Wimkin, a free speech network, says it was hit with a 'massive' DDoS attack after being banned from Apple's App Store

Wimkin, a free speech network, says it was hit with a 'massive' DDoS attack after being banned from Apple's App Store
The US Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters in Washington.REUTERS/Erin Scott
  • Apple and Google both removed Wimkin, a free-speech social network, from their app stores, as The Wall Street Journal first reported.
  • On its website, Wimkin posted a notice, saying "a massive DDOS attack attempt came in" after the removals.
  • At least one group on the network had repeatedly called for an armed militia to form in Washington during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Wimkin, a free-speech social media network, said it was hit with a "massive" attack by hackers after Apple and Google removed its app from their stores.

On Tuesday, Wimkin had been removed from Apple's App Store for not moderating violent content, including some users calling for a civil war, as The Wall Street Journal first reported. Google planned to remove the app early Friday morning, according to Wimkin.

On its website, Wimkin posted a notice, saying "a massive DDOS attack attempt came in" after the removals were announced. In the last week, additional DDOS attacks had disrupted the network, and disabled the Wimkin app, the company said in a Facebook post.
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"We are placing the site in maintenance mode while we combat such. Please check back shortly. We'll announce when back online. Thank you for your patience and support. Thank you," Wimkin said on its website.

With about 300,000 users, Wimkin is relatively small. Its design mimics Facebook's pages and posts. Its founder Jason Sheppard said on LinkedIn that his network "does not censor its users for anything but criminal activity and allows free speech with no fact checking."

Last week, Apple and Google both removed Parler, a larger free speech social network. As violent mobs ransacked the hallways of Congress on Wednesday, a chorus of Parler users called for violence. Parler went offline on Sunday night, as Amazon removed it from its web hosting service.
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Read more: Parler should be taken seriously as a hotbed of extremism and conspiracy theories, a new study shows

Both Parler and Wimkin said they're dedicated to free speech. They had welcomed users who were removed from Twitter or Facebook for supporting QAnon, using violent rhetoric, or other policy violations. Parler had been the top download on the App Store before its removal last week. In recent months, Wimkin users had posted about marching on Washington in January. At least one group on the network had repeatedly called for an armed militia to form in Washington during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
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"Millions of American Militia will meet in Washington DC, on January 20, 2021 for the purpose of preventing any attempt by the treasonous domestic enemy Joe Biden, or any other member of the Communist Organized Crime Organization known as The Democratic Party, from entering the White House belonging to We The People," said a post on one group's page, as captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

Some posts and users who had incited violence were removed after Apple notified the app, Sheppard told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple said it had received complaints that Wimkin was "used to plan and facilitate illegal and dangerous activities on January 20th," according to Wimkin, which posted its conversation with Apple on its Facebook page.
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Apple did not respond to a request for comment. "We have determined that Wimkin does not have sufficient user generated content precautions in place to protect the health and safety of users," an App Store representative said, according to Wimkin.

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