ANALYSIS: Mainstream Media Is Complicit In Censoring Right-Wing, And You'll Never Believe Their Excuse

A recent analysis has detailed how the mainstream media is using "trolling" as an excuse to promote censorship of right-wing websites from search engines.

From Free Market Shooter:

It all seemed innocuous enough – filtering search results, using national security as the guise for doing so. But later that day, The Intercept detailed exactly where the “program” was heading next: censorship.

Ross Frenett, co-founder of Moonshot, said his company and Jigsaw are now working with funding from private groups, including the Gen Next Foundation, to target other violent extremists, including on the hard right.

“We are very conscious — as our own organization and I know Jigsaw are — that this [violent extremism] is not solely the problem of one particular group,” Frenett said.

Of course, the mainstream media made sure to help boost the claims. The Guardian posted an analysis a few months later, detailing the “tricks” that “right-wing” groups have implemented for the goal of “widespread dissemination of misinformation”, which appears to be much more like a baseless continuation of the Zimdars “fake news” list that made headlines shortly beforehand.

In the past, when a journalist or academic exposes one of these algorithmic hiccups, humans at Google quietly make manual adjustments in a process that’s neither transparent nor accountable.

At the same time, politically motivated third parties including the “alt-right”, a far-right movement in the US, use a variety of techniques to trick the algorithm and push propaganda and misinformation higher up Google’s search rankings.

And just recently, the gut punch came – Google announced it was implementing review teams with outside contractors known as “quality raters” to flag terms that could be deemed to be “upsetting-offensive” to viewers. In other words, it is relying on bots to flag content as right-biased, so it can be moved down in its search rankings:

Google is trying to improve the quality of its search results by directing review teams to flag content that might come across as upsetting or offensive.

With the change, content with racial slurs could now get flagged under a new category called “upsetting-offensive.” So could content that promotes hate or violence against a specific group of people based on gender, race or other criteria.

While flagging something doesn’t directly affect the search results themselves, it’s used to tweak the company’s software so that better content ranks higher. This approach might, for instance, push down content that is inaccurate or has other questionable attributes, thereby giving prominence to trustworthy sources.

The review teams — comprised of contractors known as “quality raters” — already comb through websites and other content to flag questionable items such as pornography. Google added “upsetting-offensive” in its latest guidelines for quality raters. Google declined to comment on the changes, which were reported in the blog Search Engine Land and elsewhere.

You got that right – a “review team” is subjectively deciding which content it will censor. What happened to the programmers and objectively censoring “trolls” and abuse? The whole thing is much more similar to McCarthyism, except instead of targeting “communists” during the Cold War, they are targeting “right-wing” websites and individuals. Truly a threat to “national security” in the same vein as ISIS, isn’t it?

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Posted Monday, March 20, 2017



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