How to stop social media censorship and protect your identity online
Posted On September 10, 2021
A social media company that monitors and blocks accounts belonging to people with suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) could be a threat to your online privacy, the Federal Trade Commission has warned.
Social media company Yik Yak could be used to facilitate illegal purchases or sell illegal goods, according to the FTC’s Office of Federal Trade Policy.
Social-media companies can be a key tool in the arms race in the fight against terrorism, according Paul Wiebe, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a free-market think tank in Washington.
Companies that track and block online users with suspected ties to the extremist group, or those who are already on the list, could be vulnerable to identity theft and other forms of cybercrime, Wiebbe said.
He said the FTC is looking into whether social-media services could be liable for illegal activity, and if so, for how they protect customers’ privacy.
Yik Yak is a service that allows users to send anonymous text messages or share photos and videos with others.
The service was launched by Instagram Inc. in 2015 and has grown rapidly since.
Last year, it was used by nearly 50 million people worldwide, according the company.
Facebook Inc. has blocked access to several accounts, including one for former President Donald Trump.
Yak has been the subject of legal action by government agencies including the FTC and the Justice Department, and other courts, including in New York state, since it was launched.
In 2016, Yik’s parent company, Twitter Inc., filed a complaint with the FTC alleging that Yik was facilitating illegal activity.
In a statement, Yanky told the FTC in April that it was “working closely with the Department of Justice to understand how it could be taken down, and how to prevent such a result from occurring again.”
Yik said in its statement that the FTC has “taken the unprecedented step of requesting information from Yik to ensure that it will not be used in any way that violates the law.”
The FTC said the agency will consider all of the information it receives.