So, Freenode is experiencing some political issues right now (to say the least). Andrew Lee and his peeps pretty much did a hostile network takeover from what I can gather.
The new staff wants to "take IRC further". So what are they doing to make it happen? For now, they're providing a free BNC service and adding a few bots here and there. Innovative. People are getting k-lined for questioning the new dictatorship, and you're not allowed to mention other networks in channel topics. That makes it a bit hard to take their "Canceling cancel culture or why anonymity is important" communication seriously.
"... Now you can share thoughts and views without fear of being canceled."
That's some irony right there. Oh, and they're also banning IRCCloud users :-)
Large FOSS projects are already leaving Freenode for Libera. A new network by the good old Freenode staff.
I sort of agree that it's a bit sad that the IRC protocol hasn't evolved meaningfully in the last two decades, but I don't think ruining the last active network is the way to go. IRCv3 is probably the better bet still.