Thais Ditch Twitter for Blockchain-Based Social Network Minds

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Thais are deserting Twitter in favor of the blockchain-based social networking tool Minds.

Minds is a free and open source distributed social networking service that gives users ERC20 tokens that can be used to promote content or crowdfund other users. Tokens are awarded based on the time a user spends accessing the service and the number of interactions that they have.

The platform was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut. Unlike some social media platforms that are moving toward increased censorship, Minds describes its content policy as "based on the First Amendment and governed by a community jury in order to minimize bias and censorship."

Minds founder Bill Ottman told Coconuts Bangkok that the platform saw a spike of 100,000 new Thai users in a single day last week, causing the service to crash temporarily. According to Minds, there are now more than 200,000 Minds users in Thailand.

Ottman said: “We are thrilled to provide privacy, internet freedom and digital rights for Thai netizens. This is exactly the reason Minds exists.”

Among the Thai Twitter users to defect to Minds was prominent writer and social critic Sarinee Achavanuntakul. Her final tweet, posted on May 21, read, “Say goodbye to Twitter and meet at Minds.”

Twitter became popular in Thailand as a way for citizens to speak their minds anonymously in a country where speech is harshly restricted and the lese-majeste law forbids the insulting of the monarchy. 

Journalists who criticize Thailand's military rule are detained by the government and subjected to what the Committee to Protect Journalists describes as "attitude adjustment sessions."

According to Quartz, Thais have "grown wary and distrustful of Twitter over a recent string of developments on the platform that sparked privacy concerns."

One such development was an update to Twitter's privacy policy on May 19, giving the platform permission to share device-level data like a user's IP address with its business partners. 

The update came days after Twitter announced in a blog post that the company had launched an official Twitter Thailand account and partnered with the Thai government and local NGOs.

Achavanuntakul said in recent months, young users "who have been critical of the monarchy” on Twitter have received visits from the police at home.

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