An online “influencer” with Twitch and other accounts is reportedly being blackmailed by an employee who works as a moderator on behalf of Instagram, “shadow banning” much of her media unless she pays a ransom.
Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa has dominated Twitch and Instagram for some time, and is well-known within her niche community.
In May, she found that many of her social media photos were being deleted, a problem that could quickly snowball into an account ban- and loss of revenue.
Soon, she discovered that she was being targeted by an alleged employee of Cognizant, a US-based company that moderates platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed recently than [sic] many of your posts and stories have been removed,”a mysterious email read. “Perhaps we can reach an agreement privately.”
According to the Huffington Post, the alleged Cognizant member -who went by “Tampa” (a reference to the squalid Florida Cognizant center that made news after working conditions were leaked)- demanded a monthly ransom of 0.25 bitcoin, or around $2,600 in order to prevent Siragusa from getting shut down.
While it initially seemed like a scam, she soon noticed that Tampa knew the timestamps to posts, something that an insider would be able to see.
“When I saw the timestamps, that’s when I got concerned,” said Siragusa. “I realized this was probably an actual person with Instagram.”
While Siragusa’s agent called Facebook and attempted to explain what was happening, Facebook was having none of it.
“I can’t answer for the emails that you’re receiving,” the representative stated, mentioning that Siragusa’s posts had been axed for being “sexually suggestive.” Certain bikini photos were deemed inappropriate for Instagram due to Siragusa having “her hand near her chest, and things like that,” according to the representative. One photo, depicting her in a Hooters jersey and flagged as “nudity or pornography,” was removed because “she’s, uh, pouring water on herself.”
Meanwhile, Siragusa’s Patreon page could easily pass as a soft porn site.
Facebook would later inform the Huffington Post that no such “Tampa” was found to exist, leading many to believe that the individual is a scammer rather than a rogue employee or sentient moderation AI bent on revenge.
Siragusa is also known for her ASMR videos on YouTube, which involve making quiet noises that many people find soothing to the ear in such a way that it could be considered “erotic.”
Short for autonomous sensory meridian response, the idea of ASMR is that certain sounds -be they whispers, crinkling paper or other audio sounds- will “tickle” the inside of the ear, in what many dub a “brain orgasm.”
“ASMR is a previously unstudied sensory phenomenon, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli,” one peer study read. “This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being.”
It is unknown if “Tampa” will surface again, though one thing is for certain- he (or she) sure has it out for SIragusa.
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