High-tech computer filtering systems shape what you view on the internet, naturally so, you may think, as classified information must be witheld. No one would expect to read about the Pentagon’s plan of destabilising Syria; such information would be made inaccessible. The problem, however, is deciding what is off limits, for the ability to filter access to military/security information can so readily be turned to filter internet traffic away from news stories that expose government lies.
Someone has to choose what kind of things to disallow, or discourage access to.
Discouraging access is achieved by a process of news segregation. Since 2010, so called alternative news sites that display articles from other sites have been treated as ‘content farms’. Google algorithms* identify copied content and relegate (in page ranking) sites displaying it. This was originally done to ‘protect’ corporate news outlets from having their content ‘pirated’, but can be used to steer people (like cattle) away from opposing views, that is, those which oppose the government. *Algorithms are a piece of computer code that makes a decision of some kind.
This is done by using ‘bias algorithms’ that register your likes every time you click on any link. This way, a personalised dossier is built up on you, which informs Google which personal ads to show you when you visit a site. This is correct, you are not viewing the same ad as everyone; they have been tailored to your preferences. After all, Google is in the business of selling targeted adverts to companies who are eager for your cash. Google serve their corporate motive by serving other corporate motives.
In the same way, such ‘bias algorithms’ build up a personalised dossier on your political outlook. If you have constantly clicked on sites X,Y and Z as a source of ‘alternative news’, when you type in a search term Google will take you to a first page that features sites XY and Z, if they have content containing your search term. Another person may be of a radically different political outlook, and has regularly visited sites A,B, and C. When they key in the same search term, they are taken to a first page which displays sites A.B, and C, if these sites also contain content containing this term. Thus, people are isolated from opposing views. They are herded into Universes of Adherents, the inhabitants of which chatter among themselves about things they all agree with, and are seperated from those from an alternative political universe.
This is a form of social control through an apartheid based on ideas.
Algorithms shape how we think and what we know, but you are denied access to any bias they contain.
When you log into Twitter or Facebook you don’t see everything everyone posts. They try to personalize the content; they show you only things that agree with your established preferences. Through time, and after thousands of clicks, you will only see posts that are highly personalised to your perceived tastes. It’s like drawing a picture of yourself using small brush strokes, when enough strokes are completed, so is your ‘identity’, and people become gradually isolated from you if their ‘identity’ is not a close match to yours. In a sense, you end up only talking to those who share your DNA of ideas.
They are the lords of censorship, who tweak their algorithms to send you to PharmaGovCorp.
There is no arena of debate, only forums of agreement.
There is no coming together, only isolation.
Algorithms contain their own biases. They can be used to manipulate news. Facebook algorithmically masked breaking news about the Ferguson riots by favouring posts of a lighter nature. If riots again broke out in London and elsewhere, social media will be heavily censored. You would probably be directed to tweets about The Sound of Music.
Alternative news sites and blogs may have original material which they freely share in order to support one another in spreading information about government lies, but they are treated as commercial ‘pirates’, and receive a low page ranking – a form of censorship. People are herded toward high ranking ‘government approved’ sources, such as the Washington Post, whose former executive editor, Leonard Downie Jr., said of alternative news sites: “Though they purport to be a new form of journalism, these aggregators are primarily parasites living off journalism produced by others. They attract audiences by aggregating journalism about special interests and opinions reflecting a predictable point of view on the left or right of the political spectrum” (no point in giving a source for this quote, as according to Downie, this is still “stealing”).
Google’s algorithms direct the flow of information away from the alternative media to selected corporate news sources, the true friends of government.
Google’s news algorithms identify sources that are considered ‘factual’, by comparing news items against ‘trustworthy’ sites for ‘correctness’. They extract information fom sites, then compare that of their approved news sites, producing a ‘trustworthiness score’ (known as Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT); see Xin Luna Dong, et al., ‘Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating the Trustworthiness of Web Sources’, Cornell University). If a site does not receive a high enough ‘trustworthiness’ score it receives less traffic.
On January 14, 2014, the D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals empowered the Federal Communications Commission’s political appointees to dictate what content they believe is ‘honest, equitable, and balanced’. The euphemism given to such censorship is the “Net Neutrality” bill , which is little more than a ‘Net Neutering’ bill – they can cut off the bits they do not like on one stroke of their ‘internet knife’.
It is a many pronged attack. Such social media sites as Facebook allow any group of people to attack an article, claiming it untrue. This does not just allow those with an apposing view, or a grudge, to report an article, that is just a smokescreen; it crucially allows government trolls to comb such as Facebook for what it terms hoaxes, but which are, in many cases, anti-government articles. “A post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chose to delete will get reduced distribution in the News Feed,” Facebook explains. This is without any proof of a story being false.
Similarly, YouTube enables police forces to report as unsuitable up to 20 vidoes at a time. No one would argue that this power might be necessary, especially when concerned with child abuse or terrorism, but does such censorship stop there?
Google are the servants of the media elite; they can rank a site lowly, reduce its access speed, or black it out.
They isolate people from people.
They are the mind controllers of the government.
The projectors of illusion.
In a sublime irony, many ‘alternative’ news sites display ads which have been targeted at you – the ‘alternative’ news site owner will be paid per click on the advert. A bit of an anomally this? – the site might display ‘anti-corporation’ articles, but is asking you to visit corporate sites.
It’s a trade off, in effect. Not displaying such ads banishes sites to the other side of Pluto. Not that they inhabit a much nearer space. The owners of ‘alternative’ news sites may think they are doing really well, but it’s only the like-minded that visit them.
They type in their site, ‘Aunty Goo’ recognises their ip address and pofile, and they are directed to pages displaying their content. Wow!, I’m popular, they think, but it’s just a case of Martians viewing Martians. They shouldn’t be too encouraged about the number of ‘hits’ they receive, either. Most of them are clicks by government nano-bots that encourage the site owner to keep running the ads.
In the ‘entire universe’ of the internet, alternative news sites are scarcely ranked higher than page five, or ranked within the top 20, 000 websites by traffic. Some sell their own books and videos, and in this regard, are no different from the American Evangelist industry, whose programmes are liberally punctuated by ads for their bibles, books, and videos. Beware of prophets who make profits.
A question might be: what is truly alternative?, or, can the commercially alternative really be alternative?
lenin (hopefully alternative) nightingale 2015