SCROOGLE FAKEBOOK BLACKLIST
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Last month, we reported the internet is now controlled by an “international consortium” of nations, many of which do not believe in the ideas of free inquiry, independent journalism and unfettered investigation the Internet has provided researchers since its inception.
Since the switch, there have been discussions on how it appears to be a convenient move in times where governments are now becoming more aware of the power of social media and how it has been used to rally protesters and radicalize terrorists.
Since that time, commentary by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has not been favorable to a free and open internet. More and more we are beginning to see that free and open access to information on the Internet is at risk: more than 60 countries around the world practice some form of Internet censorship, and both the number of countries practicing censorship and the proportion of Internet users who are subject to it are likely to increase.
Most countries like China censor material that is politically sensitive.
Censorship in the People’s Republic of China is implemented or mandated by the China’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China. The government censors content for mainly political reasons, but also to maintain its control over the populace.
In the United States, free and open press including internet press has been a vital tool in receiving information and uncovering political malfeasance that has been ignored or overlooked by corporate controlled network media.
I believe that citizens have the right to know when their access has been obstructed, restricted, or tampered with, so that they can make informed decisions on information access.
As I reported last night, the mainstream media has been scrambling to find reasons why Trump won the election. CNN recently issued 24 theories as to why he won the election.
Their top two theories deal with social media and their inability to stop the distribution of what CNN calls, fake news.
The term, fake news alone is Orwellian news speak for news they see as inappropriate or alternative news that is hard hitting and exposes the impunity of the elite.
Unfortunately, I can smell the rotten odor of a talking point that will be parroted by the media in order to vilify the internet yet again and declare that they are the authority and that they are the only ones who have a right to disseminate information to the public.
When you see the exact same wording repeated over and over, generally it’s a “talking point” that someone has informed the media they are to emphasize. The media will use “fake news” as a talking point and will more than likely use it as a political cudgel to destroy the notion that Hillary Clinton ran an ineffective campaign.
It has always been a good rule to avoid and never trust talking points, or anyone who uses them in order to sound like they are well-informed because they are merely parroting the mainstream media.
War has been declared on what is being called “Fake News” and the tactics can be compared to what is implemented in the People’s Republic of China.
Once again, this, one of many reactions to the failure of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
The accusation or conspiracy theory provided by the political literati is that popular news curators and aggregators such as Google and Facebook had distributed news created by “fake” and “false” websites, thus influencing public opinion.
So, in an attempt to curb such websites, Google and Facebook announced measures aimed at halting the spread of “fake news” on the internet by targeting how the creators of this alleged “phony content” make money: advertising.
Google said it is working on a policy change to prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network, while Facebook updated its advertising policies to spell out that its ban on deceptive and misleading content applies to fake news.
Google said in a statement:
“Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” The company did not detail how it would implement or enforce the new policy, which some accuse is the monetary equivalent of censorship.
The shifts comes as Google, Facebook and Twitter face a backlash over the role they played in the U.S. presidential election by allowing the spread of false and often malicious information that might have swayed voters toward Republican candidate, Donald Trump.
However, it was originally reported that both Google, whose chairman Eric Schmidt collaborated with the Clinton campaign according to the Podesta emails, and Facebook, was accused of doing everything in their power to promote a Clinton win.
So it appears both are now spinning some fake news of their own in order to cover their asses.
Reuters reports the issue provoked a fierce debate within Facebook especially, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg insisting twice in recent days the site had no role in influencing the election. Facebook’s steps are limited to its ad policies, and do not target fake news sites shared by users on their news feeds.
“We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it will continue to vet publishers to ensure compliance.
Google also does not address the issue of fake news or hoaxes appearing in Google search results. That happened in the last few days, when a search for ‘final election count’ for a time took users to a disinformation site that reported that Trump won the popular vote. Votes are still being counted, with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton showing a slight lead.
Google has not suggested that the company has moved to a mechanism for rating the accuracy of particular articles. Instead, Google’s change is aimed at assuring that publishers on the network are legitimate and eliminating financial incentives that appear to have driven the production of a lot fake news.
Adsense is hoping to starve providers of “fringe” news by cutting them off from what to many is their chief source of funding. AdSense, which allows advertisers to place text ads on the millions of websites that are part of Google’s network, is a major source of money for many publishers.
Facebook has been widely blamed by the mainstream media for allowing the spread of online misinformation, which they claim was pro-Trump and anti-Hillary, but Zuckerberg has rejected the notion that Facebook influenced the outcome of the election or that fake news is a major problem on the service. “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic,” he wrote in a blog post on Saturday. “Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.”
The sad thing is that while there is disinformation on the internet, both Google and Facebook are also going to target independent news sources that they see as issuing fake news.
Since Facebook has already been busted suppressing trending news if it supported a conservative point of view, it’s no surprise to hear that they plan to do their best to suppress whatever information they want by arbitrarily saying that it’s fake.
In other words, you’ll see what they want you to see and you will read what they want you to read and some websites will fold because they will not have Adsense to keep them running.
The moves by Google and Facebook follow a recent de-monetzation effort at Youtube that has also targeted alternative media. As noted in their “Advertiser Friendly Content Guidelines,” they appear to be targeting exactly the issues often covered by alternative media by directly banning:
“Content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” includes, but is not limited to:
Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.”
In other words, the effort is on to limit anything that exposes dirty and corrupt politics, acts of war, or even the way people are being treated during natural disasters and political coups.
So basically, anything newsworthy is no longer advertiser friendly, and these organizations will now determine whose news will or won’t be seen based on what is sure to be proprietary algorithms and secretive human curation.
Google has not said whether it believes its search algorithms, or its separate system for ranking results in the Google News Service, also need to be modified to cope with the fake news issue.
As Reuters adds, Google has long had rules for its AdSense program, barring ads from appearing next to pornography or violent content. Google claims that work on the policy update began before the election. The company uses a combination of humans and artificial intelligence to review sites that apply to be a part of AdSense, and sites continue to be monitored after they are accepted. Google’s artificial intelligence systems learn from sites that have been removed from the program, speeding the removal of similar sites.
While Google and Facebook have every right to tweak their ads, the move is yet another step on a slippery slope, one which begins with determining just what is considered “fake news” and end with blanket internet censorship along ideological and political lines.
Since the announcement, I have been besieged with lists of what have been determined to be these so called fake news sites and I am happy to report that GROUND ZERO has not been selected or listed yet.
However, there are many sites that have been put on the list in which we have had close associations with in the past.
This list is by no means an official list as it has been created by a far-left leaning Massachusetts professor named, Melissa Zimdars.
The list can be found by going here.
The list is nothing more than a resource for Zimdars students, who are learning about journalism/social media/media literacy. It is by no means the official list, but it could be used as a blueprint since Zimdars is an assistant professor of communications and media at Merrimack College.
Internet censorship is becoming increasingly pervasive. The Open Network Initiative reports that nearly 60 countries around the world restrict internet communications in some way, and it is likely that we are now going to join the club of political censorship because of a so-called unpopular outcome of an election by a minority of individuals.
If Google, Facebook, and YouTube have their way, anyone reporting information outside the party line will be considered “fake,” and they’ll work hard to starve out the bloggers, vloggers, and citizen journalists who are providing an alternative point of view.
Once again, this is all ironic considering much of the “pro Clinton” press was terrified that it would be Trump who would be the one to hint at or enforce censorship. It seems the media does not need Trump for that – it can do it quite well on its own.