Censoring the internet 21

The internet was a revolutionary environment that liberated individuals to make their own choices. Bloggers could compete with big media. Leaked emails could bring down a government. But the internet is becoming less free. Access is controlled by a handful of tech companies that keep getting bigger and bigger. The survivors of the scale wars will combine cable, content and commerce in new ways. And in a politicized culture, they won’t just signal their political views, they will enforce them.

So Sultan Knish writes at his website on the subject of internet censoring by those who control the technology:

How can you tell that internet censorship is really taking off? Easy. It’s becoming a business model.

Steven Brill is raising $6 million to launch News Guard. This new service will rate news sites on their trustworthiness from green to red. Forget politically unbiased algorithms. The ratings will be conducted by “qualified, accountable human beings” from teams of “40 to 60 journalists”.

Once upon a time, journalism meant original writing. Now it means deciding which original writing to censor.

“Can trust be monetized?” The Street’s article on News Guard asks. But it isn’t really trust that’s being monetized. It’s censorship. It’s doing the dirty work that Google and Facebook don’t want to do.

But nevertheless do, as we know from experience. We will come to that.

The Dems and their media allies have been pressuring Google and Facebook to do something about the “fake news” that they blame for Trump’s win. The big sites outsourced the censorship to media fact checkers. The message was, “Don’t blame us, now you’re in charge.”

Facebook made a deal with ABC News and the AP, along with Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes, to outsource the censoring for $100K. When two of these left-wing groups declare that an article is fake, Facebook marks it up and viewership drops by 80%.

Eighty percent!

Not only does the roster of fact checkers lean to the left, but so do its notions of what’s true and false. For example, Snopes and Politifact both insist that General Pershing’s forces never buried the bodies of Muslim terrorists with pigs. But General Pershing specifically stated in his autobiography, “These Juramentado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice that the Mohamedans held in abhorrence. The bodies were publicly buried in the same grave with a dead pig.”

Both the New York Times and the Scientific American reported on it at the time. Despite that Snopes rated this widely accepted historical fact as “False” and Politifact marked it as “Pants on Fire”.

Snopes also recently marked a story that Christ Church in Virginia is removing a George Washington plaque as false even though the church publicly announced that it was doing so.

Politifact and Snopes are entitled to their incorrect opinions. The trouble is that they don’t extend the same privilege to those they disagree with. And Google and Facebook promote fake fact checks while burying sites that discuss actual historical facts. The big internet companies don’t want to get involved in all these arguments. But nor are they willing to let their users decide for themselves anymore.

And so Net Nanny for news has become an actual business model. Instead of protecting children from pornography, News Nanny protects adults from news. And from views outside the left’s bubble.

By adopting the News Nanny model, Google and Facebook are treating their users like children.

The News Guard model is in some ways even more insidious than biased fact checking because it sets up lists of approved and disapproved sites. Google is rolling out something similar with its “knowledge panels” for publishers. Search for the New York Times and the panels will tell you how many Pulitzers the paper has won. Search for Front Page Magazine and the panel note describes it as, “Political alignment: Right-wing politics”. No note listing a left-wing political alignment appears in the panel for the New York Times despite its recent laudatory series about the Soviet Union and Communism.

The media never has an official political orientation. Not even when it’s cheering Communism. But its opponents and critics always have one. Follow Google’s link for Front Page’s political alignment and the top entry states, “Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable.” 

That’s a wholly inaccurate description of either Front Page Magazine or conservative politics in America. And it’s another example of how the fight against “fake news” by the left actually ends up producing it.

Fact checking has become a pipeline to censorship. The big social and search companies outsource fact checking to third parties and then demonetize, marginalize and outright ban views and publishers that those third parties disagree with. Fact checks are no longer an argument. They’re the prelude to a ban.

Google and Facebook respectively dominate search and social media. When they appoint official censors for their services, those left-wing fact checkers become the gatekeepers of the internet.

And the internet isn’t supposed to have gatekeepers.

Senator Al Franken, of all people, made that point at the Open Markets Institute. OMI’s people have emerged as the leading opponents of big tech monopolies on the left.

“No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t,” Franken said. “And Facebook, Google and Amazon, like ISPs, should be neutral in their treatment of the flow of lawful information and commerce on their platform.”

We never thought we’d have a good word to say about Al Franken. But this time we like what he said.

There is no more obvious example of the lack of neutrality than Facebook and Google’s partnership with “fact checkers”. If Net Neutrality means anything, it should strike down Google’s partnership with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network and Facebook’s use of Snopes to silence conservatives.

When sites picked and chose content based on algorithms, they were deciding which content reached users based on what was likely to be popular. And, occasionally, based on their own agendas. Now they are picking and choosing which content reaches users based on political orientation.

While the advocates for Net Neutrality rage against cable companies, Comcast and Charter aren’t engaging in political censorship. No matter how they disguise it, Google and Facebook’s news nannies are. …

Trust in the mainstream media has never been lower. Yet the big tech companies insist that mainstream media sources are the only trustworthy ones. They want us to trust them, because they don’t trust us.

We do not want our posts to be “about us”. But this time we make an exception. Our Facebook page is being subjected to what is called “shadow-banning”. Fewer and fewer people are “reached”. Day by day the number of “likes” is decreased, stripped away, usually by twos and threes, but now and then by larger numbers. Last week we lost 30 in a few days. (The “likes” at the moment of this writing stand at 10,779; the number of our followers at 10,425.) Sometimes  when we have asked to “boost” a particular post (for which a charge is made), our request has been denied. We posted a complaint about being stripped of “likes” and having ever fewer readers, and sent it directly to Facebook, asking them why this was happening. We received no reply. But a regular long-time reader of our page sent us this information:

Well I just found out it’s worse than you know – I’ve been relying on my “feed” using the FB app for Android to see your posts since I both “like” and follow TAC. However, I just explicitly went to your page and encountered hundreds (yes, literally hundreds, going back many months) of TAC posts that have never appeared in my feed! What the hell can we do about this blatant censorship?

The discouraging answer is – nothing.

The Left, though politically weak, owns the culture. Owns the mainstream media. And owns the internet.

It is not our Atheism which offends our Facebook censors, it is our Conservatism.

  • I’ve written my own satirical take on all this:

    “Theresa May Is A Soviet Sleeper Spy (SATIRE)”
    http://participator.online/articles/2017/12/theresa_may_is_a_soviet_sleeper_spy_satire_20171217.php

    • liz

      Good article! However, it’s too close to the sinister truth for comfort.
      May (just like the Clintons, Obamas and the rest of the leftists) are brainwashed enough as it is, even without KGB programming!

      • Thanks Liz, indeed its almost too plausible to be called satire unfortunately.

  • To give people an idea how truly shocking the internet censorship is becoming in Europe, try watching this video (6 mins long). Please note I cannot view this in the UK on youtube:

    https://youtu.be/VCNWtVoOLlo

    Even in the US, commenting under the video on youtube is disabled.

    If you try to access it from the UK (and apparently many other European countries), you get a message saying this video is not available in your country. Thankfully technology is one step ahead of the game, and the video is available on bitchute in the UK:

    “Polish patriot fight back against mischaracterization of National day marches”
    https://www.bitchute.com/video/3JA7Rq6OssJz/

    I am beginning to feel more and more as an East German trapped in the USSR 50 years ago probably felt looking out towards the free West. This is not censorship by legal means however, it is censorship by the govt. leaning on particular companies that they imagine to have monopolies. Very quickly these monopolies will start to be broken as a consequence and we will see the rise of new types of websites like bitchute that are going to be much more difficult for the govt.s of Europe to censor.

    • I’ve put this on Facebook with a link. It doesn’t seem to work – the video starts okay but stops. I was able to watch it through from here – from your comment I’ll post a longish video of the march in Warsaw, and refer readers to this comment of yours so they can try to watch this video too as the right interpretation of it.

      • Great, thanks for publicizing that. A very mild mannered man tells the truth about a march and it’s censored. We can expect the situation to get considerably worse from here, I think I might do a quick post on the subject today.

  • The ForBritain Facebook page has been blocked, AMW had to do a broadcast from her personal page last night. On 18th Dec they are going to start censoring big time on Facebook and Twitter so it will probably get considerably worse. At the moment I am displaying the ForBritain banner on my Twitter account, I get the impression I will no longer be able to do that without facing a ban after the 18th. Time to get on:

    gab.ai

    • Thanks for the warning, Chauncey. I’ll tell our Facebook readers.

      • I think this will only affect people in Europe/UK but you never know. This is the result of govt.s leaning on social media as seen in my post on the Trump retweets.

      • PS. Interestingly the British National Party facebook page is still accessible, the real racists get a free pass!

        • One of our British commenters on our Facebook page, Vivienne Outram, writes this today:

          “I saw this [the video criticizing the EU reaction to the Warsaw march] before it was censored, it was shared by Tommy Robinson. The UK government are beginning to suppress all debate. Jayden Franzen and her colleague at Britain First have both just been arrested for hate speech in Northern Ireland. For Britain, the only party in the UK talking about Islam has been denied political status and their Facebook page has been shut down. Tommy Robinson has been harassed by the police. So, Teresa May’s government is the most oppressive British government in living history.”

          • That’s a completely accurate statement of what’s happening. The electoral commission denied her “For Britain” party name on very flimsy grounds and suggested they rename it as “For Britain Movement”. That application is now being “considered”.

            Pat Condell is the latest victim (again of Youtube censorship) according to this tweet from AMW:

            https://twitter.com/AMDWaters/status/941697155760353280

            (this is all going to get a lot worse come next Monday 18th December)

  • Dr Bill Warner also complains of “docking” by Facebook:

    https://twitter.com/PoliticalIslam/status/930537472592719872

    • I’ve posted a Dr. Bill Warner video, on why Islam cannot be reformed.

    • Done it. I’ll ask our Facebook regulars and visitors to do it too.

    • I’ve also now now posted Dr. Warner’s announcement of being “docked”. That’s the punishment we are getting.

  • George Garbow the meme maestro also says he has had some memes blacked out:

    https://twitter.com/forgefarbow/status/931497346432512000

    Most of them are still getting through at the moment though:

    https://twitter.com/forgefarbow/status/931365669559418880

    • This is imposition of orthodoxy. If these people were in power they’d be Torquemadas and Stalins. Their virtual monopolies must be broken. Thanks for all the links, Chauncey.

  • liz

    Yes, when they advance from just pushing propaganda to censoring all opposing viewpoints, as well as prosecuting people for “hate speech”, we’re entering Stalinist territory. Yet they accuse Trump of being a fascist dictator.