From CGI member Paralemptor:
January 17th, 2018
By Makia Freeman
Don’t be fooled by all the talk of “fighting fake news.” It’s really all about one thing: Censorship.
Fighting fake news is the new pretext given by the ruling cabal in many nations to enact censorship via the back door. Amid the rallying cries of “We must fight fake news!” both France (under would-be dictator Macron) and now Brazil are attempting to pass legislation to ban political content on the web that the government deems to be fake news. There is a theme to this, as it follows on from many acts of censorship in 2016 and 2017. Whether it’s Twitter shadow-banning, Facebook rolling our fake news checkers or deleting entire accounts, YouTube embarking upon soft censorship through forced sign-ins or hard censorship by deleting entire channels, Google’s search engine hiding websites by de-ranking them, or – worst of all – Google demonetizing content and sites not to its liking, censorship is clearly getting worse — and it’s threatening to overtake a free and open internet.
Censorship — In the Name of Fighting ‘Fake News’
The big corporations of the internet have shown their true colors on the issue of censorship vs. free speech. Amazon has been caught banning certain books from being sold on its platform, e.g. in 2015 it decided to ban Jim Fetzer’s book No One Died at Sandy Hook, which exposed the false flag mass shooting at Sandy Hook. In reaction to the whole “Russia meddling in the US election” saga, which is itself fake news and a tempest in a teapot, Facebook decided to get tough and enlist the help of international fact checkers to do your thinking for you and decide for you what is real news and what is fake news. Funnily enough, it was recently reported that the rollout didn’t go so well, so for the time being Facebook has canned the idea because it was making things worse! Facebook has also been caught banning posts on certain topics (e.g. NaturalNews.com’s posts on gun control) or even deleting entire accounts of users it didn’t like (as recently happened with David Icke, whose 700,000+ follower account just got reinstated after being down for 6 days due to an “error” – yeah right).
Twitter is no stranger to censorship either, with its employees boasting of shadow banning (aka stealth banning, ghost banning, or comment ghosting), meaning that Twitter block users or their content from an online community without the users realizing they have been banned. At one point Google publicly floated the idea of de-ranking and de-listing certain sites (they mentioned Russian sites RT and Sputnik), but they later did a U-turn and claimed they would not be doing that. Obviously, it is easily within their power to tamper with algorithms to include or exclude anything they want, and virtually no one would ever know the search results were being skewed due to Google’s own ideological bias. Google was caught doing this in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US presidential elections. Indeed, after the firing of ex-Google employee James Damore (who has now initiated a class action lawsuit due to his dismissal), we have to wonder whether bias isn’t already coded into Google’s algorithms just as a result of their orthodoxy and culture (ie. left-wing and promoting diversity at all costs). Recently, Breitbart reported that Google’s fact-checking almost exclusively targets conservative or right wing media.
It’s not just Google itself. Google-owned YouTube has been embarking on campaigns of both soft censorship and hard censorship. In many ways, soft censorship is more insidious, because then the company can claim plausible deniability and refuse to admit they are even engaged in censorship. In this case, soft censorship refers to when YouTube technically allows people to watch a video, but makes it difficult by putting barriers in the way, e.g. by claiming the content is “age-restricted” (forcing you to open an account, give your details to YouTube and prove that you are of mature age) or using other ways to force you to sign in before being allowed to watch the video. The adpocalypse of 2017, as it was called, was perhaps closer to hard censorship, and involved a sweeping demonetization of videos due to “inappropriate content” for advertisers. Finally, YouTube has actually deleted entire channels on occasion, such as the deletion of ActivistPost’s account last year in 2017.
Related reading: PC Culture and the Censorship of Genuine Social Commentary
It’s Not Just Fighting Fake News; Censorship Also Thrives under the Pretexts of Fighting ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Hate Speech’, and Being ‘Politically Correct’…
Fighting fake news is another Orwellian step toward the end-goal of narrowing the “allowable”, “permissible” or even “legal” range of thought. It’s all about censorship and perception management, not protection.
Fighting fake news gives would-be tyrants a great excuse to censor, however free speech is also being eroded by the equally vague and nebulous concepts of terrorism and hate speech. The term fake news rose to prominence right around the time that Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, yet there is hardly a clear and widely-agreed upon definition for the phrase. It often gets used by people who seek to criticize information they don’t like, dismiss allegations against them, or even to defend themselves when faced with an unflattering report about themselves. As Glenn Greenwald writes:
Yet, as many have long been warning, few people, if any, ever bothered to define what the term [fake news] actually means. As a result, it’s incredibly vague, shifting, and devoid of consistent meaning. Do any news articles that contain false, significant assertions qualify? Is there some intent requirement, and if so, what is it and how is determined (does recklessness qualify)? Can large mainstream outlets such as the Washington Post, Le Monde, and Globo be guilty of publishing “fake news” and thus subject to this censorship, or is it — as one expects — reserved only for small, independent blogs and outlets that lack a powerful corporate presence?
Ill-defined terms that become popularized in political discourse are, by definition, terms of propaganda rather than reliable, meaningful indicators of problems. And invariably, they wreak all kinds of predictable havoc and inevitably give rise to abuses of power. More than anything else, such terms — which, by design, mean whatever the powerful groups wielding them want them to mean — so often produce arbitrary censorship in the name of combatting them. Just consider two similarly ill-defined but popular propagandistic terms — “terrorism” and “hate speech” — which have been appropriated by governments all over the world to justify the most extreme, repressive powers.