Google censorship of critical Internet sites worsens


This video from the USA says about itself:

Google Intentionally Crushing Left-Wing Websites

13 August 2017

It turns out we don’t have to wait for Net Neutrality to be gutted to see restricted access to left-wing news sites. Google is practicing its own form of censorship by revamping its search protocol to limit your ability to read pages such as Wikileaks, DemocracyNow! and AlterNet. Lee Camp has more on how Google is leading the way in making sure the masses stay uninformed about all the ways in which our capitalist society is killing us.

There is lots of talk about a crusade against ‘fake news‘. Both by United States President Donald Trump, and by the wider political and business establishment, including those with links to the corporate wing of the United States Democratic party.

But what do these two mean by ‘fake news’? It looks like, not the fake news often found in corporate media like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. Not the fake news found in the New York Times about Iraq supposedly getting uranium for nuclear weapons from Niger; lies which helped to start George W Bush’s Iraq war.

To Donald Trump, any news critical of Donald Trump is supposedly ‘fake news’ to which people should not have access.

And to the wider political and business establishment, it looks like any news critical of that establishment is supposedly ‘fake news’ to which people should not have access.

How about a part of that establishment, Google corporation?

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists

20 October 2017

In a sweeping expansion of its moves to censor the Internet, Google has removed leading left-wing websites and journalists from its popular news aggregation platform, Google News.

At the time of publication, a search for “World Socialist Web Site” on news.google.com does not return a single article published on the WSWS. A search for the exact title of any of the articles published during that period likewise returns no results.

Over the past seven days, news.google.com has referred only 53 people to the World Socialist Web Site, a 92 percent decline from the weekly average of over 650 during the past year.

A Google News search for an article from Thursday's edition of the WSWS returns no results

A Google News search for an article from Thursday’s edition of the WSWS returns no results

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges informed the WSWS Wednesday that his articles had ceased appearing on Google News. Hedges said the change occurred after the publication of his interview with the World Socialist Web Site in which he spoke out against Google’s censorship of left-wing sites.

“Sometime after I gave that interview, they blacklisted me,” said Hedges. “If you go into Google News and type my name, there are six stories, none of which have anything to do with me.”

A Google News search for Chris Hedges returns no relevant results

A Google News search for Chris Hedges returns no relevant results

“I write constantly. Previously, Google News listed my columns for Truthdig and my contributions to Common Dreams and Alternet, as well as references to my books,” Hedges said. “But now it’s all gone. And I’m certain it’s because I spoke out against the Google censorship.”

Google appears to have kept an older version of its news aggregator available online, accessible by visiting google.com and clicking the “news” link below the search bar. That version of the news aggregator, which appears to be in the process of being phased out, lists 254,000 results for the search “World Socialist Web Site”.

A similar search returns 89,600 entries for “Chris Hedges”.

The changes to Google News mark a new stage in a systematic campaign of censorship and blacklisting that has been underway at least since April, when Ben Gomes, the company’s VP of engineering, said Google was seeking to promote “authoritative” news outlets over “alternative” news sources.

Since then, thirteen leading left-wing web sites have had their search traffic from Google collapse by 55 percent, with the World Socialist Web Site having had its search traffic plunge by 74 percent.

“Just speaking as a journalist, it’s terrifying,” Hedges said. “Those people who still try and do journalism, they’re the ones getting hit; especially those journalists that attempt to grapple with issues of power and the corporate state.

“This shows not only how bankrupt the state is, but how frightened it is,” Hedges said.

“Google is developing ever-more intensive methods of targeting, aimed at blocking any dissenting critical voices,” said David North, the Chairperson of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site.

“This is an unprecedented attack on free speech. In the history of the United States, censorship on this scale has never been imposed outside of wartime,” he added, pointing to the blocking of Trotskyist publications during World War II.

Hedges noted the precedent of political repression during World War I. “In the name of national security, for the duration of the war they shut down The Masses”, a left-wing, antiwar journal.

The intensification of Google’s crackdown on left-wing sites takes place against the backdrop of a sharp acceleration of the anti-Russian campaign led by congressional Democrats, together with sections of the Republican Party, the US intelligence agencies, and leading news outlets.

On Thursday, Democratic Party Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar introduced the first piece of legislation to come out of the campaign surrounding the claim that Russia sought to “meddle” in the 2016 election by “sowing divisions” within American society, an unproven conspiracy theory aimed at creating a justification for Internet censorship.

A summary of the bill obtained by Axios stated that it requires “online platforms to make reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate,” and to maintain a database of political advertisements supposedly bought by foreigners.

In his remarks announcing the bill, Warner made clear that his aim was to use it as the starting point for more aggressive restrictions on free speech on the Internet. “What we want to try to do is start with a light touch,” Warner said.

Commenting on the step-by-step nature of the censorship regime being created in the United States, Hedges said, “If you look at any totalitarian system, their assault on the press is incremental. So even in Nazi Germany, when Hitler took power, he would ban the Social Democrats’ publications for a week and then let them get back up. He wouldn’t go in and shut it all down at once.”

“Google is involved in an out-and-out political conspiracy, in coordination with the government,” North said. “A secret censorship program has been created that is directed against opponents of American foreign policy. This is an illegal assault on constitutionally protected rights.”

Hedges added, “I can tell you from having lived in and covered despotic regimes, I think we’ve got to ring all of the alarm bells while we still have the chance, because they’re not going to stop.”

“Google is censoring websites to block dissident views critical of the US establishment”. India: Students and workers in Kolkata oppose Google censorship: here.

New York Times and Wall Street Journal demand censorship of YouTube: here.

Three months ago, the World Socialist Web Site published its first exposé documenting Google’s blacklisting of the WSWS and other left-wing websites. It warned that Google’s actions were part of a sweeping campaign, coordinated with the US government, media and intelligence agencies, to censor the Internet. The period since this initial exposure has seen this campaign develop with extraordinary speed, as the Democratic Party, working with major media outlets, uses unsubstantiated allegations of Russian “hacking” of the 2016 election to mount a drive to criminalize political opposition within the United States. What is involved is nothing less than the greatest attack on the First Amendment since the Second World War: here.

All but admitting that Google is engaged in censorship, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, announced that Google will create algorithms designed to “de-rank” web sites such as RT and Sputnik on its news delivery services: here.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, confirmed this weekend that the world’s largest Internet company is, in close coordination with the state, manipulating search results to censor sites critical of the US government: here.

Google is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced on December 4. The censors’ primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees: here.

World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board chairperson David North called January 16 for the formation of an international coalition of socialist and anti-war websites and journalists to counter Internet censorship: here.

Since October, Google has been cracking down on how it treats various left-wing news sites, responding to criticism that it has been too censorious of the right: here.

Google search results for abortion services promote anti-abortion centers. When users seek facilities for the procedure, Google Maps often presents ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that discourage abortions: here.

More than 30 “drill” music videos have been taken down by YouTube of the 50 to 60 videos the Metropolitan Police demanded be taken down over the past two years. The rational for deleting the videos was that they encourage violent behaviour. There is a ludicrous aspect to blaming a musical genre for the very social climate and attendant problems that it reflects. While much drill music takes a backward form, it is a product of growing social distress—reflecting a deeply troubled society, rent by poverty and social inequality, in which many young people face a dismal future. On the basis of a few isolated cases—in which some youths allegedly associated with the drill scene have been involved in violent acts—an entire musical genre is being targeted on the spurious basis that it is responsible for what is described as a “surge” in knife crime and murders in London. The deletion of the videos is the latest act of censorship to be carried out by Google, which owns YouTube. Its readiness to act immediately based on an appeal by the British police is confirmation of the assessment made by the WSWS that Google and the other giant tech conglomerates act as tools of state repression: here.

DEM PAC PAID TO KILL NEGATIVE COVERAGE A HuffPost article that critically covered a Democratic political action committee abruptly disappeared from the top results in Google search after a contractor hired thousands of workers outside of the U.S. this spring to help suppress negative coverage of the PAC’s activities. [HuffPost]

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