shiokku: (Default)
Shiokku ([personal profile] shiokku) wrote2010-10-21 08:28 pm

Security Issues and Suspect Staff at Livejournal

I. Suspended?!
This morning I woke up to discover that access to my account had been revoked. I wasn't too surprised because I regularly host anonymous "memes" and had tried my best to prevent any sort of libel from leaking into the most recent one. I thought it would be no problem to send off a request to Livejournal, delete the offending content I had missed, and be on my merry way.

However, I received the following response.


Dear user shiokku,

Your accounts were suspended because there was a large amount of evidence that they belong to a user whose use of LiveJournal has been terminated.

Regards,
Annika
LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team


... What? I haven't used another account on Livejournal since 2008. I initially thought someone had gotten access to my email and made a spam account, so I had a list of my usernames sent to myself... just [livejournal.com profile] shiokku. Nothing out of order. I went through my spam folder, my trash, every possible thing I could think of, and I still had no idea what they were talking about.

I did, however, have an email from my friend (who wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of her other accounts) sitting in my inbox, and guess what I found when I opened it up - her account had been suspended as well, for the same reason! We were in the middle of writing a note to Livejournal asking them to check their records, because it seems quite a few people had been suspended in error, when suddenly we realized something.


1. Before the most recent anonymous meme, on October 13th, I had been looking for more moderators, and I sent an email to [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us asking them if they'd want to participate.


Greetings,

This is shiokku and I'm wondering if any of you crazy people would
like to help mod the next anon meme this weekend. I have no idea about
the truth regarding what you investigated and honestly I don't care
either. I don't even know if you're sane, but I do know you are some
pretty dedicated people and you don't like BS, which makes you a
pretty good fit for a mod. I really only need one more person (already
have three) but if there's more than one of you, the more the merrier.
Don't need to know your real LJs.

Let me know.


I never received a reply but I didn't think anything of it.

2. My friend had recently left an anonymous comment for [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us, asking them to verify the authenticity of a certain image. She also never received a reply. Another comment has since been replied to, asking much the same question that she did, and to that comment [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us stated they "would not respond by email." This reply was left on October 19th, nearly a week after my initial email, as though they were trying to explain a lack of response.

Neither my friend nor I were entirely convinced that the "sleuthing" was entirely correct and we stated so. Interestingly, another friend, who stated publicly that she did believe the "sleuthing" was correct, and commented as such, was never suspended.


I had no other information regarding this situation until I saw this comment on, ironically, another anonymous meme, and at that point I knew we had a very serious problem.

II. Creepy comments on locked posts
It seems another user, [livejournal.com profile] takahiisa was, fascinatingly, encountering some odd behavior on Livejournal as well. When I first saw this person's comment, they were discussing a strange comment, but when they emailed me back it seems they've been - you guessed it - suspended as well.



hello,

um, I really don't know how to explain what happened. my friend and I were talking about your post and [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us' post on my journal, and we didn't know what we thought you know? so I said "innocent until proven guilty" and my friend replied "yeah," while I was answering her I got another comment notification in my inbox from someone called 'crazyprotein' and it said "guilty pays even if not for its original offense." now I at first thought nothing of it b/c I did have public posts but then I remembered I locked this post - and that is NOT my friend! so I went back to check and YES the post was locked, YES there was the lock icon, and really I am not stupid, I know how to lock a post. so I typed out a response and when I went to send it? the comment was gone.

then I thought, ok, maybe lj messed up and my entry became public, but my friend still had my post in cache on her friends list and, yup, it was locked. I don't know how this person got access to my entry and I don't know what else they did on my journal. so I put it an abuse request, explaining what happened, and within two hours BOTH MY ACCOUNT AND MY FRIEND'S ACCOUNT WERE SUSPENDED. livejournal won't respond to either of us asking why.



III. Mysterious commenter is LJ staff
Upon further investigation, it turns out that the person who commented on this locked post is a member - not a watcher - of [livejournal.com profile] lj_cares and [livejournal.com profile] lj_core, and is the maintainer of [livejournal.com profile] lj_advisory_ru. This person is either on Livejournal's staff or works with them closely. This explains how she had access to [livejournal.com profile] takahiisa's locked entry.

Now, I am a pretty reasonable person and I don't like crap. So far, this all seemed like a bunch of crap. Why the hell would a member of Livejournal's staff care about drama in an Asian boyband fandom? This is a staff member - surely staff members are held to high standards and Livejournal would not employ people who engage in drama, trolling, stalking, harassing, and general creepiness... right? No. Read on.

IV. The integrity of LJ staff
Unbelievably, this circus has happened before - more than once - and when it does happen, what does Livejournal do? Fire the staff involved? Apologize to the users? No. They do nothing.

Livejournal staff member 'dnewhall' leaves a comment that directly implies stalking ("hi. *eyes open wide* I'm watching.") on a locked post. Livejournal does not respond to the user for months; when a response is given, Livejournal denies wrongdoing and does not fire the staff member.

Livejournal explicitly allows staff member 'brenden' to create multiple sockpuppets and relentlessly troll other users. When his identity is revealed, Livejournal does nothing and offers no response or apology; 'brenden' is still a member of staff.

Livejournal staff member 'markf' - HEAD OF THE ABUSE TEAM - disregards user concerns, disparages them, and otherwise implies that Livejournal does not care about user satisfaction, security, or concerns.

V. What this means to you
Well, for one, it means that [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us doesn't actually exist for the fandom purpose of investigating rumors regarding Tegoshi Yuya's alleged girlfriend but either is or is connected to a staff member at Livejournal. Anyone who emails, comments, or does anything at all to say "hey, maybe it's kind of shitty of you to bash someone without proof outside of screencaps" ends up suspended, hacked, censored, or spied on. It's not possible that this is all a coincidence. Being a staff member/having access to staff material allows this person to manipulate entries, alter RSS feeds, edit/delete comments, forge timestamps and screencaps, and suspend/have suspended just about any account they wish. Accounts that were not suspended after the first sweep were suddenly suspended in the past 48 hours, immediately after I pointed out discrepancies in posts and information that could not possibly have been correct. For a cache of my post, click here. Within 72 hours of this post, every account I mentioned, as well as my own and a number of other accounts, suddenly became suspended.

More importantly, though, this means that Livejournal staff cannot be trusted and anything you put on the site - whether or not it is locked or protected - is vulnerable. The staff has no integrity and any pictures you post, any statements you make, any secrets you divulge - all of it can be used against you at the whim of a disgruntled staffer.

Livejournal knowingly employs individuals who, among other things, access user journals without permission or cause, leave unwanted comments on locked content, allow family members and friends access to their user accounts in order to enable stalking and malice, save photos of users without permission, and otherwise "troll" their own users - without reprimand.

I'll never get my account back after this, but at this point I don't give a crap. I wouldn't put any more content on that website if they paid me.

VI. Update - Livejournal violates its own policies
According to Livejournal's own documentation, "[i]f your journal has been suspended or placed in read-only mode, you should check the email account used for LiveJournal to see the warning or the explanation. If you haven't received any warnings by email, your email account or Internet Service Provider may be blocking email from LiveJournal."

I received no such email from Livejournal regarding the reason for my suspension. My email account is Gmail and Livejournal emails/comments/useless news posts have always arrived, in a timely fashion, without fail. I didn't receive the email because it was never sent - [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us/the staff member involved suspended my account to suit his/her own purposes and/or to shut me up instead of going through the process outlined by Livejournal.

VII. Update - Email from concerned individual
This morning I received an email from someone else who has encountered some strange behavior relating to [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us and/or Livejournal staff.



I've been reading the information you posted about this whole 'sleuths' thing. So you will understand that I'd want to remain anonymous since I like having an LJ and don't want to be suspended. However, if I can trust that you will not make my username public, I will let you know my username so you don't think I'm some random whack-job or anything. But since even you don't have much of a real identity, It's odd to know who to trust, you know?

Back in August, I was reading a post at sleuths that made my stomach churn, honestly all the posts they made have, in some way or another, made me upset. Nobody could possibly do anything--go to that much trouble--without malicious intent.

I had left an anon comment (I can't get back to it now because it is screened) making statements about them being malicious, how it was odd that they had not been suspended but every other account relating to this fiasco had (this was back in late August remember, so before the last sweep of suspensions) and asking why they didn't go to hontou's friends for information about her instead of going off of every single bad thing they could find. None of their information seemed solid to me. I told them to email me as not to make myself seem like I was hontou (I'm not, by the way), and to send it to this address. I didn't hear back for a few days so I stopped checking this account for a response since it is pretty much just a sockpuppet email account.

I'm finding a few things odd. I'm going to forward the email to you instead of copying and pasting it. But, you had mentioned in your DW post that sleuths said they would "not respond by email" yet they did so with me. You can find the email they used to contact me with in the forwarded message. I'm not sure if it will be of help to you, or if you really even care. But I'm just so boggled by how this has all happened in the timeline; the initial suspensions and then how even more happened after the last meme. Just because people don't agree with sleuths and publicly (or even non-publicly) state such, it gets them suspended or spied on, etc. There is too much questionable malice going on here for me to wrap my head around. Especially after seeing your account suspended.

What I found the most odd is in the email, they linked me to an entry of someone who has supposedly been duped by hontou in the past under a different username. After reading the entry in question, I found little, if anything, that it had to do with hontou being a malicious con artist or even linking her to it, even moreso because other evidence presented by sleuths on it has been conveniently washed away due to the account suspensions. No usernames were mentioned in the entry they linked me too, which was even more odd to me. I'm having issues with the point they are trying to make, what they are trying to prove, and why they cannot just leave well enough alone. Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. But I am also a person that got very upset with LJ and the problems with it's staff doing unsafe things with the users, especially after all these Facebook and Twitter integrations that are very unsafe. I wouldn't put anything past LJ staff now. Also yes, I am a member of fandom as well, but I figured that went without saying.

I don't know if this will be of help to you, but I wanted to pass it on, maybe having their email address could be of use. I also am amused about how they mentioned they were Tegoshi fans themselves.


The email she/he forwarded to me was this.


> My other teammates say you're [hontou] and I should ignore this comment.
> I'm going to answer you just in case you're someone real.
>
> You're exactly right. We started out talking about the Tegoshi rumors
> because we're fans and that sort of stuff is interesting but now our
> focus has changed.
>
> That's because stupid rumors about celebrities aren't really important
> but stealing? cheating? manipulating people? That's important. That's
> why we're focusing on that now.
>
> Let me ask you something- what would you do if you found out about a
> conman? Someone with many victims? Would you keep quiet or would you
> speak up? Can you deny there is someone linked to hontou and they did
> some pretty horrible things? Can you deny that the evidence points
> directly at hontou, even if she offers alternative reasons? Then how
> can you be so decisive when you say it can't be her and we're the bad
> guys? We have absolute confidence in our findings. We wouldn't have
> said anything in public if that wasn't the case.
>
> Do we think her friends are in on it? I don't. I don't think they know
> the truth either. It happened before.
>
> If you're just a random person- this is my answer.
>
> If you're her friend- I understand why you wrote this comment. You're
> doing what good friends do when a friend is in trouble. Can I just ask
> you to do one thing? Read this post:
> [redacted]
>
> If you're [hontou]- I'm not sure where you're going with this but let me
> tell you this: if you really care about your friends you would tell
> them the truth before history repeats itself.



Let's review the problems with this email, using their own words.

1a. "We started out talking about the Tegoshi rumors because we're fans."
1b. "[...]stupid rumors about celebrities aren't really important[...]"

2a. "Can you deny there is someone linked to hontou[...]"
2b. "Can you deny that the evidence points directly at hontou[...]"
2c. "Do we think her friends are in on it? I don't."

In a short email, I can produce at least five statements that contradict one or more other statements made in the same email. First it's [livejournal.com profile] hontou's friend - then it's [livejournal.com profile] hontou herself - then [livejournal.com profile] hontou's friends don't have anything to do with it. (?!) The shift from "we" to "I" in example 2c is particularly problematic.

VIII. Update - Livejournal harbors libel
In possibly the most informative comment ever left on the internet, someone explains why it can be none other than a member of Livejournal staff who is antagonizing users.



Hi, shiokku. You don't know me, but I'm a graduate law student and I wanted to share with you a few things regarding this post. Naturally, I'm posting anonymously because I'm concerned for the safety of my own account.

I looked at the sleuths_r_us account you mentioned and my jaw literally dropped. That is a defamation lawsuit waiting to happen. The only reason any website or internet service provider would accept that kind of liability is if they are either very stupid or harboring the person who wrote it.

I don't know how much you know about defamation law but I'll try to review it briefly.

There are two types of defamation - slander and libel. We're not dealing with slander here, but with libel, which is a written statement about a person that is malicious and untrue. In order to be considered "malicious," the statement must cast serious aspersions on the character of an individual or accuse them of doing something that is morally reprehensible or criminally wrong, which is certainly the case here. The person being defamed must also be reasonably identifiable, meaning that you cannot commit libel against an internet handle per se (i.e. if I say 'randomljuser489 has sex with monkeys,' identity cannot be established), but when you bring the person's name and place of residence into the equation, you have a suit.

The most common defense for libel is that of absolute truth, meaning that the person accused of libel knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accusations against the other person were true. You cannot establish absolute truth by skulking around the internet and pulling up information that was authored by anonymous people. Even if you can establish absolute truth, it isn't always accepted as a defense, because you also need to prove that there is a well-founded public interest to exposing someone's flaws, meaning that it is in the best interest of the public to hear what you are saying. The users of Livejournal do not constitute well-founded public interest because the average person is not a Livejournal user. This means that, even if what sleuths_r_us said WAS true, hontou and anyone else named has a libel suit because it was impossible for sleuths_r_us to have established absolute truth at the time the statements were made, and if they were to file, the suit would not only be against sleuths_r_us for making the statements, but against Livejournal for harboring them.

You see, then, that Livejournal is taking an extreme risk as a business by allowing such statements to exist on their servers. Why would any business do this? I can think of only three reasons.

a) They are unaware that the statements exist.
b) They are aware that the statements exist but refuse to remove them, citing a user's right to free speech, not realizing that this opens them up to legal action.
c) A member of staff is the author of these statements and can remove/edit/replace/destroy any evidence of them at will.

I doubt that (a) is the case, as doubtlessly countless users have alerted Livejournal to their existence, whether it be against one side or the other. Clearly, (b) is not the case, since Livejournal clearly has a legal staff and clearly cares more for themselves than for their users, as evidenced in Strikethrough and in the myriad dismissive responses given to users by staff. This leaves (c), and that is not only deplorable, but dangerous.

(http://shiokku.dreamwidth.org/363.html?thread=4971#cmt497)



IX. Update - Livejournal violates its own TOS
Incredibly, yet another LJ user has come forward to speak about abusive treatment by the Livejournal abuse staff.



Posting anon because I don't want to run the risk of losing my account.

This is just downright scary. I knew the people at the LJ staff -- particularly the abuse team -- were borderlining corrupt, but I had no idea it was this bad.

I've had my share of hell with the abuse staff. A great deal of it surrounded the "LJ allowing libel" issue, particularly with myself and a friend of mine, where a select group of users continuously posted flaming, untrue statements in an attempt at ruining our reputations. The worst of it, however, was the fact that not only did the LJ abuse staff refuse to act, but they lied repeatedly regarding the issue.

The worst of it for me was when these users posted my full name -- copied from my facebook page -- and encouraged the people on their friendlist to flame and even attempt violence. I reported it, because it constituted an invasion of privacy, but because it was from a locked entry, the response I received was simply "Sorry, we can't see locked entries."

What you and the others are going through now reminds me of that, and it scares the fuck out of me. =/ I certainly hope something is done about this. The sheer amount of moral bankruptcy involved in this is downright shocking.

Honestly, I'm more distraught over what's happening to you and the people like you. It's one thing to lie straightfaced and let this sort of harassment occur. It's another thing entirely to abuse your power and partake in the harassment yourself.

The only time the LJ abuse staff ever stepped in regarding the issue with my friend and I was after the harassers created a horrific fake account impersonating her, only twisting it around in such a way that it was downright sickening. They kind of had to do something after that. But even now, the people who caused us such problems are still posting regular public flames -- including not only a great deal of libel but also outright lies -- including our usernames and encouraging people to act against us. And we've given up on reporting it, because LJ has made it quite clear that they don't care.

I believe their first response to our reports about this was that it didn't "qualify as harassment" unless they used our full names or provided our real information. And when they finally DID go that far, they STILL refused to act by citing the "we can't see locked entries" BS. And since then, the people doing this have escalated to stalking us on Facebook and Twitter, even going so far as to try and manipulate our friends into giving them access to private posts. I truly believe that if LJ had acted on the first few abuse reports, it would have never gotten this far.

In addition to that, I'm further incensed by the fact that, when this first started, these people reported my friend for false, UNPROVABLE claims... and she got a warning.

(http://shiokku.dreamwidth.org/363.html?thread=10091#cmt10091)



The first issue with the way this person was treated was that she was blatantly lied to. Livejournal staff can, and do, access private and restricted entries at will. This disturbing comment thread explains that situation better than I ever can. My favorite part?


Locking is a waste of time if you're trying to hide posts from LJ staff. Closed support requests can be viewed by an assortment of folks as well, not just staff. I have never seen official word on it, but I have had plenty of unofficial words over the years with those who have privs, and I used to lurk in communities like LJ Abuse Abuse (yes, that's two Abuses in the name; it was made up of former angry volunteers - I used to troll them years ago) on how they're able to use those privs, if they want. It's nonsense on any LJ-based platform to think that your entries and/or closed support requests cannot be seen by anyone who's staff, and by certain volunteers as well. There are volunteers on this site trusted beyond all shadow of a doubt, who do a lot of good for the site, normally, who have admitted to me that...well, just guess the rest. It's nonsense to think that locking a post or closing a support request keeps those away from any of them.

(http://news.livejournal.com/125326.html?thread=83055502#t83055502)


The second issue is that Livejournal, by treating us the way it did, is violating its own TOS.


You agree to NOT use the Service to:

1. Upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive to another's privacy (up to, but not excluding any address, email, phone number, or any other contact information without the written consent of the owner of such information), hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

11. "Stalk" or otherwise harass another person or company;

(http://www.livejournal.com/legal/tos.bml)


Nobody can argue that, regardless of validity, what is posted on [livejournal.com profile] sleuths_r_us is harmful, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, libelous, and invasive to another's privacy. Again, nobody can argue that, regardless of validity, what was done to the above commenter and her friend was much the same. Livejournal has an obligation - according to its own terms - to remove this content, yet it is allowed to persist because it is owned by a staff member, and because the abuse staff finds it amusing and/or doesn't care.

The people who will find this post represent a minuscule portion of the Livejournal userbase. If these people alone can present these instances of Livejournal staff abusing its power, what else have they done, and how many people have they done it to?

X. Update - Livejournal staff has been knowingly corrupt for years
While Googling for more possible victims, I came across this blog from 2006. The sidebar details a situation that is identical to the one we are facing today, and the entries detail rampant abuse of power, prejudice, and suspensions without merit.



LJ Abuse runs rampant across LiveJournal, suspending accounts at will with no oversight and no appeal. The abuse team tosses around legal terminology with no idea what it means, and users are informed of rules only after being suspended for breaking them. Argue back and they will go in to your locked entries looking for ammunition against you.

It's time for a new LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team, a new manager, and a clean slate.

(http://ljabuse.blogspot.com)


The first entries were made in March of 2006, so this problem has been going on for nearly five years with no resolution or explanation from Livejournal. Additionally, there has never been a "clean slate;" the same staff members listed in some of these blog entries still maintain their status with Livejournal. This means that Livejournal has knowingly been putting your private information at risk for nearly half a decade.


You might also be interested in having a look at the community [livejournal.com profile] abuse_lj_abuse, which contains a post I found rather interesting and appropriate to this situation.


First off, evidence suggests that LJ Support and LJ Abuse are corrupted by friendships with members of the open-sewer passing for a community I refer to occasionally as "dot_vicious_abuse", and similar communities related to it -- members of "d_v_a" have bragged about their connections with Support on multiple occasions, daring their victims to file TOS grievances, laughing about their immunity.

(http://community.livejournal.com/abuse_lj_abuse/77919.html)


XI. Update - Inconsistency and legality
I've been reading over the blog I linked in my last update, and some of what I found seems like it could have walked out of this case even though it was written in 2006.



[...]Suspensions are meant to be overseen by two abuse team members but neither of them looked at the IP addresses or the content of the journals to figure out that they were all different people in different places (states, timezones, continents).[...]

[...]They also went in and read her friends only entries[...]

LJ Abuse can suspend people on grounds of what they infer, but they suspend different people's journals thinking they are the same person. If they can't figure out that these three people were different people, if two people looked at the case and didn't look to see where the people were posting from or look at all the information that would show they were different people, do we trust what they infer?

(http://ljabuse.blogspot.com/2006/03/more-questionable-suspensions.html)


From this, we can infer that Livejournal is either horrendously stupid or deliberately malicious. A quick read over the entry explains that certain accounts were suspended because Livejournal "thought" they belonged to someone else. They didn't. Under pressure, Livejournal admitted its mistake and unsuspended the accounts, but one of the people wrongfully suspended had created a new account, not understanding why the first had been taken away. What did Livejournal do? Apologize? No. They resuspended her.


This next one is my favorite.


Under Harassment we read that they will suspend journals used "solely for the purpose of entries [or comments] about a particular user and/or community that fall under the definition of harassment or invasion of privacy." No where do they provide a definition of harassment, so we might reasonably assume that they are refering to the legal definition, but no. Harassment is whatever LJ Abuse decides it is if they want to suspend an account.

[...]Post something in a locked community that the abuse team decides is incitement to harass though, and they will take action, even if the post goes something like "hey look at these losers in [redacted] community," and someone leaves "harassing" comments in the community.

(http://ljabuse.blogspot.com/2006/03/like-you-though-i-just-dont-trust-lj.html)


Let's recap.

LJ Abuse will suspend for ridiculous reasons such as making fun of bad cosplay or saying that anyone who writes fanfiction about Lazy Town is rather odd. They are not, however, taking action on a journal that exists solely to disparage the reputation of someone else.

I wonder why this could be. My guess is that if you or I made a journal whose only three entries existed solely to accuse another random user of being a fraud and a criminal, it would be gone in less than 12 hours. Know the right people, though, and you are apparently free to spit in the face of whomever you like.

XI. Update - Livejournal endangers minors
I'd like to share an extremely disturbing comment I received. I've actually been getting a lot of horrifying comments, so read through them if you like, but this one is so bad that I have to add it to the main post.



LJ doesnt give a shit about legal stuff.

A community im in is undergoing some harassment from a 3rd party website creator. He is claiming we posted liable comments about him and his website. He emailed two websites about it - LJ and Twitter. He sent them a scan of a subpoena he got made out at his local court house. Twitter took it a little better than LJ, but they still missed so much - but this post is about LJ, not Twitter.

LJ immediately gave the man the IP addresses of ALL users, and also gave him access to see all the Members Only entries in the community, despite the fact that its a very...close-knit community that had (at the time) closed membership, etc.

This man then took a screencap of the info he got from searching around with someones IP, and posted it to his Twitter. It included a home address. The girl contacted LJ about it, and they told them it was "part of their policy" to surrender any information to the authorities.

This man is no where near being an authority figure. He owns a (failed) drama website that closed down. The best part is, the subpoena wasnt even SIGNED by a Court Clerk. It was signed by the man himself.

When LJ was told about this, they completely disregarded the emails, and continued to give him access to all of the members information, even after users alerted LJ of the fact that this man has a history of posted addresses of minors and telling people to show up at their house with guns and knives- again, ignored.

The real kicker? This guy tried to sue LJ earlier this year for the same reason. lolol

TL;DR - LJ not only knows shit all about legal stuff, they dont CARE either. A quick glance at the "subpoena" would reveal it's fake, yet multiple users have had their accounts suspended because the man threatened to sue LJ again. They kicked off innocent users to cover their own ass, and illegally gave out information about people.

(http://shiokku.dreamwidth.org/363.html?thread=52331#cmt52331)



This is horrendous. I don't even have to comment on this one - it stands on its own. Livejournal, which claims to care for the safety of its users, is willing to provide personal information about minors to shady individuals as long as they scribble something on a piece of paper and send it in. I guess the only people worth protecting are the people who work for them!
shibaru: (Default)

[personal profile] shibaru 2010-10-22 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
So, in the end, what does this mean for the hate memes? Moving? New person organizing? Back to how it used to be?


(What. I feel a need to know as an active participant.)

(no subject)

[personal profile] shibaru - 2010-10-22 02:36 (UTC) - Expand
(screened comment)
meissa: (bite u)

[personal profile] meissa 2010-10-22 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks so much for letting us know of all the wtfery.

Also, it's sad. Your love-filled hate memes were the best. :c

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
WTF, this has gotten so out of hand.

We'll miss you, anyway. :(

RFCnxmatSDmrCzbaMT

(Anonymous) - 2014-04-05 09:44 (UTC) - Expand
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (Default)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2010-10-22 11:32 am (UTC)(link)
Total stranger commenting to say thanks for the heads up!

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)
that's disturbing, if not downright disgusting. everytime something happens on livejournal, it just gets more horrifying. it gets to the point where you start wondering if there are any decent people in the world.

the only reason I'm still stuck at livejournal is the fandom...same with every other user out there, I suppose. if only everyone could move at the same time. I always felt it's amazing how a large part of the Harry Potter community just moved to insanejournal D:

*sigh* I love the hate memes, but I never expected this to get so complicated. thanks for the detailed post (and the good times!).

LiveJournal

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 07:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi, [personal profile] shiokku. You don't know me, but I'm a graduate law student and I wanted to share with you a few things regarding this post. Naturally, I'm posting anonymously because I'm concerned for the safety of my own account.

I looked at the [profile] sleuths_r_us account you mentioned and my jaw literally dropped. That is a defamation lawsuit waiting to happen. The only reason any website or internet service provider would accept that kind of liability is if they are either very stupid or harboring the person who wrote it.

I don't know how much you know about defamation law but I'll try to review it briefly.

There are two types of defamation - slander and libel. We're not dealing with slander here, but with libel, which is a written statement about a person that is malicious and untrue. In order to be considered "malicious," the statement must cast serious aspersions on the character of an individual or accuse them of doing something that is morally reprehensible or criminally wrong, which is certainly the case here. The person being defamed must also be reasonably identifiable, meaning that you cannot commit libel against an internet handle per se (i.e. if I say '[profile] randomljuser489 has sex with monkeys,' identity cannot be established), but when you bring the person's name and place of residence into the equation, you have a suit.

The most common defense for libel is that of absolute truth, meaning that the person accused of libel knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accusations against the other person were true. You cannot establish absolute truth by skulking around the internet and pulling up information that was authored by anonymous people. Even if you can establish absolute truth, it isn't always accepted as a defense, because you also need to prove that there is a well-founded public interest to exposing someone's flaws, meaning that it is in the best interest of the public to hear what you are saying. The users of Livejournal do not constitute well-founded public interest because the average person is not a Livejournal user. This means that, even if what [profile] sleuths_r_us said WAS true, [personal profile] hontou and anyone else named has a libel suit because it was impossible for [profile] sleuths_r_us to have established absolute truth at the time the statements were made, and if they were to file, the suit would not only be against [profile] sleuths_r_us for making the statements, but against Livejournal for harboring them.

You see, then, that Livejournal is taking an extreme risk as a business by allowing such statements to exist on their servers. Why would any business do this? I can think of only three reasons.

a) They are unaware that the statements exist.
b) They are aware that the statements exist but refuse to remove them, citing a user's right to free speech, not realizing that this opens them up to legal action.
c) A member of staff is the author of these statements and can remove/edit/replace/destroy any evidence of them at will.

I doubt that (a) is the case, as doubtlessly countless users have alerted Livejournal to their existence, whether it be against one side or the other. Clearly, (b) is not the case, since Livejournal clearly has a legal staff and clearly cares more for themselves than for their users, as evidenced in Strikethrough and in the myriad dismissive responses given to users by staff. This leaves (c), and that is not only deplorable, but dangerous.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't suppose you want to send the lj staff an email along those lines? I was thinking the same things last night, but I'm not well acquainted with the legal system. Perhaps if they're informed that users are aware that we have the right to sue them for this stuff, they'll get around to doing something.

It certainly doesn't help that people seem to know who hontou is, and she's received threats of physical violence.

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[personal profile] charmian 2010-10-22 07:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi, someone sent me a link to your post. This is a very, very disturbing story. I'm linking this on my journal; I don't know if LJ ever undoes suspensions, but maybe someone who reads it can advise?

(Also, BTW, the links to journals all lead to DW journals. You might want to change them so that they lead to LJ journals)

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello,

As much as I want to comment with my LiveJournal username - I believe I can't because of fear of getting a suspended notice in my LiveJournal as well.

However, I am known as rainbow_sauce on Twitter. You have started to follow me and I was wondering why you did so I looked on your feed. Needless to say, after reading not even half of this (of which I am planning to read more later whenever the time permits), I am in shock that the LiveJournal staff would abuse their power this way. As a member and as a paid user, I've always wanted a permanent account on LiveJournal because my username is extremely sentimental to me and so is the time, friends, sweat, tears, laughs, memories in general on it.

I am disappointed in the staff of LiveJournal for doing this to you and your friend. I will come back later and comment on the rest of the entry when I have time. Unfortunately, now is not it. :( But just know that this is just shocking.

Over a boyband drama? Really? SRU are pretty asinine for being that brutal to hontou, because really, lying about making out with a boyband member is pretty silly and doesn't warrants that much hate/anger/etc.

Again, I shall have to come back later and read more because I am curious about it. Thank for following me and, in a way, making me read this. I need to read to as a paid member of LiveJournal.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
i agree with this person. i'm yamarainbow on Twitter, i know you there, but i'm going to change my Twitter name just in case.

everything sleuths_r_us said made so much sense, they were so detailed and had all the proof. i thought for sure that hontou was guilty of - well maybe not lying, since she never said anything herself iirc, but letting the rumors get out of hand at least. then they explained how she conned people and i thought for sure they were right again, even though i didn't understand things like how that other girl's post fit into it, and how they could be sure someone on a forum was her, etc. but i believed them! and i wrote on my journal that hontou was a scammer and a liar! i made jokes about it! and i said a lot of things that were wrong.

but now it looks like every single thing they said was a lie. of course if you are lj staff you can manipulate anything to be anything you want. this is beyond any stupid rumors, if she's dating tegoshi then whatever, this is about integrity and privacy and livejournal spying on its own users, and it makes me sick.

all of those people that were suspended as hontou's "sockpuppets" - they were all real people too weren't they? enchantingly, tinycharm, your two friends, everyone. all of those people lost their journals because lj is abusing its power and all they were guilty of was being news fans and posting about the rumors.

i am beyond creeped out. this is disgusting. revolting. abusive. i can't even.

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[personal profile] peculiaritea 2010-10-22 08:58 pm (UTC)(link)
c) A member of staff is the author of these statements and can remove/edit/replace/destroy any evidence of them at will.

Taking this possibility a step further... I also study law and know that when a business has been slapped with so much as a threat of litigation, or can reasonably presume that litigation may result from an incident, that business has a responsibility to put a freeze on all data purges. It doesn't matter how cumbersome the task is, they must take all steps necessary to preserve every single shred of data and metadata, right down to the last kilobyte.

In terms of computers, data is never really deleted; it is only overwritten. When you delete a file from your desktop and send it to your recycle bin, and then empty the bin, the file is still on your hard drive and can be retrieved by anyone who knows what they're doing. The computer has only marked it as ok to overwrite, but it is never really gone until the machine has actually saved something else in its place.

If, in fact, the person at the heart of all of this is someone who can erase all evidence of their actions, then Livejournal has a very big problem, indeed. This person may be acting without the company's knowledge, which is a legal liability in and of itself, but if this person (or team of persons?) is acting with Livejournal's knowledge, then there is an even bigger legal issue on the table.

Either way, I'm having trouble finding reasons to stay at Livejournal. I've been there for over nine years, but lately I just don't feel like it's worth staying.

I don't feel like I can leave, though, because all of the amazing people I've met through Livejournal aren't spending much time at DW or other sites. :\

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
i knew it Brenden :(

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
same, i KNEW he was scum.

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[personal profile] yuuma - 2010-10-22 23:50 (UTC) - Expand

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I know this is probably a really dumb suggestion, but I would love to see if someone had the balls to make an account on LJ, post and say something against sleuths/LJ staff, make sure it gets seen, and then see how long it takes for sleuths/LJ staff to sweep it under the rug.

I'd do it but you know... having my LJ taken away by a bunch of crazies doesn't sound like a fun way to spend my friday.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 09:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I was thinking about it. It would require even a fake email address, though. Ugh.

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 10:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Posting anon because I don't want to run the risk of losing my account.

This is just downright scary. I knew the people at the LJ staff -- particularly the abuse team -- were borderlining corrupt, but I had no idea it was this bad.

I've had my share of hell with the abuse staff. A great deal of it surrounded the "LJ allowing libel" issue, particularly with myself and a friend of mine, where a select group of users continuously posted flaming, untrue statements in an attempt at ruining our reputations. The worst of it, however, was the fact that not only did the LJ abuse staff refuse to act, but they lied repeatedly regarding the issue.

The worst of it for me was when these users posted my full name -- copied from my facebook page -- and encouraged the people on their friendlist to flame and even attempt violence. I reported it, because it constituted an invasion of privacy, but because it was from a locked entry, the response I received was simply "Sorry, we can't see locked entries."

What you and the others are going through now reminds me of that, and it scares the fuck out of me. =/ I certainly hope something is done about this. The sheer amount of moral bankruptcy involved in this is downright shocking.

tl;dr: wtf???

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 11:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Thinking about it even more, if sleuths_r_us is on/allied with staff and has the power to delete journals for scamming, they should've just done that, without all the posts trying to ruin her reputation.

Not sure what that means in context.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-22 11:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, that's a good point anon. They didn't give a crap about whether or not the scamming allegations were true - they just cared about trashing her.

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I've seen you around LJ

(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
One of my friends linked me to this post on her LJ and I can honestly say that I'm shocked.
I don't really get the whole story because partly because I don't really understand the issue with sleuths.
maybe you could try simplifying the issue??

Thanks for the heads up though.
I've been on indefinite hiatus in terms of posting on my own LJ but it appears that I will continue to be indefinite hiatus after reading this.

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 02:47 am (UTC)(link)
Anyone else notice how sleuths has failed to post a rebuttal this time? Last time they were very prompt in trying to cover their ass, I wish more people would see this post and know how much BS they've actually gotten away with. I also wish they'd return to whatever armpit of the internet they came from before more innocent people get hurt.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 02:57 am (UTC)(link)
I noticed the same thing. Funny, that.

Even if they tried to come up with some excuse, there's nothing they can possibly say to explain this. It goes too far back and way too deep, and has affected more than just one or two people. My friends and I have been linking this to everyone we know because this is something everyone should know whether they're in fandom or not.

The jig, as they say, is up, and it's horrible that innocent people had to get hurt before they were exposed.

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 05:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for taking the time to make this very detailed post. You might operate in complete anonymity but I think you are one of the few people in fandom who actually cares about the other people in fandom, because even though you run the memes you always try to protect us, whether it's from disgusting spam, cookie-grabbers, and now this.

Something about the "sleuths" never sat right with me and now I see my intuition was correct. I'm sorry about what happened to you and to everyone else and I hope your journals are reinstated.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 07:00 pm (UTC)(link)
They're now going after people who RT your warning to others and list their LJ on their profiles.

http://twitter.com/johnnyhkitagawa/status/28520617913

(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 07:55 pm (UTC)(link)
This is REALLY scary. I'm so glad I protect my tweets =/

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(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 07:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't have anything useful to contribute, but thank you so much for doing all this. ♥

(Anonymous) 2010-10-23 10:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for alerting us to this. LJ has done a lot of crappy things in recent years, but ignoring and/or refusing to investigate the abuse by one of its staff members may be one of the most egregious offenses yet.

Because of the possibility of suspension and because LJ doesn't seem to care about user complaints, I suggest taking this issue to third parties like tech-related blogs and websites (as I have seen some report about LJ's failings before). If LJ is not going to listen to customers, they'll at least be more pressured to do something if they're called out by bigwigs and perceive a potential threat to their business. And be sure to gather all the evidence you can to support your statement.
mithra: (cutey bear.)

[personal profile] mithra 2010-10-23 11:11 pm (UTC)(link)
And this is exactly why I have a method of saving every goddamn thing I can get my hands on.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-24 01:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi. My DW handle's the same as my LJ even though I've quit LJ (I kept the account to read flocked posts) so yeah, posting anon. I just want to say WTF IS THIS SHIT. *RAGE*

This is disgusting. I'm from where the internet is censored and it's still better than LiveJournal lolwut?

(Anonymous) 2010-10-24 04:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Still no word from sleuths. UGH. I so want people to see this so they can really see how batshit they and LJ staff are, but I know if I repost this anywhere, I'm basically putting my head in a guillotine.
shofisting: (Default)

[personal profile] shofisting 2010-10-24 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
This is some crazy ass shit.

Are we going to relocate here? :D Or have you gotten out of the hate meme business after all of this?

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miss_jely: (yoyo appraisal)

[personal profile] miss_jely 2010-10-24 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm really upset with this news, it's horrible to find out the site I've spent hours on since 2005 treats its users this way and disregards its own TOS. I have no problem moving over to DW, now that this has all come to light. Thank you very much for sharing all of this info and updating it with new information.

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