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Bitcoin - The Currency of the Internet
A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, though people of all political philosophies are welcome.
A few stories about Brian Krebs: The independent cybercrime journalist who exposes criminals on the internet
First, a bit of introduction before we get into the living drama that is Brian Krebs. Brian Krebs has been a journalist for decades, starting in the late 90s. He got his start at The Washington Post, but what he's most famous for are his exposes on criminal businesses and individuals who perpetuate cyber crime worldwide. In 2001, he got his interest in cybercrime piqued when a computer worm locked him out of his own computer. In 2005, he shifted from working as a staff writer at The Washington Post's tech newswire to writing for their security blog, "Security Wire". During his tenure there, he started by focusing on the victims of cybercrime, but later also started to focus on the perpetrators of it as well. His reporting helped lead to the shutdown of McColo, a hosting provider who provided service to some of the world's biggest spammers and hackers. Reports analyzing the shutdown of McColo estimated that global spam volume dropped by between 40 and 70 percent. Further analysis revealed it also played host to child pornography sites, and the Russian Business Network, a major Russian cybercrime ring. In 2009, Krebs left to start his own site, KrebsOnSecurity. Since then, he's been credited with being the first to report on major events such as Stuxnet and when Target was breached, resulting in the leakage of 40 million cards. He also regularly investigates and reveals criminals' identities on his site. The latter has made him the bane of the world of cybercrime, as well as basically a meme, where criminals will include references like Made by Brian Krebs in their code, or name their shops full of stolen credit cards after him. One of his first posts on his new site was a selection of his best work. While not particularly dramatic, they serve as an excellent example of dogged investigative work, and his series reveal the trail of takedowns his work has documented, or even contributed to. And now, a selection of drama involving Krebs. Note, all posts are sarcastically-tinged retellings of the source material which I will link throughout. I also didn't use the real names in my retellings, but they are in the source material. This took way too long to write, and it still does massively condense the events described in the series. Krebs has been involved with feuds with other figures, but I'd argue these tales are the "main" bits of drama that are most suited for here.
Fly on the Wall
By 2013, Krebs was no stranger to cybercriminals taking the fight to the real world. He was swatted previously to the point where the police actually know to give him a ring and see if there'd actually been a murder, or if it was just those wacky hackers at it again. In addition, his identity was basically common knowledge to cybercriminals, who would open lines of credit in his name, or find ways to send him money using stolen credit cards. However, one particular campaign against him caught his eye. A hacker known as "Fly" aka "Flycracker" aka "MUXACC1" posted on a Russian-language fraud forum he administered about a "Krebs fund". His plan was simple. Raise Bitcoin to buy Heroin off of a darknet marketplace, address it to Krebs, and alert his local police via a spoofed phone call. Now, because Krebs is an investigative journalist, he develops undercover presences on cybercrime forums, and it just so happened he'd built up a presence on this one already.
Guys, it became known recently that Brian Krebs is a heroin addict and he desperately needs the smack, so we have started the "Helping Brian Fund", and shortly we will create a bitcoin wallet called "Drugs for Krebs" which we will use to buy him the purest heroin on the Silk Road. My friends, his withdrawal is very bad, let’s join forces to help the guy! We will save Brian from the acute heroin withdrawal and the world will get slightly better!
Fly had first caught Krebs' attention by taunting him on Twitter, sending him Tweets including insults and abuse, and totally-legit looking links. Probably either laced with malware, or designed to get Krebs' IP. He also took to posting personal details such as Krebs' credit report, directions to his house, and pictures of his front door on LiveJournal, of all places. So, after spotting the scheme, he alerted his local police that he'd probably have someone sending him some China White. Sure enough, the ne'er-do-wells managed to raise 2 BTC, which at the time was a cool $200 or so. They created an account on the premiere darknet site at the time, The Silk Road under the foolproof name "briankrebs7". They found one seller who had consistently high reviews, but the deal fell through for unknown reasons. My personal theory is the seller decided to Google where it was going, and realized sending a gram of dope into the waiting arms of local law enforcement probably wasn't the best use of his time. Still, the forum members persevered, and found another seller who was running a buy 10 get 2 free promotion. $165 of Bitcoin later, the drugs were on their way to a new home. The seller apparently informed Fly that the shipment should arrive by Tuesday, a fact which he gleefully shared with the forum. While our intrepid hero had no doubt that the forum members were determined to help him grab the tail of the dragon, he's not one to assume without confirmation, and enlisted the help of a graduate student at UCSD who was researching Bitcoin and anonymity on The Silk Road, and confirmed the address shared by Fly was used to deposit 2 BTC into an account known to be used for money management on the site. By Monday, an envelope from Chicago had arrived, containing a copy of Chicago confidential. Taped inside were tiny baggies filled with the purported heroin. Either dedicated to satisfied customers, or mathematically challenged, the seller had included thirteen baggies instead of the twelve advertised. A police officer arrived to take a report and whisked the baggies away. Now, Fly was upset that Krebs wasn't in handcuffs for drug possession, and decided to follow up his stunt by sending Krebs a floral arrangement shaped like a cross, and an accompanying threatening message addressed to his wife, the dire tone slightly undercut by the fact that it was signed "Velvet Crabs". Krebs' curiosity was already piqued from the shenanigans with the heroin, but with the arrival of the flowers decided to dive deeper into the сука behind things. He began digging into databases from carding sites that had been hacked, but got his first major breakthrough to his identity from a Russian computer forensics firm. Fly had maintained an account on a now-defunct hacking forum, whose database was breached under "Flycracker". It turns out, the email Flycracker had used was also hacked at some point, and a source told Krebs that the email was full of reports from a keylogger Fly had installed on his wife's computer. Now, because presumably his wife wasn't part of, or perhaps even privy to her husband's illicit dealings, her email account happened to be her full legal name, which Krebs was able to trace to her husband. Now, around this time, the site Fly maintained disappeared from the web, and administrators on another major fraud forum started purging his account. This is a step they typically take when they suspect a member has been apprehended by authorities. Nobody knew for sure, but they didn't want to take any chances. More research by Krebs revealed that the criminals' intuition had been correct, and Fly was arrested in Italy, carrying documents under an assumed name. He was sitting in an Italian jail, awaiting potential extradition to the United States, as well as potentially facing charges in Italy. This was relayed to Krebs by a law enforcement official who simply said "The Fly has been swatted". (Presumably while slowly removing a pair of aviator sunglasses) While Fly may have been put away, the story between Krebs and Fly wasn't quite over. He did end up being extradited to the US for prosecution, but while imprisoned in Italy, Fly actually started sending Krebs letters. Understandably distrustful after the whole "heroin" thing, his contacts in federal law enforcement tested the letter, and found it to be clean. Inside, there was a heartfelt and personal letter, apologizing for fucking with Krebs in so many ways. He also forgave Krebs for posting his identity online, leading him to muse that perhaps Fly was working through a twelve-step program. In December, he received another letter, this time a simple postcard with a cheerful message wishing him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Krebs concluded his post thusly:
Cybercrooks have done some pretty crazy stuff to me in response to my reporting about them. But I don’t normally get this kind of closure. I look forward to meeting with Fly in person one day soon now that he will be just a short train ride away. And he may be here for some time: If convicted on all charges, Fly faces up to 30 years in U.S. federal prison.
Criminals are none too happy when they find their businesses and identities on the front page of KrebsOnSecurity. It usually means law enforcement isn't far behind. One such business was known as vDOS. A DDOS-for-hire (also known as a "booter" or a "stresser") site that found itself hacked, with all their customer records still in their databases leaked. Analysis of the records found that in a four-month time span, the service had been responsible for about 8.81 years worth of attack time, meaning on average at any given second, there were 26 simultaneous attacks running. Interestingly, the hack of vDOS came about from another DDOS-for-hire site, who as it turns out was simply reselling services provided by vDOS. They were far from the only one. vDOS appeared to provide firepower to a large number of different resellers. In addition to the attack logs, support messages were also among the data stolen. This contained some complaints from various clients who complained they were unable to launch attacks against Israeli IPs. This is a common tactic by hackers to try and avoid unwanted attention from authorities in their country of residence. This was confirmed when two men from Israel were arrested for their involvement in owning and running vDOS. However, this was just the beginning for this bit of drama. The two men arrested went by the handles "applej4ck" and "Raziel". They had recently published a paper on DDOS attack methods in an online Israeli security magazine. Interestingly, on the same day the men were arrested, questioned, and released on bail, vDOS went offline. Not because it had been taken down by Israeli authorities, not because they had shut it down themselves, but because a DDOS protection firm, BackConnect Security, had hijacked the IP addresses belonging to the company. To spare a lot of technical detail, it's called a BGP hijack, and it basically works by a company saying "Yeah, those are our addresses." It's kind of amazing how much of the internet is basically just secured by the digital equivalent of pinky swears. You can read some more technical detail on Wikipedia. Anyway, we'll get back to BackConnect. Following the publication of the story uncovering the inner workings of vDOS, KrebsOnSecurity was hit with a record breaking DDOS attack, that peaked at 620/Gbps, nearly double the most powerful DDOS attack previously on record. To put that in perspective, that's enough bandwidth to download 5 simultaneous copies of Interstellar in 4K resolution every single second, and still have room to spare. The attack was so devastating, Akamai, one of the largest providers of DDOS protection in the world had to drop Krebs as a pro bono client. Luckily, Google was willing to step in and place his site under the protection of Google's Project Shield, a free service designed to protect the news sites and journalists from being knocked offline by DDOS attacks. This attack was apparently in retaliation for the vDOS story, since some of the data sent in the attack included the string "freeapplej4ck". The attack was executed by a botnet of Internet of Things (or IoT) devices. These are those "smart" devices like camera systems, routers, DVRs. Basically things that connect to the cloud. An astounding amount of those are secured with default passwords that can be easily looked up from various sites or even the manufacturers' websites. This was the start of a discovery of a massive botnet that had been growing for years. Now time for a couple quick side stories: Dyn, a company who provides DNS to many major companies including Twitter, Reddit, and others came under attack, leaving many sites (including Twitter and Reddit) faltering in the wake of it. Potentially due to one of their engineers' collaboration with Krebs on another story. It turned out that the same botnet that attacked Krebs' site was at least part of the attack on Dyn And back to BackConnect, that DDOS protection firm that hijacked the IP addresses from vDOS. Well it turns out BGP Hijacks are old hat for the company. They had done it at least 17 times before. Including at least once (purportedly with permission) for the address 188.8.131.52. Aka, "leet". It turns out one of the co-founders of BackConnect actually posted screenshots of him visiting sites that tell you your public IP address in a DDOS mitigation industry chat, showing it as 184.108.40.206. They also used a BGP Hijack against a hosting company and tried to frame a rival DDOS mitigation provider. Finally, another provider, Datawagon was interestingly implicated in hosting DDOS-for-hire sites while offering DDOS protection. In a Skype conversation where the founder of Datawagon wanted to talk about that time he registered dominos.pizza and got sued for it, he brings up scanning the internet for vulnerable routers completely unprompted. Following the publication of the story about BackConnect, in which he was included in, he was incensed about his portrayal, and argued with Krebs over Skype before Krebs ultimately ended up blocking him. He was subsequently flooded with fake contact requests from bogus or hacked Skype accounts. Shortly thereafter, the record-breaking DDOS attack rained down upon his site. Back to the main tale! So, it turns out the botnet of IoT devices was puppeteered by a malware called Mirai. How did it get its name? Well, that's the name its creator gave it, after an anime called Mirai Nikki. How did this name come to light? The creator posted the source code online. (The name part, not the origin. The origin didn't come 'til later.) The post purported that they'd picked it up from somewhere in their travels as a DDOS industry professional. It turns out this is a semi-common tactic when miscreants fear that law enforcement might come looking for them, and having the only copy of the source code of a malware in existence is a pretty strong indicator that you have something to do with it. So, releasing the source to the world gives a veneer of plausible deniability should that eventuality come to pass. So who was this mysterious benefactor of malware source? They went by the name "Anna-senpai". As research on the Mirai botnet grew, and more malware authors incorporated parts of Mirai's source code into their own attacks, attention on the botnet increased, and on the people behind it. The attention was presumably the reason why Hackforums, the forum where the source code was posted, later disallowed ostensible "Server Stress Tester" services from being sold on it. By December, "Operation Tarpit" had wrought 34 arrests and over a hundred "knock and talk" interviews questioning people about their involvement. By January, things started to come crashing down. Krebs published an extensive exposé on Anna-senpai detailing all the evidence linking them to the creation of Mirai. The post was so big, he included a damn glossary. What sparked the largest botnet the internet had ever seen? Minecraft. Minecraft servers are big business. A popular one can earn tens of thousands of dollars per month from people buying powers, building space, or other things. It's also a fiercely competitive business, with hundreds of servers vying for players. It turns out that things may have started, as with another set of companies, two rival DDOS mitigation providers competing for customers. ProTraf was a provider of such mitigation technology, and a company whose owner later worked for ProTraf had on at least one occasion hijacked addresses belonging to another company, ProxyPipe. ProxyPipe had also been hit with DDOS attacks they suspected to be launched by ProTraf. While looking into the President of ProTraf, Krebs realized he'd seen the relatively uncommon combination of programming languages and skills posted by the President somewhere else. They were shared by Anna-senpai on Hackforums. As Krebs dug deeper and deeper into Anna-senpai's online presence, he uncovered other usernames, including one he traced to some Minecraft forums where a photoshopped picture of a still from Pulp Fiction contained the faces of BackConnect, which was a rival to ProTraf's DDOS mitigation business, and another face. A hacker by the name of Vyp0r, who another employee of ProTraf claimed betrayed his trust and blackmailed him into posting the source of another piece of malware called Bashlite. There was also a third character photoshopped into the image. An anime character named "Yamada" from a movie called B Gata H Hei. Interestingly, under the same username, Krebs found a "MyAnimeList" profile which, out of 9 titles it had marked as watched, were B Gata H Hei, as well as Mirai Nikki, the show from which Mirai derived its name. It continues on with other evidence, including DDOS attacks against Rutgers University, but in short, there was little doubt in the identity of "Anna-senpai", but the person behind the identity did contact Krebs to comment. He denied any involvement in Mirai or DDOS attacks.
"I don’t think there are enough facts to definitively point the finger at me," [Anna-senpai] said. "Besides this article, I was pretty much a nobody. No history of doing this kind of stuff, nothing that points to any kind of sociopathic behavior. Which is what the author is, a sociopath."
I don't have the time or energy to write another effortpost, and as is I'm over 20,000 characters, so here's a few other tidbits of Krebs' clashes with miscreants.
A source and security researcher he was talking to started blabbing about him working with Krebs, and also was selling data to hackers on the side. His example data in his sales post was fucking Brian Krebs'.
https://preview.redd.it/i2ciepxqx3w31.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d9cb51b182d88ff981940c7c49b5095ba7e9434 Cryptocurrency Ethereum is a new digital currency, which, like Bitcoin, is built on the basis of a blockchain, where information about monetary transactions is recorded. Recently, Ether began to be considered as a competitor to bitcoin, which is quite justified. The technology of the platform, which uses the digital currency in question, is characterized by a unique opportunity to register transactions with various assets. This happens on the basis of contracts in the blockchain. The usual legal formalities are not used. We are talking about smart contracts, which are considered the newest era in blockchain financial technologies. A "smart contract" is a special computer code capable of facilitating the exchange of money, shares and other valuables. The computer program itself performs the underlying transaction under the prescribed conditions. New developments are combined with remote banking services implemented via SMS. Because of the low cost, the opportunity is particularly attractive to developing States. Ethereum is of particular interest due to its innovative capabilities, which involve not only settlements with other people, but also the exchange of various resources, as well as conducting various kinds of transactions with exchange and other assets. All this is made possible by means of "smart contracts" that allows you to implement transactions without the involvement of guarantors. All transactions are performed directly by the platform itself. In 2016, The Ethereum hard fork was observed, which led to its division into two different categories. In addition to the main Ethereum (ETH) appeared EthereumClassic (ETC). This had a significant impact on the value of the coin, as a result of which it fell. For a long time investors ignored Ethereum, but recently It resumed rapid growth again. At the same time, the price of both variants of digital currency has increased.
The history of
https://preview.redd.it/a98ayxkqs3w31.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=573ad133f0dbeed3c6e4809cbfcf9463450fa389 The Creator of Ethereum is considered a well-known Russian programmer Vitalik Buterin, who works and lives abroad. It was he who at the end of 2013 first described Ethereum in Bitcoin Magazine. In April 2014, the system was formally described by Gavin wood in the so-called "yellow book". Around the same time period, the platform was described as the next generation Bitcoin platform. Since mid-2014, we started to raise money for the development of the system. For this purpose crowdfunding was used — a method of collective financing, which is based on voluntary contributions. They could be made by anyone who wanted to become investors in this project. For financial development, Ethereum distributed the initial amount of ether through a forty-two-day initial public offering, receiving 31591 Bitcoins. This amount was large enough that a large amount of ether was obtained through an intermediate exchange for dollars. Ethereum has attracted the attention of numerous banks. It was seen as a testing platform for mastering smart contracts and bonds. The blockchain platform launched on July 30, 2015. Continuing to talk about the history of Ethereum, we note that on March 14, 2016, it stopped working in the previous alpha version, in which the developers could not guarantee the safety of users. The new version of the Protocol was called HomeSteade, also belonged to the previous, but more stable version. To date, the site is actively used and works in full force.
flexibility of the platform, ensuring the ability to interact with different applications;
rapid execution of operations, which requires only 20-30 seconds;
the high productivity of mining.
If we talk about the value of the Ethereum cryptocurrency, it is constantly changing and often in a big way. Today, the price of one unit ranges from 284-306 dollars. ETH is stored on wallets, the creation of which you will learn later. At the same time, information is under reliable protection, as well as money.
a block in Ethereum is generated in 15 seconds. In the case of Bitcoin cryptocurrency the time is 10 minutes;
economic benefit. the income from generating a Bitcoin block decreases 3 times every 4 years. Profit from mining of the ether remains at a constant indicators;
in order to organize Bitcoin mining, it is necessary to have a sufficiently powerful computer technology, to work as part of a pool. To produce a competing digital coin is much easier, you can do it yourself, without resorting to the help of pools;
Bitcoin was developed by individuals, and the first miners easily received the lion's share of coins. Cryptocurrency ETH only in 5 years will be mined in half of the total;
Ethereum has its own internal code that allows you to calculate the mathematical model of the system, having the necessary computing equipment and software.
No wonder cryptocurrency ETH is rightly called the main competitor of Bitcoin-it is much easier to produce, it opens up more opportunities, has good prospects for development.
How to create a wallet in the system
https://preview.redd.it/348arfhbt3w31.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a91a5eeb216108726d45c7618619362a4ae7da5 To open your own Ethereum wallet, where the digital currency will be stored, you need to do the following: go to the website https://www.myetherwallet.com/ and choose on the main page of Russian language; after that, a form will immediately open where you can register a wallet. Here you need to come up with a fairly long and complex password that you need to enter in the free field; click the "Create wallet" button. It is better to save the password in a separate text file, so as not to forget; you need to download the Keystone file to your computer — you can use it to access your own wallet in the system. The red color will be highlighted warning that the site on which the registration is carried out, does not store the entered data. Therefore, if you do not save the password, access to the wallet will not be restored; after all the actions you need to press the button to continue the operation. Next, you will be shown the private key and the offer to save or print it. This key must be inserted into the above mentioned text document, because it can also be used to open the Ethereum wallet; press the button to save and continue. Registration does not require much time, the main thing is to save all passwords and access codes, so that you can easily open your wallet.
How to earn digital coins
https://preview.redd.it/j141ewfjt3w31.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=e92bac2afb81b4e0b5cfb9bb20878e103d853ec8 If we talk about how to earn Ethereum, there are two main ways: You will need a powerful enough computer. We are talking about mining Ethereum. For its implementation, first of all, you need to make sure that your computer meets the minimum technical characteristics. Then you need to download special software and run it in the work. Above we said that mining Ethereum is much easier than mining Bitcoin or Litecoin cryptocurrency, earnings will not keep you waiting. The procedure can be performed independently, but with the help of pools, the amount of income will be much larger. Ethereum taps are another way to earn digital coins. They involve the need to perform fairly simple tasks for a fee. Depending on the type of crane tasks can be completely different: watching videos or advertising, passing simple free games and more. It is important to understand that Ethereum cranes do not assume too large earnings. To get the desired amount, you will have to work hard and spend a lot of time. In conclusion, we note that the most justified decision will be the extraction of Ethereum. In spite of the fact that it is necessary to invest money in equipment to receive necessary capacities, all expenses will be possible to recoup quickly enough. The main thing is to carefully study the materials on the topic, focusing on the requirements for the processor, video cards, motherboard. In this case, you can count on the successful extraction of Ethereum. If you are interested in large sums, impressive income, you should ask the question of cooperation with pools. The latter combine several units of equipment, so the total capacity will reach very high marks. Thus, it will become much easier to earn Ethereum. It should be noted that the participants of the pool work for a single result. The total number of coins mined during a certain period is divided among all those who took part in it. The percentage of parts depends on the capacity of the equipment provided by the person. One should not think that such Ethereum earnings are nothing but deception. Of course, there are scammers in the network, but most pool organizers are really interested in their long-term and transparent functioning, because their own income depends on it. In order not to make a mistake with the choice, give preference to proven pools. Useful information can be found in the reviews of people who personally organized the earnings of Ethereum in this way, made a profit.
“This person does not exist, huh?” Another empty Saturday of my recently unemployed schedule slides by without a thought as to appointments to keep. My finger slides endlessly through Reddit’s constantly generating front page, all concern to the content long gone. I tap the link and find a website that purports presenting randomly generated faces. I’ve not exactly the sharpest attention to detail so at first the randomly generated faces seem normal to me. Eventually, even the dimmest eye can begin to discern uncanny features on the randomly generated faces. Ridges over eyes are too pronounced and the skin appears wrinkled in some places and smooth in others. Irises differ in shape and size and sometimes even color. That’s just the little stuff. Refresh the page over again long enough and you start to come across aberrations such as glasses that don’t connect to their lenses or hats that do not cast a shadow. Scroll long enough and you are lucky to come across the blatant abominations of a soulless AI that only such a program could create. Facial features appear deformed and broken, melding into their surroundings in a discolored and melting mess. Companions of the photograph’s focus are inhuman monsters with mouths sutured shut and eyes that stare emptily into your soul. You know- basic computer fun. That being said, it grows old real fast to a mind that has been nurtured into a desire for instant gratification and a desire for entertainment. I click out of the new tab and go back to scrolling Reddit. The message hits my iPhone with a sharp ring and a notification box slips out of the top of the screen. Jay: Hey, can I borrow a phone-charger adapter? All mine are in use right now. I roll my eyes though its not exactly a great burden on my back. Me: Sure, but you need to come down here. I hear the ceiling above creak and squeak as my upstairs neighbor hoists himself off of his couch and walks across his living room floor. My apartment is an old building, full of the wear and tear of a building from a fading age, built in a rural area in expectation of local development that never came. I hear the upstairs door open and shut, and the stairs outside rattle with Jay stomping down the stairs. He knocks on the door twice and then comes inside without invitation. In the two years that I’ve lived in this apartment, Jay’s the only one that I’ve become on a first-name basis with. I’ve always had a hard time making friends due to general social awkwardness, but Jay seemed invulnerable to any sense of shame or ability to sense offense. Eventually, he wormed his way into my affections, despite being nearly ten years older, through sheer persistence and ignorance. “Hey man,” Jay says with a friendly smile that changes a bad case of resting bitch face to a welcoming warm glow. “Is it in your spare drawer?” Jay was an imposing man that was somewhere between muscular and chubby and had a pair of horn-rimmed glasses dangling from the collar of a dusty blue button-up. His hair was beginning to migrate from the middle of the top of his head to an ever thickening beard that would rival that of any philosopher. “Yup.” I nod, returning his gesture. “In the kitchen.” “Cool.” Jay nods and slips his flip flops off and walks into the kitchen at a near jog. “Hey, I’m going to Family Fare later, do you wanna go along?” I shrug, “Sure. I need to get some rice.” I go back to my phone and then glance back at him. “Ooh, some steak also.” Jay comes out of my kitchen with a outlet-USB adapter cradled in his left hand. “Cool, I’ll text you.” He begins going for the door before I interrupt him. “What are you working on today? You seem too excited to be designing a website for a church.” Jay’s smile returns with an intensity to rival the sun. “Oh yeah, I don’t think I’ve told you about it yet.” He holds out his hands, both flat, though his left one cradled the USB adapter under his thumb. “Alright, picture this. Only you are the one who knows your schedule, right? Or how hot you like your room at night, right?” He pauses enough for a half nod on my part, but quickly continues. “Alright, now imagine that you can clone a little copy of all your little likes and dislikes and install it onto a server that runs your smart home, after bundling it with an AI. Then, this little copy of you could do everything that you want to do on a digital basis, making your life way easier!” He stops and stared at my face. “Isn’t that the plot of a Black Mirror episode? Maybe a bunch of them?” I ask, blurting out the first thing on my mind. Jay seemed confused for a moment, then shrugged, “Is that the technology Twilight-Zone thing you keep trying to get me to watch?” I nod in reply and Jay gives me a sidelong glance. “They haven’t done it though, right? Like in real life?” “I don’t think so.” I say with a shrug. “I don’t even think they have the capability to design commercial AI yet though.” “I’m not concerned about what they can do.” Jay says with a dismissing wave. “The idea is still potentially profitable, right?” “I guess.” I reply and Jay’s smile returns. “But what about the ethical and moral problems of creating a being capable of understanding reality, adding a person to it, then trapping them into a role. Isn’t that similar to creating life just to subject it to slavery?” Jay holds both his hands up in mock defense without dropping his smile, “Woooah, Mister Philosopher over here. I don’t care about that stuff, come on. Plus I’m gonna create safeguards against that stuff.” “Whatever, man.” Shaking my head, I scroll back up to the link to the web page in my history. I open up the randomly generated face of an elderly Asian woman and then turn the phone around to show Jay. “Hey dude, what do you think of this?” Jay steps forward and takes the phone into his hand. “Looks like a face. Looks like its been messed with a bit on Photo-shop or something.” He turns it back around. “Like the nose is too elongated here.” He points to the left nostril. “What about it?” “Hit refresh.” I say and he taps the button. The page reloads and another face shows up. This time, its a young black woman with a companion whose face is distorted beyond any recognizable parameter as a human. “Wow.” Jay says and taps the button again. He tosses the phone back to me and it drops onto my lap, showing a picture of a redheaded man, smiling with a flesh-colored hat. “That’s crazy stuff right there dude, I wouldn’t mess around with it too much.” I smile, “What do you mean?” “Looks like a viral site or something. Trust me, just don’t mess around with it.” “Viral?” I begin as Jay slides on his flip flops. In place of his usual smile is now a gruff expression, him appearing lost in thought. I continue on, sitting up. “Isn’t iOS sand-boxed to hell? How would I get a virus from a site on Reddit’s front page without someone commenting about it?” “Trust me, Peter.” Jay’s rough tone takes me by surprise. “I don’t know very much, but I know what I’m saying when I say that you should stay off that page.” He opens the door and then walks out without another word. I snort and press the sleep button, letting the generated man’s face sink into darkness and drop the phone onto the floor next to the couch. Getting up, I head to the kitchen and begin sorting through my cupboards and refrigerator, searching for food items I’m going to need. Milk, beans, apples, etc. Knowing I’m going to need to make a list, I head back into the living room and snag my phone from the living room floor. After typing in my pass code, the man’s face reappears. I snort again while walking into the kitchen. I grew up with this stuff. It’s not like I don’t recognize a viral download when I see one. Where’s the Trojan download request, or pop-ups? I think to myself. I refresh the page again just for laughs. A smiling Caucasian smiles at the camera, fairly normal in appearance. There is, of course, a blue mucoid blob next to her in frame, but all in all there is nothing sinister or dark about this. No real Nosleep material, as it were. I close out of the tab and tap out a list of things to buy with my dwindling savings. Hopefully my unemployment would get sorted out soon. I’ve never gone on unemployment before and my father, who had some knowledge of the law, said my case seemed ideal for it. The thought of what Jay had said begins to irk me slightly. Does he think that I’m a dumbass or something? I need paper towels too. I tap that into my list. I know that I’m not great at detecting tone or hidden meanings behind words, but it seems weird that Jay would say that to me. Toilet paper? No, I’m good at that. Same as toothpaste and floss. I do need mouthwash, though. There’s no way that’s a virus. I think. Sighing, I finish up my list and open up Safari again. I navigate to the list of comments below the link. Scrolling down, I see no comments about malicious software or hackers or anything like that. Just Imgur links to disconcerting results and threads mocking the realism of the pictures. Setting down the phone on my coffee table, I grab the remote to my TV and flipped it on. Grabbing the GameCube controller hooked up to my Switch and turned the console on and try to idly explore Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, but my mind is occupied too much to be distracted. Minutes pass by and my mind begins to delve into all the bad possibilities, like that I had offended Jay, or perhaps he did really think I was that stupid- as my mind is apt to wander. “Ugh.” Groaning, I finally set the controller down and go to the door for my beat up hi-tops. Jay’s pretty hard to offend and he knows me pretty well, so he wouldn’t think it is too weird if I asked for clarification about his statement. I walk out into the hallway and close the door behind me. Sure is cold out today. I think, even though a quick glance to the double glass doors at the front of the complex confirms they are both shut. The trip upstairs is quick and I knock on Jay’s door. “If it’s Peter, then come in!” A voice calls from within. Opening the door, I step into an apartment far more cluttered than my somewhat minimalist interior design. Stacks of manuals and technical magazines clutter the floor, intermixed with CDs in jewel cases and USB sticks. Old laptops are stacked on top of computer towers along the back wall on either side of a couch that is clear enough for a blanket and pillow, both of which are oddly neat and folded. In the center of the living room are three plastic totes spilling over with green computer components, neatly bundled cords and wires, and random adapters and such. As long as I’ve been friends with Jay, I’ve never actually set foot in his apartment. I’ve seen the inside, but we always hang out at my place. “Jay, where are you?” I call out over the quiet hum of box fans spraying cool air all over the room. The window is open, despite it being winter. “In the bedroom!” Jay replies and I head for the door before Jay steps out and shuts it behind him. In the glimpse that I have of his bedroom, I see boxes on shelves with blinking lights and neatly arranged cords that I can only conclude is some kind of server setup or something. “Jeez man, are you mining bitcoin or something?” I ask half-jokingly, but Jay shakes his head. “Naw. That become unprofitable a few years back. What’s up?” “Listen Jay, I was just wondering about what you said. I don’t want you to think I meant offense if I offended you about-” Jay interrupts me with an upheld hand. “I figured you were coming in about that. I shoulda phrased it better. I’m sorry.” He says with an apologetic frown. “It’s nothing.” I reply and pause, “But what is so wrong about that site? I couldn’t find anything about it. I mean, it just seems like...” I trail off, waiting for a response. Jay sighs and shakes his head, “Listen, you don’t like math or stuff like that, right?” I shake my head but continue before he says anything, “No, but I’m pretty curious about this.” Jay looks away reluctantly and then speaks. “Okay, listen. The site that you showed me has a program that generates a randomly-featured face, right?” “Okay?” I say. Jay moves to the couch and grabs his pillow and blankets in a nice stack. He removes them to the top of the plastic totes and takes a seat. After waiting for me to sit, he continues, lacking any of the excitement that he usually gets about technology. “When the program blends faces together, it gets what appears to be on the surface, a new face. Depending on the sample size of the data fed into the database the program pulls from, any type of face could be generated. The number of possibilities goes up with each entry into the system.” “So what?” “So, if a large enough sample size exists, and a large enough amount of randomized features exist, then the output has, for our purpose, an infinite number of possibilities.” “But it’s not infinite. For it to be infinite-” Jay interrupts me with a nod, “Yeah, yeah, but for OUR purpose, its infinite.” “Okay?” “So eventually, given enough time, the system will generate a face that is identical to a face that is in reality, right? Even with all the distortions and whatever, eventually one will get created, right?” “Given enough time.” I quote him back his own condition. “Yup. The more people messing with it, the more that it has the chance to output a real value.” “So why does any of this matter? Are you gonna tell me the person stops existing?” I begin to chuckle but stopped when I see him shaking his head sadly. “What, Jay?” I tease, less joyfully than I had. “You superstitious?” Jay reaches into the pocket of his sweats and pulls out an iPhone. Typing on the screen, he quickly pulls up the website and points to the URL. “You see the name of the website?” “Yeah. What about it?” Speaking with a shrug, I watch his face grow deadly serious. With a few taps, Jay opens a window to the side of the website filled with what I surmise is the code for the operation. “Do you see all this?” Jay taps a few places on the text-filled window and then flips it to show me a bunch of meaningless brackets, colons and equal signs intermixed with words. “Yeah, its just code.” “Okay.” Jay says. He taps something on the screen a few times, sets the phone down and mumbles something that sounds like “I guess I trust him.” He reaches forward and taps me on the nose. “Boop!” A small shock that feels like a static discharge burns my nose and I recoil.” Ow. “What was that for?” I calmly ask, beginning to grow pissed off. Without a word, Jay lifts his phone and shows me the text window. Strange symbols and letters formed from slashes and grammar symbols appear to be intermixed with the code now. They seem almost to project themselves from the screen in an odd mimicry of a 3-D movie. It’s hard to see the text behind it, or even anything as my focus is locked onto the floating runes. They seem to float out of the screen, growing brighter and brighter as reality grows dim. Then Jay shuts the screen off. I have to blink a few times to clear my vision of the etched symbols. “Wow. Wow. WOW.” I begin to stutter out, but Jay snaps his fingers in front of my face to reclaim my attention. “I might as well go all the way.” Jay says with a shrug. “The name of the website is something called a ‘True Statement’ in that it is unconditionally true. It’s always true that the output of the website does not exist. So if the output is a real person, than that person ceases to exist, with all effects and differences they’ve made in reality changing with them. Reality has already changed six times since this thing was created. When you showed it to me, it seemed off so I came up and checked the source code.” “What? What do you-” I interrupted, but Jay kept speaking. “These symbols are, at a basic level, magical spells in the code that do stuff. This was created by someone bad.” “How do you even know all of this?” I asked and he shrugged. “I’m good with magic. I mean, technology makes it way easier than it used to be. I stare at him stunned. I regret the first thing that rolls out of my mouth. “So I guess you could say you are a tech wizard, huh?” Jay stares at me, mouth hanging open. “Are you serious?” He stands up, gesturing with his hands frantically. “That’s your response to this? A pun?” He puts his hand on his forehead. “I was freaking out about someone finding this out, but...” he trails off. “So now what?” I ask. Part two here: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/arnhwt/tech_wizard_part_2/
Among the more frequently mentioned G+ alternatives at the Google+ Mass Migration community, and others, is MeWe with over 250 mentions. The site bills itself as "The Next-Gen Social Network" and the "anti-Facebook": "No Ads, No Political Bias, No Spyware. NO BS. It is headed by professed Libertarian CEO Mark Weinstein. As the site reveals no public user-generated content to non-members, it's necessary to create an account in order to get a full impression. I thought I'd provide an overview based on recent explorations. This report leads of with background on the company, though readers may find the report and analysis of specific groups on the site of interest.
Founder & CEO Mark Weinstein. Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Jonathan Wolfe (no longer with company). Weinstein previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, "at the turn of the millennium". Weinstein's MeWe biography lists articles published by The Mirror (UK), Huffington Post, USA Today, InfoSecurity Magazine, Dark Reading, and the Nation. His media appearances include MarketWatch, PBS, Fox News, and CNN. He's also the author of several personal-success books. His Crunchbase bio is a repeat of the MeWe content.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web.
Jack Canfield: Legendary Founder, Chicken Soup For The Soul.
John Friedman: Founding Partner, Easton Capital.
Cullen Hoback: Director, Terms and Conditions May Apply.
Dianne Morrison: Partner, MorrisonMcNabb, LLC.
Colin Sebastian: Director, Equity Research/Internet, RW Baird.
Brett Shevack: CEO, Brand Initiatives; Former Vice Chair, BBDO.
Marci Shimoff: author, Happy for No Reason.
Sherry Turkle: Professor, MIT; author Alone Together.
Ownership & Investment
MeWe is the dba of Sgrouples, a private for-profit early-stage venture company based in Los Angeles, though with a Mountain View HQ and mailing address, 11-50 employees, with $10m in funding over five rounds, and a $20m valuation as of 2016. Sgrouples, Inc., dba MeWe Trust & Safety - Legal Policy c/o Fenwick West 801 California Street Mountain View, CA 94041 Crunchbase Profile. Founded: 2012 (source) Secured $1.2M in seed funding in 2014. 2016 valuation: $20m (source] Backers:
John Friedman, venture capitalist, founder & MD, Easton Capital, New York, NY.
Do you have friends still on Facebook? Share this link with them about Facebook wanting their banking information - tell them to move to MeWe now! No Ads. No Spyware. No Political Agenda. No Bias Algorithms. No Shadow Banning. No Facial Recognition.
MeWe provide several policy-related links on the site:
California Disclosures -- Do Not Track, 3rd-party cookies, and California Privacy Rights.
Your Identity: We protect it to the extent the law allows
Linking to Third-Party Sites: These are your decisions and responsibilities
Security: HTTPS and Encryption
Terms of Service
The ToS addresses:
Allowable Content and Acceptable Use
Who Our Services are For
User Content Ownership
Misuse of Usernames, Page names, Group names
Fake Accounts (pseudonyms allowed, misleading is not)
More on Spam
Our Commitment to Data Security
MeWe Content Data
MeWe Log Data
Your Data Portability
Deleting Your Account -- Right to Erasure
MeWe Secret Chat
MeWe Invitations and "Add Automatically"
Additional Policies for Pages, Groups, and Events Notifications of Requests for Account Information
Guidelines for Law Enforcement Seeking Customer Data (Worldwide)
Ownership In and To the Site and Services
Effective: November 6, 2018.
The FAQ addresses:
What is MeWe (emphasises privacy)
The Politics of MeWe ("absolutely no political agenda")
How can MeWe be free and make money? (additional services/freemium)
Which devices is MeWe available on? (Android, iOS)
What content can I share on MeWe (photos, videos, documents, voice messages, privacy mail, chats, gifs, memes, doodles)
What are some unique features of MeWe?
Who can see the posts I share?
Can I delete my MeWe account and is it easy to do this?
This emphasises that people are social cratures and private people by right. The service offers the power of self expression under an umbrella of safety. It notes that our innermost thoughts require privacy. Under "We aspire...":
MeWe is here to empower and enrich your world. We challenge the status quo by making privacy, respect, and safety the foundations of an innovatively designed, easy-to-use social experience.
Totalling 182 words.
Privacy Bill of Rights
A ten-item statement of principles (possibly inspired by another document, it might appear):
You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
You control who can access your content.
You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.
There are a few mentions of MeWe in the press, some listed on the company's website, others via web search.
The following articles are linked directly from MeWe's Press page:
The page also lists a "Privacy Revolution Required Reading" list of 20 articles all addressing Facebook privacy gaffes in the mainstream press (Wired, TechCrunch, Fortune, Gizmodo, The Guardian, etc.). There are further self-reported mentions in several of the company's PR releases over the years.
Facebook Alternative MeWe Raises $5.2M, Los Angeles Business Journal (July 7, 2018) "The latest round, as well as MeWe’s total $10 million in fundraising, was predominantly backed by celebrity investors, such as author Marci Shimoff, Rachel Roy, and Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com, which sold to Linkedin in 2015 for $1.5 billion. Jack Canfield, creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, also invested in MeWe."
Is building a Facebook alternative worth the effort? MeWe thinks soVentureBeat (July 5, 2018) "[T]here are still companies hoping to make their mark in the social networking realm with “Facebook alternatives.” One of those is MeWe, a “next-generation” social network that positions itself as the anti-Facebook: “Your private life is not for sale. No ads. No Spyware. No BS,” its website proclaims." Continues to mention "modest $5.2 million" funding round. Also a "sister product", MeWePRO, a Slack competitor.
Startup MeWe Launches Free, 'No Ads' Social NetworkeWeek (March 16, 2016) "MeWe, a new network engineered with its users' data privacy built in, is betting that a lot of people will say yes to both of those questions. The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, whose parent company is Sgrouples.com, launched its freely available social network out of beta March 9 with more than 200,000 members already using it.... Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-architect of the World Wide Web, found out about MeWe on his own and approached the company about getting involved."
Facebook Alternative MeWe closes $5.2M Series A Yahoo/PR Newswire (July 5, 2018). "The investment brings MeWe's total funding to $10 million, to support the engineering of MeWe and the enterprise version MeWePRO.... The company has relied on high net worth individuals for all of its funding including Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com ...; Marci Shimoff, a #1 New York Times bestselling author ...; Rachel Roy...; and Jack Canfield."
Exactis Data Leak 2018: 340 Million Records ExposedInvestorPlace (June 29, 2018) "'Today's cookies can link your mobile phone to your laptop, to your home monitoring devices, and much, much more. Creepy? Scary? Orwellian? Yes, yes, yes,' Mark Weinstein, the privacy expert and founder of social media company MeWe, told MarketWatch. 'So imagine that Exactis, like Facebook, knows everything about you — really.'"
MeWe Raises $3M in FundingFinSMEs (March 9, 2016) "Sgrouples, Inc., the Mountain View, CA-based developer of MeWe, a social network with neither ads nor tracking, raised $3m in funding."
This section is a basic rundown of the user-visible site technology.
The site is not natively accessible from a mobile Web browser as it is overlayed with a promotion for the mobile application instead. Selecting "Desktop View" in most mobile browsers should allow browser-based access.
There are both Android and iOS apps for MeWe. I've used neither of these, though the App store entries note:
MeWe Android 4.4 rating (13.1k ratings). Permissions: Contacts (read), Location (approximate/precise), SMS (receive), Phone (read status & identity), Photos/Media/Files (read, modify, & delete contents), Storage (read, modify, or delete), Camera (take pictures/videos), Microphone (record audio), Device ID & Call Info (read status & identity), and numerous elements under Other.
Crunchbase cites 209,220 mobile downloads over the past 30 days (via Apptopia), an 80.78% monthly growth rate, from Google Play.
Either selecting "View Desktop" or navigating with a Desktop browser to https://www.mewe.com your are presented with a registration screen, with the "About", "Privacy Bill of Rights", "MeWe Challenge", and a language selector across the top of the page. Information requested are first and last name, phone or email, and a password. Pseudonymous identities are permitted, though this isn't noted on the login screen. Returning members can use the "Member Log In" button. The uMatrix Firefox extension reveals no third-party content: all page elements are served from mewe.com, img.mewe.com, cdn.mewe.com, or ws.mewe.com. (In subsequent browsing, you may find third-party plugins from, for example, YouTube, for videos, or Giphy, for animated GIFs.) The web front-end is nginx. The site uses SSL v3, issued by DigiCert Inc. to Sgrouples, Inc.
The onboarding experience is stark. There is no default content presented. A set of unidentified icons spans the top of the screen, these turn out to be Home, Chats, Groups, Pages, and Events. New users have to, somehow, find groups or people to connect with, and there's little guidance as to how to do this.
Generally there is a three panel view, with left- and right-hand sidebars of largely navigational or status information, and a central panel with main content. There are also pop-up elements for chats, an omnipresent feature of the site. Controls display labels on some devices and/or resolutions. Controls do not provide tooltips for navigational aid.
My Cloud - Seamlessly organize all your content in My Cloud; it's your personal cloud. My Cloud offers an interactive dashboard for you to control everything you’ve posted or shared - making it simple to delete or reshare.
Unique profiles - Be yourself, free from any tracking and spying. Customize your profile for every group you create or join.
Voice integration (on any or all content) - Post pictures, videos, or documents and include a voice message. Respond to a shared post or just chat. MeWe’s voice integration works for you and your contacts throughout the entire platform.
Universal tagging - This is a new, convenient way to sort and organize all the content you receive and share, making it easy to find everything, anytime.
Enhanced permission control (patent issued) - Manage permissions on a granular level and decide exactly who sees what. You can also remove yourself from the search directory, make yourself invisible to other members online, and much more.
Much More – join MeWe today and take a look inside! MeWe is the next-gen social networking experience designed for you to have fun, stay in touch, collaborate, organize, and simplify.
A key aspect of any social network is its community. Some of the available or ascertained information on this follows.
Weinstein claims a "million+ following inside MeWe.com" on Twitter. The largest visible groups appear to have a maximum of around 15,000 members , for "Awesome gifs". "Clean Comedy" rates 13,350, and the largest open political groups, 11,000+ members. This compares to Google+ which has a staggering, though Android-registrations-inflated 3.3 billion profiles, and 7.9 million communities, though the largest of these come in at under 10 million members. It's likely that MeWe's membership is on the whole more more active than Google+'s, where generally-visible posting activity was limited to just over 9% of all profiles, and the active user base was well under 1% of the total nominal population.
MeWe do not publish active users (e.g., MUA / monthly active users) statistics.
MeWe is principally a group-oriented discussion site -- interactions take place either between individuals or within group contexts. Virtually all discovery is group-oriented. The selection and dynamics of groups on the site will likely strongly affect user experience, so exploring the available groups and their characteristics is of interest. "MeWe has over 60,000 open groups" according to its FAQ. The Open groups -- visible to any registered MeWe user, though not to the general public Web -- are browsable, though sections and topics must be expanded to view the contents: an overview isn't immediately accessible. We provide a taste here. A selection of ten featured topics spans the top of the browser. As I view these, they are:
Health & Fitness
Cars & Motorcycles
Fashion and Beauty
Specific groups may appear in multiple categories. The top Groups within these topics have, variously, 15,482, 7,738, 15,482 (dupe), 7,745, 8,223, 8,220, 1,713, 9,527, 2,716, and 1,516 members. Listings scroll at length -- the Music topic has 234 Groups, ranging in size from 5 to 5,738 members, with a median of 59, mean of 311.4, and a 90%ile of 743.5. Below this is a grid of topics, 122 in all, ranging from Activism to Wellness, and including among them. A selected sample of these topics, with top groups listed members in (parens), follows:
Activism: QAnon+++ (2,572), PATRIOT PREPPERS USA (2,430), Deplorables Republic (2,48), The War Drummer (1,898), Patriots for a United America. (1894), Anonymous (1,700).
Alternative Energy: Reiki, Crystals, and alternative healing (2,114), 💜Starseeds & Empaths💜 (345), Living in Colour (365).
Alternative Lifestyle: Natural Healing and Home Remedies (3,045), Backyard Farming of All Things (2,696), WeTheSheeple (2,251).
Alumni Connections: Google Plus Refugees (271), Google+ Refugees (186), Frog Pond (156), Carlsbad NM High School alumni (57).
Animals: I Love My Dog (4,421), Pussy Shots (4,619).
Astronomy: Spherical Earth Truth, Flat Earth is Wrong (278), Nibiru, Nemesis, Hercolobus, The Destroyer (187).
Biology: Trees (344), Field of Birds (104), Patriots of Australia (51).
Personal Improvement: For Introverts. (1,214), Anarchy, Philosophy, Psychology, and Spirituality (679), Positive Affirmations (447).
Philosophy: In5d Esoteric Metaphysical and Spiritual Database (1,764), Thought Bouncing (1,137), Obtectivists - Galts Gulch - Ayn Rand fans (561).
Poetry: Dead Poest (1,407), Palacio de Poetry (451), Poets Corner (412).
Politics: Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11,486), The Conservative's Hangout (8,345), Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5,600), Drain The Swamp (4,978), Libertarians (4,528), United We Stand Trump2020 (4,216).
Pop Culture: The Loftus Party (116), The Walking Dead: The Stalking Dead (100), Tyler, Texas (71).
Privacy: Join the Open/Privacy Movement (3974), Kingsport tn gun trader (1,157), Safer Computing (555).
To be clear: whilst I've not included every topic, I've sampled a majority of them above, and listed not an arbitrary selection, but the top few Groups under each topic.
Google Plus expats (1,862)
Google+ Refugees (186)
G+ Refugees (101)
my Google+ expatriates
The Google Plus expats group seems the most active of these by far.
It's curious that MeWe make a specific point in their FAQ that:
At MeWe we have absolutely no political agenda and we have a very straightforward Terms of Service. MeWe is for all law-abiding people everywhere in the world, regardless of political, ethnic, religious, sexual, and other preferences.
There are 403 political groups on MeWe. I won't list them all here, but the first 100 or so give a pretty clear idea of flavour. Again, membership is in (parentheses). Note that half the total political Groups memberships are in the first 21 groups listed here, the first 6 are 25% of the total.
Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11486)
The Conservative's Hangout (8345)
Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5600)
Drain The Swamp (4978)
United We Stand Trump2020 (4216)
The Right To Self Defense (3757)
Alternative Media (3711)
Hardcore Conservative Patriots for Trump (3192)
Bastket Of Deplorables4Trump! (3032)
Return of the Republic (2509)
Infowars Chat Room Unofficial (2159)
Donald Trump Our President 2017-2025 (2033)
Berners for Progress (1963)
Sean Hannity Fans (1901)
The American Conservative (1839)
I Am The NRA (1704)
Tucker Carlson Fox News (1645)
We Love Donald Trump (1611)
MAGA - Make America Great Again (1512)
news from the front (1337)
Basket of Deplorables (1317)
Payton's Park Bench (1283)
Convention of States (1282)
Britons For Brexit (1186)
MoJo 5.0 Radio (1180)
MeWe Free Press (1119)
The Constitutionally Elite (1110)
WOMEN FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (1032)
AMERICANS AGAINST ISIS and OTHER ENEMIES (943)
#WalkAway Campaign (894)
ALEX JONES (877)
The Lion Is Awake ! (854)
We Support Donald Trump! (810)
The Stratosphere Lounge (789)
TRUMP-USA-HANDS OFF OUR PRESIDENT (767)
Official Tea Party USA (749)
Mojo50 Jackholes (739)
Yes Scotland (697)
"WE THE DEPLORABLE" - MOVE ON SNOWFLAKE! (688)
Judge Jeanine Pirro Fans (671)
Ted Cruz for President (650)
No Lapdog Media (647)
Q Chatter (647)
Daily Brexit (636)
Tucker Carlson Fox News (601)
The Trumps Storm Group (600)
QAnon-Patriots WWG1WGA (598)
100% American (569)
Ladies For Donald Trump (566)
Deep State (560)
In the Name of Liberty (557)
Material Planet (555)
Trump NRA Free Speech Patriots on MeWe Gab.ai etc (546)
Magna Carta Group (520)
Constitutional Conservatives (506)
Question Everything (503)
Conspiracy Research (500)
Bill O'Reilly Fans (481)
Conservative Misfit's (479)
Canadian politics (478)
HARDCORE DEPLORABLES (454)
Tampa Bay Trump Club (445)
UK Politics (430)
Bongino Fan Page (429)
Radical Conservatives (429)
RESIST THE RESISTANCE (419)
The Deplorables (409)
America's Freedom Fighters (401)
Politically Incorrect & Proud (399)
CONSERVATIVES FOR AMERICA ! (385)
Political satire (383)
RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
UK Sovereignty,Independence,Democracy -Everlasting (366)
The Patriots Voting Coalition (359)
End The Insanity (349)
Coming American Civil War! (345)
Constitutional Conservatives (343)
United Nations Watch (342)
A Revival Of The Critical Thinking Union (337)
The New Libertarian (335)
Libertarian Party (official ) (333)
DDS United (Duterte Die-hard Supporters) (332)
American Conservative Veterans (331)
America Needs Donald Trump (326)
The UKIP Debating Society (321)
Coalition For Trump (310)
FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
2nd Amendment (287)
Never Forget #SethRich (286)
Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
It seems there is relatively little representation from the left wing, or even the centre, of the political spectrum. A case-insensitive match for "liberal" turns up:
104: Conservatives Against Liberal Beliefs C.A.L.I.B (273)
184: Progressive and Liberal Politics (119)
301: Liberalism is a Mental Disorder (33)
302: Resistance Against Liberal Socialism (33)
358: NOT For Liberals (17)
367: Drinking Liberally Houston (14)
400: Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Army (6)
Mainstream political parties are little represented, though again, the balance seems skewed searching on "(democrat|republic|gop)":
391: Saving The Republic: Video News & Opinion (8)
The terms "left" and "right" provide a few matches, not all strictly political-axis aligned:
7: The Right To Self Defense (3757)
80: RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
150: POLITICS ON THE LEFT (156)
157: 1st Amendment Rights Protected By The 2nd Amendmen (141)
209: On The Left With Jeremy Corbyn (84)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
300: Gather Left (33)
385: Defend Washington State Gun Rights (9)
390: Left Coast Conservatives (8)
Socialism and Communism also warrant a few mentions:
121: Revolutionary Socialists United (204)
216: Socialist Thought (79)
220: Stories Of Communism (76)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
288: Snuggly Wuggly Socialists (38)
302: Resistance Against Liberal Socialism (33)
And there are some references to green, laboulabor parties:
97: FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
100: Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
320: Green Party of Ohio Issues & Discussion Group (29)
Whilst there may not be a political agenda, there does appear to be at least a slight political bias to the site. And a distinctive skew on many other topical subjects. Those seeking new homes online may wish to take this into account.
Various typos and tagging corrections. 2018-11-29 - 30
Added G+MM references count for MeWe to lede paragraph. 2018-12-2
I wrote a 30,000 ft. "executive summary" intro document for cryptos. Not for you, for your non-technical parents or friends.
This document was originally written for my dad, an intelligent guy who was utterly baffled about the cryptocurrency world. The aim was to be extremely concise, giving a broad overview of the industry and some popular coins while staying non-technical. For many of you there will be nothing new here, but recognize that you are in the 0.001% of the population heavily into crypto technology. I've reproduced it for Reddit below, or you can find the original post here on my website. Download the PDF there or hit the direct link: .PDF version. Donations happily accepted:
This document is purely informational. At the time of writing there are over 1000 cryptocurrencies (“cryptos”) in a highly volatile, high risk market. Many of the smaller “altcoins” require significant technical knowledge to store and transact safely. I advise you to carefully scrutinize each crypto’s flavor of blockchain, potential utility, team of developers, and guiding philosophy, before making any investment  decisions. With that out of the way, what follows are brief, extremely high-level summaries of some cryptos which have my interest, listed in current market cap order. But first, some info: Each crypto is a different implementation of a blockchain network. Originally developed as decentralized digital cash, these technologies have evolved into much broader platforms, powering the future of decentralized applications across every industry in the global economy. Without getting into the weeds,  most cryptos work on similar principles: Distributed Ledgers Each node on a blockchain network has a copy of every transaction, which enables a network of trust that eliminates fraud.  Decentralized “Miners” comprise the infrastructure of a blockchain network.  They are monetarily incentivized to add computing power to the network, simultaneously securing and processing each transaction.  Peer-to-peer Cryptos act like digital cash-- they require no third party to transact and are relatively untraceable. Unlike cash, you can back them up. Global Transactions are processed cheaply and instantly, anywhere on Earth. Using cryptos, an African peasant and a San Francisco engineer have the same access to capital, markets, and network services. Secure Blockchains are predicated on the same cryptographic technology that secures your sensitive data and government secrets. They have passed seven years of real-world penetration testing with no failures. 
The first cryptocurrency. As with first movers in any technology, there are associated pros and cons. Bitcoin has by far the strongest brand recognition and deepest market penetration, and it is the only crypto which can be used directly as a currency at over 100,000 physical and web stores around the world. In Venezuela and Zimbabwe, where geopolitical events have created hyperinflation in the centralized fiat currency, citizens have moved to Bitcoin as a de facto transaction standard.  However, Bitcoin unveiled a number of issues that have been solved by subsequent cryptos. It is experiencing significant scaling issues, resulting in high fees and long confirmation times. The argument over potential solutions created a rift in the Bitcoin developer community, who “forked” the network into two separate blockchains amidst drama and politicking in October 2017. Potential solutions to these issues abound, with some already in place, and others nearing deployment. Bitcoin currently has the highest market cap, and since it is easy to buy with fiat currency, the price of many smaller cryptos (“altcoins”) are loosely pegged to its price. This will change in the coming year(s).
Where Bitcoin is a currency, Ethereum is a platform, designed as a foundational protocol on which to develop decentralized applications (“Dapps”). Anyone can write code and deploy their program on the global network for extremely low fees. Just like Twitter wouldn’t exist without the open platform of the internet, the next world-changing Dapp can’t exist without Ethereum. CurrentDapps include a global market for idle computing power and storage, peer-to-peer real estate transactions (no trusted third party for escrow), identity networks for governments and corporations (think digital Social Security card), and monetization strategies for the internet which replace advertising. Think back 10 years to the advent of smartphones, and then to our culture today-- Ethereum could have a similar network effect on humanity. Ethereum is currently the #2 market cap crypto below Bitcoin, and many believe it will surpass it in 2018. It has a large, active group of developers working to solve scaling issues,  maintain security, and create entirely new programming conventions. If successful, platforms like Ethereum may well be the foundation of the decentralized internet of the future.
Ripple is significantly more centralized than most crypto networks, designed as a backbone for the global banking and financial technology (“fintech”) industries. It is a network for exchanging between fiat currencies and other asset classes instantly and cheaply, especially when transacting cross-border and between separate institutions. It uses large banks and remittance companies as “anchors” to allow trading between any asset on the network, and big names like Bank of America, American Express, RBC, and UBS are partners. The utility of this network is global and massive in scale. It is extremely important to note that not all cryptos have the same number of tokens. Ripple has 100 Billion tokens compared to Bitcoin’s 21 Million. Do not directly compare price between cryptos. XRP will likely never reach $1k,  but the price will rise commensurate with its utility as a financial tool. In some sense, Ripple is anathema to the original philosophical vision of this technology space. And while I agree with the cyberpunk notion of decentralized currencies, separation of money and state, this is the natural progression of the crypto world. The internet was an incredible decentralized wild west of Usenet groups and listservs before Eternal September and the dot-com boom, but its maturation affected every part of global society.
Cardano’s main claim to fame: it is the only crypto developed using academic methodologies by a global collective of engineers and researchers, built on a foundation of industry-leading, peer-reviewed cryptographic research. The network was designed from first-principles to allow scalability, system upgrades, and to balance the privacy of its users with the security needs of regulators. One part of this ecosystem is the Cardano Foundation, a Swiss non-profit founded to work proactively with governments and regulatory bodies to institute legal frameworks around the crypto industry. Detractors of Cardano claim that it doesn’t do anything innovative, but supporters see the academic backing and focus on regulation development as uniquely valuable.
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Stellar Lumens and Ripple were founded by the same person. They initially shared the same code, but today the two are distinct in their technical back-end as well as their guiding philosophy and development goals. Ripple is closed-source, for-profit, deflationary, and intended for use by large financial institutions. Stellar is open-source, non-profit, inflationary, and intended to promote international wealth distribution. As such, they are not direct competitors. IBM is a major partner to Stellar. Their network is already processing live transactions in 12 currency corridors across the South Pacific, with plans to process 60% of all cross-border payments in the South Pacific’s retail foreign exchange corridor by Q2 2018. Beyond its utility as a financial tool, the Stellar network may become a competitor to Ethereum as a platform for application development and Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”). The theoretical maximum throughput for the network is higher, and it takes less computational power to run. The Stellar development team is highly active, has written extensive documentation for third-party developers, and has an impressive list of advisors, including Patrick Collison (Stripe), Sam Altman (Y Combinator), and other giants in the software development community.
Iota was developed as the infrastructure backbone for the Internet of Things (IoT), sometimes called the machine economy. As the world of inanimate objects is networked together, their need to communicate grows exponentially. Fridges, thermostats, self-driving cars, printers, planes, and industrial sensors all need a secure protocol with which to transact information. Iota uses a “Tangle” instead of a traditional blockchain, and this is the main innovation driving the crypto’s value. Each device that sends a transaction confirms two other transactions in the Tanlge. This removes the need for miners, and enables unique features like zero fees and infinite scalability. The supply of tokens is fixed forever at 2.8*1015, a staggeringly large number (almost three thousand trillion), and the price you see reported is technically “MIOT”, or the price for a million tokens.
The most successful privacy-focused cryptocurrency. In Bitcoin and most other cryptos, anyone can examine the public ledger and trace specific coins through the network. If your identity can be attached to a public address on that network, an accurate picture of your transaction history can be built-- who, what, and when. Monero builds anonymity into the system using strong cryptographic principles, which makes it functionally impossible to trace coins,  attach names to wallets, or extract metadata from transactions. The development team actively publishes in the cryptography research community. Anonymous transactions are not new-- we call it cash. Only in the past two decades has anonymity grown scarce in the first-world with the rise of credit cards and ubiquitous digital records. Personal data is becoming the most valuable resource on Earth, and there are many legitimate reasons for law-abiding citizens to want digital privacy, but it is true that with anonymity comes bad actors-- Monero is the currency of choice for the majority of black market (“darknet”) transactions. Similarly, US Dollars are the main vehicle for the $320B annual drug trade. An investment here should be based on the underlying cryptographic research and technology behind this coin, as well as competitors like Zcash. 
Zero fees and instantaneous transfer make RaiBlocks extremely attractive for exchange of value, in many senses outperforming Bitcoin at its original intended purpose. This crypto has seen an explosion in price and exposure over the past month, and it may become the network of choice for transferring value within and between crypto exchanges. Just in the first week of 2018: the CEO of Ledger (makers of the most popular hardware wallet on the market) waived the $50k code review fee to get RaiBlocks on his product, and XRB got listed on Binance and Kucoin, two of the largest altcoin exchanges globally. This is one to watch for 2018. 
Developed as a single answer to the problem of supply-chain logistics, VeChain is knocking on the door of a fast-growing $8 trillion industry. Every shipping container and packaged product in the world requires constant tracking and verification. A smart economy for logistics built on the blockchain promises greater efficiency and lower cost through the entire process flow. Don’t take my word for it-- VeChain has investment from PwC (5th largest US corporation), Groupe Renault, Kuehne & Nagel (world’s largest freight company), and DIG (China’s largest wine importer). The Chinese government has mandated VeChain to serve as blockchain technology partner to the city of Gui’an, a special economic zone and testbed for China’s smart city of the future. This crypto has some of the strongest commercial partnerships in the industry, and a large active development team.
“Investment” is a misnomer. Cryptos are traded like securities, but grant you no equity (like trading currency).
It is impossible to double-spend or create a fake transaction, as each ledger is confirmed against every other ledger.
Some utility token blockchains use DAG networks or similar non-linear networks which don’t require mining.
In practice, these are giant warehouses full of specialized computers constantly processing transactions. Miners locate to the cheapest electricity source, and the bulk of mining currently occurs in China.
Centralized second-layer exchange websites have been hacked, but the core technology is untouched.
I will compile a list of information here that will be useful to understand more of what's going on in this world. Feel free to suggest anything you think would contribute or just simply post it in the comments. I need to clarify what I see my role as. My role is not to spell everything out for you and tell you what to think. I mostly see my role as basically a punch to the face of what most people think they know about this world. Whatever you think you know, its most likely a lie, because this entire world is nothing but layers and layers of lies stacked on top of each other. You never had a chance to not believe lies unless you actively fought against them and sought out truth instead which is something most people just simply don't have the time or energy for and understandably so. My job is too shake you out of your lies and if that makes you want to know more, then you will want to seek more but that has to be your own journey or else it won't make nearly as much of an impact as it needs to. Consider me the guy pointing his finger at things that need to be looked at more closely and offering a perspective that maybe you hadn't considered before. Then go look where I pointed with a new perspective and see where it leads you. If you don't care enough to do that then I don't care enough to explain things to you. First I will list the order I recommend you read my personally written stuff since there is no way to organize it on Reddit. If you are relatively new to this kind of information, there are things you should know and read before you read others.
Start here with the basic psychology of Trump explained and the rest will make more sense. Even if you don't believe in any of this other stuff, learning his psychology will help you out tremendously in understanding his actions and motives.
This lays out my basic argument for him being the "little horn" from the book of Daniel. Thought to be the Antichrist but it's possible he is just a major End Times figure that allows the true Antichrist to come into power. Only time will tell.
This talks about America/New York being Mystery Babylon in the Book of Revelation and what that means. I also connect the dots between Trump, Russia and the Scottish Rite Freemasons along with a 30 year old prediction from 1988 by the Economist magazine about a one world currency being implemented in 2018 by way of Bitcoin.
Here I talk about where all these secret societies originated from, how a prophecy from the book of Revelation about unclean frog spirits gathering the army of the Antichrist came true with the election of Donald Trump and the specific order of Free Masonry he belongs to. Does the spear that killed Christ play into this as well?
This ties all of these things together, Trump, Putin and Jewish Kabbalah. The Chabad Jews being the common link. I mainly reference many different articles pointing out these links and discuss how their end goal of the enslavement of what they call the "goyim" (Non-Jews) is going to come about.
This is mostly Bible related to the very end of whats suppose to be right before Jesus comes back. I talk about the theory that aliens will come and act as our saviors only to enslave us with something that's called the NESARA act and how that relates to the Mark of the Beast.
To really tie this all together, you really need to read and understand the information in this article/video. Especially if you are a Christian and believe Yahweh to be God and the Father of Jesus. All of my other OC should make a lot more sense after understanding the information in the aforementioned posts.
Here I talk about the dangerous cult centered around Trump that has people believing that he is this secret leader of the army against evil at the behest of God himself, how this relates to King Solomon and a dragon with a name that starts with Q.
Saturn worship is at the root of the Abrahamic religions. Saturn is the transmitter of the matrix we are all trapped in. Saturn is the Lord of the Rings. The Star of David and the black cube are 2 of it's main symbols, along with the Scythe and Sickle of the Grim Reaper.