You’ve got to hand it to Erik Finman, baby-faced Bitcoin millionaire: The guy’s great at spotting a lucrative scam opportunity from miles away. Finman (which we must assume is a portmanteau of “financial man”) has surveyed the landscape of contemporary America and spotted the piss-yellow twinkle of gold glimmering from the rumpled khaki pockets of the Fox News weekday afternoon-viewing set. The pickaxe he’s using to excavate this treasure? An overpriced piece of junk called the “Freedom Phone.”
Advertised with a proudly waving American flag, the Freedom Phone is touted on its website as “Completely. Uncensored.” It calls itself a “free speech and privacy first focused phone” that includes “features like tracking blockers and an uncensorable app store” that will allow you to “read what you like[,] watch what you like [, and] think what you like.” Basically that just means it comes preloaded with Parler, the plague rat-infested, open sewer version of the already shitty Twitter, and has a VPN on at all times.
It also costs $499.99 and is being advertised with this video, which is a sight to behold.
After introducing the historical peril of privately owned social media sites belatedly and inefficiently enforcing the bare minimum of checks against hate speech, Finman declares that he’s created the Freedom Phone to fight for our rights to call someone a slur online without facing any consequences. Resplendent in an oversized, popped-collar sweater, with his words just barely audible over stirring orchestral music, the boy inventor discusses the “PatriApp Store.” Finman also touts privacy features pretty similar to those enabled on most browser apps, and warns viewers that if social media operators can “censor a president, they will censor anyone.”
“Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg censored MLK or Abraham Lincoln,” he says, without a trace of irony. “The course of history would have been altered forever.”
A Twitter thread from Finman preemptively bemoans the inability of American manufacturers to make the MAGA-ready device, promises it was not created in “mainland China,” and explains it’s produced by “the free and freedom loving people of Hong Kong.”
Since its announcement, the Freedom Phone has been revealed to be a slightly reworked Umidigi A9 Pro, which is made by a Chinese manufacturer and typically retails for about $120. Its custom “Freedom OS” Android-based operating system also seems to be very vulnerable to hackers since, as CNET notes, it’s not officially supported and “might not get the latest patches and security updates.” Gizmodo calls it “a potential security (and thus also privacy) nightmare.” And, as testament to how much they believe in the product, Finman and supporter Candace Owens (one of the right-wing promoters who gets $50 per phone sold) were tweeting about the cool new device from their iPhones.
We’ll take two, please.
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