Crash Override Network
If you ask any of CON’s members (assuming they choose to speak), they’ll tell you they joined the group to fight what they saw as the abuse of vulnerable individuals on social media. This is only partially factual. In truth, CON started as a Skype chat and morphed into a Slack channel where members gossiped about people they disliked on Twitter and targeted supporters of the Gamergate movement. I would know, because I was one of them.
--Ian Miles Cheong
Crash Override Network (CON for short) is an “anti-harassment taskforce” founded by Zoë Quinn and Alex Lifschitz with assistance from a number of other individuals that the pair claims were victims of harassment and online abuse due to the GamerGate Controversy, being on the receiving ends of the fury lashed out by the less civil supporters of the consumer revolt. The exact date of founding was unclear, some sources claim November 2014 while others claim January 2015.
The group stylizes itself as a "crisis management" group, allegedly providing counselling services, help seeking shelter for victims, and assistance in mitigating the damage of cyber attacks. It received an enormous amount of support from Social Media platforms, and multiple references to it by activism groups. It was even appointed as a as a trusted safety resource by Twitter in May 2015.
Supposedly developed in order to combat online hate such as acts of harassment, misogyny, and death threats etc. CON has, in reality, achieved very little of substance in harassment prevention. It became better-know for acting as a platform where its members launch cyberattacks under the guise of a legitimate “anti-hate group”.
The group's official website shut down in late 2016 following the leaking of their chat logs to the general public with the help of Ian Miles Cheong. The excuse CON had given is:
"Due to overwhelming need for assistance with online abuse outpacing our current resources, the hotline is temporarily suspended. This is to allow us to the time and means to focus our efforts on restructuring the organization to better meet the needs of the online community seeking our help. Our public resources and advocacy efforts will remain active while we improve the way that the helpline internally operates to provide free, reliable, and effective aid to more people than ever before. We apologize for our inability to take on additional casework in the interim, and are working fiercely to keep the downtime as short as possible."
A number of its former clients and associates go on to extensively criticize it, and to this day, confirmed positive feedback from CON’s clients are unheard of.
Why It Was Rotten
- The site often offers dubious or outright ludicrous advise to harassed people, such as "DO NOT INFORM THE POLICE OVER HARASSMENT".
- False advertising: claims to be supported by law enforcement while telling its clients not to contact law enforcement.
- The site was never intended to help others who had genuine issues, instead it was set up to serve its members’ personal aims.
- Repeatedly involves itself in harassment, doxing and misinformation campaigns.
- Hypocrisy: it claims that its purpose is to prevent and resolve issues such as harassment, hate speech, threats and doxing, while the reality is the exact opposite—not only do they encourage such acts against their opposers but also perform said acts themselves.
- Some of the site's members, such as Randi Harper, are known harassers themselves.
- Claims to have formed a partnership with Feminist Frequency.
- Zoë Quinn herself wrote a book titled Crash Override—while the published work appears to be honest, compassionate and funny. A leaked draft shows that Quinn (un)surprisingly cares more about her personal image than being an actual helpful human being.
- Bribed the infamously abusive moderator Ryulong to edit Wikipedia articles to their liking.
- The leaked chat logs showed just how hypocritical certain S.J.Ws have to potential to be.
- Helped in discrediting GamerGate opposition even further.
- The whole incident helped Ian Miles Cheong realize his unethical behaviors of the past and cause him to drop his pro-SocJus ways mostly.
- Twitter is no longer partnered with C.O.N.
- They closed down in 2016.