TorrentFreak is a website that has been in existence for over a decade now, bringing users the latest news concerning file-sharing, copyright, and piracy. Although piracy doesn't come without risks, it seems that writing about it and even denouncing it also comes with its share of problems.
As the website explains on a dedicated post, their newsletter provider recently cut ties with them for being “too risky”.
Mailchimp is currently one of the largest and widely used marketing and email platforms, many websites and companies benefit from their services. Until recently, TorrentFreak used to be one of those websites.
Mailchimp kicked out TorrentFreak for being “too risky”
Apparently, one of TorrentFreak's latest articles triggered Mailchimp's spam filters, which caused the suspension of the newsletter service for the site. So, if you were subscribed to their mail list and haven't received any emails lately, now you know the reason.
TorrentFreak acknowledges the fact that they usually deal with controversial topics, but they also defend the fact that they have always approached such topics with professional journalism, reporting on both copyright enforcement and pirate's counteractions. Being able to share and broadcast information is essential to the freedom of the press.
The publication explains that they tried to get in touch with Mailchimp to get clarification as to why they were banned. However, all they got was an automated response that didn't clarify a lot:
“Our automated abuse-prevention system, Omnivore, detected account content that violates our Acceptable Use Policy”.
When TorrentFreak asked for further clarification, an employee replied that “Unfortunately, the risk associated with your account is too great
for us to continue to support”.
It never was specified what exactly caused Mailchimp to drop out TorrentFreak, but further insight from the platform revealed that it had something to do with the spam filters used by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) concerning content and keyword in bulk email.
It is important to mention that TorrentFreak's content is sometimes mislabeled under the piracy or hacking categories since it contains many keywords often associated with them. This, of course, causes poorly automated filters to block the site entirely.
Staff at TorrentFreak hypothesize that this could've led Mailchimp to drop out the service. ISP's can block all mail sent from their servers if they were to detect a problem. The aforementioned is the answer as to why it “too risky” for Mailchimp.
Readers of the TorrentFreak have commented on the situation and expressed their support for the site. Some of them even have suggested that Mailchimp is not “freely choosing who to do business with, they're being blackmailed to silence a company the establishment doesn't like”.
It's not only Mailchimp that is harming freedom of the press and freedom of speech when it comes to controversial topics. Journalists on YouTube are finding themselves being suppressed as a result of YouTube's filters on “hate speech”, causing inadvertent censorship by the video platform.