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Monday, November 13, 2017

The Race to Censor Internet News

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.

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%.

Facebook is reportedly considering adding the Weekly Standard to its panel of fact checkers. Even if that were to happen, it would be the difference between putting the New York Times without David Brooks or the Times with David Brooks in charge of deciding what you can read on Facebook. Adding a token conservative who is acceptable to the left doesn’t change the inherent bias of the system.

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.

And it isn’t meant to stop there.

The Google Blog casually mentions that the panels will also list, “claims the publisher has made that have been reviewed by third parties”. You get one guess as to who those “third parties” will be.

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.”

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.

News Guard is an ominous warning that online censorship is becoming a viable business model as the big tech companies look around for someone else to do their dirty work for them. But subcontracted censorship is still censorship. And the only people impressed by the credentials of the “fact checkers” are those who share their politics. Unfortunately that covers the leadership of Google and Facebook.

Discussions about fake news often begin and end with “trust”. Major media outlets with Pulitzers are trustworthy. Major fact checking operations are also trustworthy. Even Snopes is somehow trustworthy despite its utter lack of professionalism, and its founders accusing each other of embezzlement,

But “trust” has more than one meaning. We trust those people and organizations we like. And sometimes those organizations form a trust. And anyone who isn’t in, is untrustworthy.

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.

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.

If we don’t fight now, ten years from now conservatives will be the rats in the walls of the internet.

13 comments:

Infidel said...

Apparently they are developing more sophisticated algorithms now, which could get scary.

Dennis Latham said...

You can't believe anything you read or hear or even see anymore. Facebook changes words all the time into other words. I haven't trusted any news in several years. When I do watch news, it's FOX, but who knows if their stuff is even true? We are in a big war and there will be no winners. In the end everything will be destroyed. Most people can't pay that price. Those who can will live in a disaster world. Most in America are still insulated from the coming disasters, so it's best just to live life and make sure you can take care of you own.

Anonymous said...

There is a quick and easy fix for this that does not require legislation. Have the social media companies reclassified as common carriers. The FCC can do that.

Once reclassified they can no longer hide behind the stupid Good Samaritan provision of the DMCA. Censoring *anything* will open themselves to liability for everything ever transmitted through their sites.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

Barbara Nelson said...

Or someone could develop competing search/social media/fact-check sites... I agree that this is awful, and that to date, there is no competent competition, but only the government can *censor* content.

D.D.Mao said...

"If we don't fight now, ten years from now conservatives will be the rats in the walls of the internet."

This would be true.........if you were really conservatives. In America today politics is made up of too many tribal partisans who claim to be conservatives and use the excuse "I don't care what he did the Democrats are out to destroy our way of life". They willingly go down the same road as the left to justify electing incompetent and morally corrupt political hacks who haven't a clue what conservatism consist of and in reality there is no difference between the way the left destroys our way of life and the way they are destroying our way of life. When you ignore principles simply for winning at any cost I have to ask what exactly are you preserving and what other means will you tolerate to achieve your ends?

"We hold these truths to be self evident......". To little in America life is self evident today and when it comes to political tribalism an alternate reality of facts and conspiracy theories compete equally for attention with honest information. It isn't "big tech companies" we need to fear in the immediate future as much as the echo chamber of charlatan demagoguery and lowering the bar of what is acceptable. Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves and as such loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede blind loyalty to any man or party.

Anonymous said...

This was written in 1933. It could've been written yesterday.

If you want to see where things are going and what to look for, read this publication and search out its associations (Technocracy) - https://ia800306.us.archive.org/25/items/TechnocracyAndSocialism/TS.pdf

There is a battle going on for our hearts and minds and who controls the future. Control of the interwebs is just symptomatic of the agenda being played out. Build your foundation on rocks, not on sand.

Nice job as always, Daniel!

mike18xx said...

> There is a quick and easy fix for this that does not require legislation. Have the social media companies reclassified as common carriers. The FCC can do that.

-- That is most fucking retarded idea (and par for the course when it comes to purported conservative attempts to use government to fix problems).

The real solution is to burn the FCC to the ground -- who do you think controls the MSM in the first place? It's literally ground-zero for the commies.

Anonymous said...

At my local library jihadwatch and pamelageller are blocked websites. I haven't checked Mr. Greenfield's website yet (I almost never bother going to my local library) but I imagine it is as well.

Mr. Cohen said...

The mainstream “news” media never mentions that Islam’s most sacred writings – the Koran and Hadiths -- are filled with anti-Jewish hate. Some examples:

Why Muslims Hate Jews:

https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/12/guest-post-why-muslims-hate-jews.html

http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/03/guest-post-famous-last-words.html

https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2017/01/guest-post-forgotten-oppression.html

___________________________________
The Koran teaches that Jews are the biggest enemies of Muslims.

The Koran’s 5th chapter [al-ma’idah = the table], verse 82 says:

“You will find that the people most
hostile towards the believers [Muslims]
are the Jews and the polytheists...”
___________________________________
Islam teaches that the Islamic messianic era cannot come until ALL (100%) of Jews are killed dead – even Jews who never visited the land of Israel, even those Jews who are non-Zionist, even those Jews who are anti-Zionist:

Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 56:
Narrated by Abu Huraira:

Allah's Messenger [Mohammed] said,

"The Hour will not be established
until you fight with the Jews,
and the stone behind which a Jew
will be hiding will [miraculously] say:

"O Muslim!
There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him!"

SOURCE: Sahih al-Bukhari 2924, Book 56,
Hadith 137, Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 175
___________________________________
Notice how this Islamic teaching is NEVER
mentioned in the mainstream news media because it
gives the wrong message: It reveals the truth about Islam! ___________________________________
Islam Teaches that Jews are Apes and Pigs:

www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/muslim-clerics-jews-are-the-descendants-of-apes-pigs-and-other-animals
___________________________________
Notice how this Islamic teaching is NEVER
mentioned in the mainstream news media,
because it gives the wrong message:
It reveals the truth about Islam!
___________________________________

Anonymous said...

Follow your best instincts. Don't advocate any form of regulation. Social media is private. They may do anything they wish. Shut down your social media presence. Don't play their game. Yes, it is a lonely battle. The internet, however, remains free.

Pa. D said...

The race to save America, more like save America from its absolute chronic obsession with guns of all shapes and sizes, even the most die hard should by now realise that "guns" are not about about gun control how can you have gun control when you have a country with as many guns as it has people?, yeah get that around your head disturbing statistic, the mass murders "only in America" is another extremely disturbing statistic, the fact is America needs a serious culture change, and let the youth of the next generations not grow up over guns, who in the real world actually needs a gun??

2nd Amendment my ass, the 2nd amendment should be right beside my toilet roll dispenser, because all it has done has cost numerous and numerous countless and countless American lives, how can you live with yourselves?.

Seriously how can you justify the slaughter of innocents so goddamn regularly its got so regular that people have become immune, which is seriously seriously wrong!

Anonymous said...

The leftist-liberal-feminist-islamist conglomerate wants everyone to believe in them, i.e. the media, even if they can’t prove what they claim; the next step is asking to believe in them even with proofs to the contrary. Think the elders of Chappaqua…

Dennis Latham said...

Pa.D: Mass murder only in America? Have you ever checked all the mass murder with guns in the Middle East and Africa? If America has no guns it has no freedom. There are nuts everywhere and probably 99% of mass murderers are Democrats. Are you from the part of Europe we saved with guns or the part we kicked the crap out of with guns. Which ever, thanks to guns you don't have to speak German.

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