Is Brave exploiting the creators it claims to be helping?

22 Dec, 2018 | Updated: 22 Dec, 2018
by David Robb
Opinion
Is Brave exploiting the creators it claims to be helping?

Brave, the company behind Basic Attention Token (BAT) and a decentralized web browser, is facing more controversy over the way it operates. One creator recently took to Twitter to criticize the company for taking donations on his behalf, and other privacy violations.

Brave's eco-system is designed to balance the financial interests of advertisers, media outlets, and creators. It lets users tip creators for the content they have contributed, directly through the Brave web browser, and free BAT tokens are sometimes given away to users to encourage this practice. The company recently got into trouble for confiscating these tokens, which it claimed to do in order to prevent bots from exploiting the system, and Brave's founder admitted that the project wasn't entirely decentralized.

Read more: Basic Attention Token (BAT) is "semi-centralized", admits founder

Youtuber and video content creator Tom Scott has now claimed that Brave has been exploiting him and his followers in a number of ways. The company was apparently taking donations for him from users on his behalf, without his knowledge or consent. He asked for these tips to be refunded, but was told that this was impossible.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Scott points out the various ways that Brave has violated his privacy, despite its claiming that it hasn't broken any rules. He claims that their lack of an 'opt-in' for creators means that they are effectively monetizing their content without their consent, and that they are falsely claiming to represent these creators. However, it does appear that they might be changing their policies sometime in the future.

Many observers agreed that Brave's practices were sketchy or misguided, and Scott's tweets confirmed their suspicions about the project. Others suggested that it was the decentralized anonymity of the project that meant that refunds would be impossible, and even criticized Scott for "slandering" a "revolutionary platform".

Read more: Civic's ID verification implemented in Brave Browser; HTC is making BAT-enabled Brave its default browser

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