- Content creator Julia Rose shared a Twitter thread on Wednesday claiming that Instagram removed two of her accounts for nudity, despite the fact that larger mainstream accounts post similar or more explicit content.
- Rose even alleged that a Facebook supervisor said they could restore her accounts for $65,000 and 2.5% of her company’s profits before revoking that offer because someone had paid to take her accounts down in the first place.
- She called on the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, to ensure that policies are enforced equally and fairly across all accounts.
- She also asked him to look into the issue of people paying for account takedowns, and Mosseri responded by claiming Rose may have been communicating with a scammer.
Julia Rose Calls Instagram Out for Unfair Policy Enforcement
Julia Rose, a content creator and founder of the digital magazine Shag Mag, claimed on Wednesday that she was asked by a Facebook employee to pay $65,000 in order for them to restore her removed Instagram accounts. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, however, says this may have been a scam.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Rose said both her personal account and her account for Shag Mag were taken down in December and have still not been reactivated. The accounts had 5.2 million and 700,000 followers respectively. They were also the primary tools she used to promote her company and her podcast, “The Shitshow.”
Rose said sources at Instagram told her the accounts were removed for impersonation and nudity, however each of those reasons left her confused. First, she noted that they were her official, verified, accounts. Secondly, while Rose often posted physically revealing content, the accounts for Playboy and other mainstream companies frequently get away with posting similar and even more explicit content.
To resolve the matter, she said a mutual friend linked her with a Facebook supervisor who said they could get her accounts back for $65,000 dollars and 2.5% of her company. She was also told to label herself as male in order to decrease her chances of another takedown. The offer was allegedly later revoked because that supervisor had been paid to remove her accounts in the first place.
Rose Reaches Out To Adam Mosseri
Rose escalated the situation in an email to Mosseri, alerting him of these alleged under-the-table deals happening at his company.
“It has now been over three weeks of filling out every possible form, using every single resource and now we are within weeks of having to terminate employees,” she wrote in that email, “because the only answers I have gotten are ‘Thank you for contacting us. Upon review, the account was correctly removed and cannot be restored’ as well as a pretty hefty dollar amount offer put on the table to get this account back from someone on the inside at Facebook (which raises even more red flags that should be addressed).”
She emphasized these accounts are part of her life’s work and business. Rose wrote that considering Mosseri’s previous promises to commit to helping young creators, he should take this issue seriously, as she is a young female CEO in the digital space.
“I am asking for a fair assessment of reinstating my accounts, for fair treatment, and for you to value me as a woman whose body should not be seen as pornographic,” she continued. “I am not asking for you to allow nudity on your platform but I am asking you to treat accounts fairly across the board and equally with more clear guidelines that can help ensure other small businesses won’t get shut down, like myself.
Rose claims she got no response but said that when her male friend messaged him on the platform, Mosseri immediately responded by saying “not sure of the specifics but I will look into.” Communication apparently stopped there.
Rose Calls for Change at Instagram
Since then, another Instagram account she had made and built 100,000 followers on was again taken down without warning. Rose pleaded in her thread for the platform to enforce their content policies equally and fairly regardless of who posted it. She also encouraged Mosseri to look into the issue of employees being paid to take down accounts.
“How is it fair that my business and I, a female CEO can be shutdown for the EXACT same content that mainstream companies like Playboy get away with posting?” she asked.
“I encourage all who have a voice and the power to create real change to stand up and use your platform for all of the women and women owned businesses who are currently being taken down and treated unfairly by iInstagram,” she continued.
“I do not believe that a woman’s body by itself should be looked at as pornographic or sexually explicit.”
Rose made another Instagram account and attempted to post her Twitter thread there but said the post was taken down within minutes. As of Thursday morning, however, a post containing her tweets was available on her new page.
Her thread prompted many to say they have faced similar problems with Instagram and have heard numerous stories of employees getting paid to either remove or restore accounts. Many used the hashtag #FreeJulia to call attention to the problem and encourage Instagram to help her. Big creators, including YouTubers Corinna Kopf and Adam22 tried to call attention to the issue.
“The way Instagram blatantly shits all over women trying to make something out of themselves is insane and they need to be held accountable,” Adam22 wrote.
Adam Mosseri Responds
Mosseri ended up responding to Rose’s thread late Wednesday.
“This looks like a scam, we sometimes see people pretending to be employees to defraud people,” he wrote. “Instagram will never DM you or ask you for money to recover an account. DM me if you have questions, happy to help.”
Rose responded by saying she had sent Mosseri a direct message, but she has not shared any updates on the process of restoring her accounts. Both her personal account and the Shag Mag account are still not accessible on the platform as of Thursday afternoon.
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.
Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked
The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally.
Login and Credit Card Info Secure
Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.
“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.
The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.
As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools.
Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?
While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move.
It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users.
At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention.
“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.
“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads.
“I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments.
The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn
The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.
Massive Collection of Data Leaked
Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.
Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.
The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.
These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators.
Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.
Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.
“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”
Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.
“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.”
Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”
Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations.
Could More Data Come Out?
This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two.
For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”
They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.
Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets.
Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.