, that was too expensive, how about lowering the price to 2 SBD? I'm talking about @joanaltres, @carlobelgado and @jones420. These accounts massively follow tens of thousands of users, then spam them with their scammy memos. Look at their wallets to see their activities. These people are funny too, recently they were bitching about each other in the steemcleaners chat room (14 August), like two gangsters coming to the police station to complain!

joanaltres1.png
joanaltres2.png

My favourite quote from @jones420 (mr.jones):
@joanaltres it's ridiculous that you complain.. you doing it even more extreme than me

Copyrighted Material

Dtube has been gaining a lot popularity recently, it's a decentralized video hosting platform based on IPFS. Everyone is raving about it, but I'm afraid they're (unintentionally) playing with fire. A new account, @chainflix, has been posting full copyrighted movies. What's more, some whales were upvoting them! It's already bad enough to have plagiarized photography and artworks, but now with movies being posted and earning money, that's a BIGGER ballpark. Why? Ever heard of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)? Those people with all the lawyers in the world working for them, shutting down websites, torrent sites and busting individuals for hosting movies? Well, imagine if they get a whiff of what's happening on Steemit.

@patrice wrote a post about DTube, check it out and resteem it: DTube - Awesome Program with Abuse Potential.

Child Pornography

One disgusting account has been posting material close to child pornography! I always feared something like that would one day happen on Steemit, and it did. The account has been flagged to 0 reputation, and it's a reminder that Steemit may experience a lot worse in the future. What's more disturbing is some people actually commenting with encouragements on those posts! How sick is that!?

The Challenge

My user ID is 191,643. As we speak, Steem has over 320,425 accounts registered, that's a 68% increase in just two months! The potential is very significant and it's nice to see it grow. However, with all the new signups, new abusers are flocking as well. While Steemit remains in beta, whose responsibility is it to police the abusers? Steemit? Or is it our duty, as a community, to act upon it? There's a handful of projects working tirelessly against abuse, that includes @cheetah, @steemcleaners, @spaminator, @flagpediporn, with the efforts of many remarkable and dedicated individuals like @patrice, @pfunk, @stellabelle, @fubar-bdhr and @sherlockholmes. I'm happy to give a hand to those projects, but it's a daunting task to cover the growing user base! I'd like to also underline the efforts of @transisto with his generous delegations to fight abuse, and @personz for his good work fighting spam and self-upvoting abusers with his @sadkitten and @smackdown.kitty bots. There are more people involved, sorry if I didn't mention you, your efforts are important and very much appreciated.

Why Care About Abuse?

We should collectively care and act to counter abuse, because if we don't, the whole platform will be in the trash before too long. In a decentralized anarchistic world, it's our duty to keep our environment clean. What do you do when trash accumulates in your house? You throw it out. By the way, anarchy does not equate with chaos, anarchy literally means the absence of authority, which is the case of the Steem blockchain. Many have voiced their concern about censorship, but without some censorship, Steem will fail. As simple as that. It will fail because governments and copyright advocates will hammer it.

How Can YOU Help?

If you spot abuse and your reputation is higher than the abuser, don't be afraid to flag, and report them to steemitabuse or steemcleaners chat rooms. If you're a whale, consider delegating some SP to the bots to help increase their flagging power, or better yet, join the abuse-fighting teams I mentioned. The more we pool our resources, the better we can clean this place. Thanks in advance for your support.

Conclusion

I can't help but feel that Steemit has left the website unchecked, turning it into a Far West, with vigilantes trying to keep things in order. For how long can this last? I believe in Steem as a social media platform, I'm all invested in it, even decided to run a witness for it. But for now, I'm cautious about its future. For one, Steemit isn't showing a willingness to tackle some major problems, the lack of spam/abuse control, user support, etc. I'm sure they're quite busy with their beta development, but it's no excuse to leave us in the dark. A simple site announcement about their progress would ease a lot of the concerns. How will Steemit address the abuse issue in the future? Your guess is as good as mine.


Keeping the garbage out!


Proud member and delegator of the @minnowsupport project.
Join us on https://discord.gg/GpHEEhV

MSPPAL


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Thanks for sharing this @drakos! I'm new to steemit and I didn't realize so many issues are plaguing steemit. I really enjoy being a participant in this platform and I would definitely love to help with tackling these issues whether it be flagging spam or delegating Steem Power. How do we go about delegating Steem Power?

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I recommend the VESSEL wallet, it's the easiest way to manage your accounts and delegations.
https://steemit.com/steem-project/@jesta/vessel-006-steem-power-delegation

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Awesome, thanks! I looked into it a bit, now I just need to download it.

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It's a very good tool. I use myself, as do many other Steemians I know.

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Hy,

Just reached this post and downloaded vessel.

I suppose i have to use steemit account with the steemit passwords and active keys? Is that safe there?
Hope you understand my caution when is about pass and other sensitive data for steemit account.

There were other apps that requested that and haven't tried them because of that.

I use for the moment esteem with just posting.

Thanks

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VESSEL is safe, the wallet is installed locally on your computer. Use the Active Key.

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Ok, thanks.

I voted also for your witness. Hope you guys will can grow a healthier community here.

Cheers

Attacking self up-voters isn't stopping abuse, it's a marxist witch hunt for self-serving individuals to use to increase their standing (and try to get witness) underpinned by total lack of understanding of both Steemit and game theory.

Real efforts against actual abuse would be directed at things like Trending and BookingTeam, spam reposts, plagiariam, etc. For which I repeatedly receive no support for, and for which the same people involved in these witch-hunt "smackdown kitty" bot garbage projects downvoted me for trying to stop.

https://steemit.com/curation/@lexiconical/make-flagging-great-again-on-self-up-voting-and-a-suggestion-for-improving-curation-on-steemit

https://steemit.com/curation/@lexiconical/exposing-advertiser-circle-jerks-in-trending-reward-pool-rape-and-bookingteam-com

These awful flagging projects are also often associated with ranting lunatics like loki/elfspice, a self admitted angry drunk going through withdrawal, who attacks everyone and is as toxic as nuclear waste.

Fuck these communist apparatchiks that think they are the self-appointed Steemit police to run flagging bots.

I think it's time we push Steemit Inc to do something about all those illegal activities. Comment spamming is not illegal, but child pornography, scaming and copyrighted material are, and we should have a way to get rid of those from the network.

If it comes to censorship to a blockchain, then let it be. Steemit already has a somewhat bad reputation out there, we don't need to make it worse.

We have similar views on this topic. The spam and abuse needs to stop, and stopping it starts with all of us.

Here's my blog post from yesterday, with some similar remarks .. if you're interested.

Now Im depressed :/ I think there should be the police...lets face it..the idea of people takin care of themselves is grand. But thats what it is to me...and idea.. a hope. And I think posts should be delited in the 7 days period and acc too. If you wanna kill out the weed you have to take the roots out. But who and how and maybe and when...ugh. Don't know enough.

I wrote a post on this same topic today. Why people choose to be swindlers and cheats is beyond anything I understand.

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Yes I saw it :)

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You know what they say about great minds :)
Yours is way more thorough I was just ranting lol. Was unaware of the child pornography thing, sick mofos. That is something I would automatically flag.

While steemit going mainstream, expect the rise of malform, from spammers, scammers, and the copyright theft. We must take action against them by all means, else steem network will be ruin or the worst shutdown.

As mention about the copyrighted material like full length movies being uploaded in dtude.video is true, I already watch some but don't vote for it. Its illegal that may lead dtube to be taken down. And shame, comment of encouragement to do it again was clearly stated on comment area from othet user. Besides it earn a decent amount of dollar.

If we don't care , then who will ?

@Drakos I loved your informative post. Could you please tell me what is wrong with upvoting your own comments? After all, you upvote yourself when you post your blog. I agree there needs to be guidelines but I find it hard to understand a flag and run opposed to a reason for a flag like the bot smackdown.kitty. Appreciate your thoughts since you brought up that it is wrong to upvote yourself.

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Upvoting posts and comments is allowed by the system. Self-upvoting is a debated issue. Technically there's nothing wrong with it. I do upvote all my posts (15-20 cents worth), almost everyone does that, but I rarely upvote my comments (I think I did that twice so far when I thought my comment was important). That being said, there are people with lots of SP that often upvote their comments. About two weeks ago, one whale upvoted his two-lined comment to almost $600!!! That sparked some very heated exchange. Other people use bots to upvote their comments, which many consider it abusive.

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I have seen the bots used to upvote replies often. My latest post tonight has a perfect example of how it is done.

The guy probably automates a reply to posts over x amount, and then he also automates the bot upvotes to his reply.

It is definitely abuse imnsho.

Policing this platform as it grows is going to be a huge challenge. Foe example, I've had triggered snowflake @preparedwombat harrass, stalk, and down vote me just because he got upset with a few of my factually correct, but politically incorrect posts.

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Yeh, that's another thing with some whales. If they disagree with someone, they have the power to do some serious damage. It's a slippery slope.

As a registered PI in Virginia I would love to help and have offered assistance in other threads already.

We should be given the tools to police ourselves. Hopefully Steemit, Inc. will give them to us.

I do not want to see this platform ruined by scammers and spammers, and we know attempts will be made by our enemies to discredit the site.

I strongly believe in the idea behind Steemit and know it will succeed with all of the quality people, such as yourself, defending it.

thank you for your informative post. I am keeping it so I can use the links for later. I had thought, after @stellabelle's article that @joanaltres is actually philanthropic - because she lives in a poor country and hopes to help others in those countries make money that they could never make - I did pay her brother for his service once and it did nothing for my post. The other dude 420 it seemed like the accounts were baseless... I decided to give up on all the bots to upvote and just accept low numbers - when I joined last year my posts were much more valueable. I want to let go of my need for money... the other day I wrote a post and this kid posted HIS article in my comments - this seems to be a new thing - I dropped him in steemcleaners and then let him know he was in for an asswhoopin - but then he just posted a bunch more pictures and comments about HIS work in my comments - so I had to flag him and mute him - his article was 100% plagiarized - the cheetahbot had already bitch-slapped him... a few weeks ago someone PAID ME to go look at their post. It seems like a flood of polluted water just flowed into our steem pool - I just hope the tide takes it out, however the idea that "dilution is the solution to polution" is not going to last forever anywhere. As we polute our planet and steemit - eventually we might have to become moral...not holding my breath.

I completely agree with you. Upvoted and resteemed. Also steemit needs to be a little user friendly. The entire structure is too damn complicated for a beginner.
Many people create awesome content. However they may not all be techsavvy. I for one am lost here !!

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yes, it is too nerdy still for mass appeal

Thank you for the post. I have yet to use the flagging mechanism but I think it is the most powerful protection system that steemit has. One of the things that I have watched on other sites like youtube is that the comments can be personally brutal and there is no retribution mechanism against the bullying. I have seen almost nothing of that here but I will use the flagging mechanism if i see it.

Thanks for this info. Very important. I try to do what I can. Still learning and trying to discern the scamsters.

The problem begins right at the top.

with great freedom comes great responsibility, social media is always a challenge / keep up the vigilance ! ty

Yes, it kinda start to be a problem.

I saw a few posts last days about flagging and down voting abuse. With some steemit users leaving the platform.

Don't know if is true or not but it is a big issue that people that working and wasting time to give good things here to be flagged and down voted by bot accounts or even real people with bad interest.

We can't do more than you said above, which we should always do. But if one of us is flagging one of that spammers and he comes back with 10 or more and hit back, then a rookie can abandon this place at a point.

I will save that channels and i will go there to try to mention what i see all the time.
I have saved one post where all the commentators were downvoted by 1 user. Without any reason... just for his fun!? Whatever. Crying is not a solution but there must be a way to fight against spammers, without hurting good users and flagging without a good reason.

On discord i joined the msp server. Are there any servers?

Thanks for that kind of post and keeping alive that problems too.

solid post with very good points. I am also concerned with the lack of action on Steemit's part. They need clear guidelines and some action points, so that we know where things are going and what actions to take.

Very good article, you have wrapped up what I have been clumsily trying to express in several awkward posts over the last couple months (since I started really, Id 202,915).
Thanks for putting it all together so well, resteem worthy if ever a post were.

Many bad faces in running a social media. It is as you say that they are just trying to take advantage by all means even though it sometimes harms many people. With togetherness we will be able to exterminate these bad guys. Keep each other informed for the good of steemit in the future.

Who will police this abuse? Here's my hunch and actually, recommendation: given the nature and direction of this new social media I believe it must police itself! By that I mean, these decentralized platforms are like our neighborhood. And neighbors must ban together, form neighborhood watch programs and ultimately take care of business - or business will leave. With decentralization comes freedom, with freedom comes power and (as we all now know thanks to Ben Parker) with great power comes great responsibility. Let's exercise that freedom / ability to respond and flag abusers down.

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That seems the case, for now. However, I would like to see Steemit take a more pro-active role in this, because they have some mega-whales with lots of SP that could be put to good use, instead of delegating ridiculous SP to a few select users (I won't point fingers here, it's not the scope of this post, but some people know who I'm talking about). If Steemit put their minds to it, and take some responsibility, it would make things easier for everyone.

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It's an interesting point. As someone new to steemit I've yet to learn how the algorithms work and how current incentive structure play out. If you have any info or posts on this that would be great. Thanks again

Interestingly some of those who you mention, are having interesting thoughts about chainflix and cartoontv (both from the same source, I'm pretty sure) and upvoting the posts to (I hope) only conter the downvotes instead of giving it real rewards.

So glad someone addresses these issues. The Dtube concern is specially scary. Resteeming for a wider audience.

I am really scared now you posted about some of the bad content eg child pornography not that I was not aware it was happening that people may be so public with it, what a horrible thought thank you for posting this good to make people aware.

Make a solution for spinned articles also! there are too many spinned articles here!

Hah, in few days here I just faced some bots. You did a good job on list all the rest of them. 👏 👍😉

Good read. I am glad I ran into your post. I share the exact same opinion as you have, at least in the first section of this post.

We do need to self police Steemit. I am anti-censorship because the entity that censors always has a bias. But what to do? This is a problem if it gets out of hand.

A thought. Compare Bitcoin which can be used to buy drugs or porn of any kind. It survives somehow. I suppose Steemit.com could be shut down by "the controlling entity of sites" but something else would pop up to interface with the blockchain.

I will follow you and watch - definitely considering you for witness.
Cheers.

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Thanks for your comment. I'm anti-censorship too, as long as the content is respectful and non-abusive. If we let people get away with offensive material, it would ruin the site. We need a few wolves to safeguard us. Not ideal, but necessary.