Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Social media giants crack down on RT under Senate pressure

RT | January 26, 2018

Facebook, Google and Twitter are taking action against RT in response to pressure from the Senate Intelligence Committee, but have found very little to indicate ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 elections, new documents show.

Google Search, for example, has labels “describing RT’s relationship with the Russian Government” and the company is “working on disclosures to provide similar transparency on YouTube,” according to a letter sent to the committee by Google’s VP and general counsel Kent Walker.

Twitter has “off-boarded” RT and Sputnik “and will no longer allow those companies to purchase ad campaigns and promote Tweets on our platform,”said the letter from the company’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett.

The letters were provided following the October 31, 2017 hearing at which the senators grilled social media executives on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election via their products and services.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was interested to know whether any of the companies accepted advertising from RT or Sputnik. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and Google continue to carry ads from both outlets. Google’s Walker wrote that such ads remain subject to “strict ads policies and community guidelines,” and that “to date, we’ve seen no evidence that they are violating these policies.”

Walker added that Google took RT out of its Preferred Lineup on YouTube. In November, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, told an international forum that he planned to “de-rank” RT and Sputnik in displayed search results.

Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch wrote that RT and Sputnik can “use our advertising tools as long as they comply with Facebook’s policies, including complying with applicable law.”

Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) asked whether any of the companies provide any data to the Russian government. Twitter said it had received requests for data, but did not comply with any of them. Facebook said it had received 28 requests for data between  2013 and 2017, but that it “did not provide any data in response.”

Google said it had “not complied with every request” but declined to provide any specifics, referring the senators to its Transparency Report. RT’s analysis of that data shows that Google received 237 requests in the first half of 2016 and provided responses in 7 percent of cases. Another 234 requests came in the second half of the year, with a 15 percent response rate. There were 318 requests in 2017 with a 10 percent response rate.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) was very interested to hear what the social media companies are doing with the revenue supposedly earned from “Russian” advertising. Edgett’s letter confirmed Twitter’s commitment to donate the $1.9 million that RT had spent globally on ads to “academic research into elections and civic engagement.” He did not specify the organizations that would benefit from this funding.

Although Stretch said that revenue from ads running on pages managed by the Internet Research Agency (IRA, usually described in the Western press as the “St. Petersburg troll farm”) was “immaterial,” he revealed that Facebook has contributed “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to the Defending Digital Democracy Project, an outfit based at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government “that works to secure democracies around the world from external influence.”

Furthermore, the investments Facebook has made to “address election integrity and other security issues” have been so significant that “we have informed investors that we expect that the amount that we will spend will impact our profitability,” Stretch added.

Google said the total amount of revenue from “Russian” ads amounted to $4,700, while the company has contributed $750,000 to the the Defending Digital Democracy Project.

The outfit is run by Eric Rosenbach, former assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration. According to the Belfer Center at Harvard University, Rosenbach recruited Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Robby Mook and Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager Matt Rhoades to co-chair the project.

Among the project’s advisers is Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, the law firm that has represented Clinton and the DNC, and was revealed to have paid for the notorious “Steele Dossier.” Another member of the project’s senior advisory group is Dmitri Alperovitch, CEO of Crowdstrike, the private company hired by the DNC which originated the accusation that Russia hacked into the party’s emails. Alperovitch is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank associated with anti-Russian reports and partially funded by the US military, NATO, and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Read more:

Twitter, Google & Facebook grilled by Senate, try hard to find ‘Russian influence’

Censoring #PodestaEmails, defining Russians, DNC advisers: Twitter & Google’s 2016 election tricks

January 27, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Facebook pretending to care about democracy now is the height of hypocrisy

By Danielle Ryan | RT | January 24, 2018

Facebook has admitted that sometimes, it might actually be bad for democracy. Facebook is right about that. However, I’m not sure that the social media platform really understands why this is the case.

The admission comes in a series of official blog posts by Facebook insiders about what effect social media can have on democracy. “I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can‘t,” wrote Samidh Chakrabarti, a Facebook product manager. He continued: “… we have a moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used and what can be done to make communities like Facebook as representative, civil and trustworthy as possible.”

First off, it’s important to understand the political and media context in which Facebook has felt forced to make these comments. That context is alleged ‘Russian interference’ in the 2016 election through the promotion of political ads designed to take advantage of social division. Facebook is responding to a not small cohort of Americans who genuinely believe that Russian Facebook ads are destroying democracy. The second thing to understand is that while Facebook’s admission may sound like noble self-reflection, the truth is that what Facebook says and what it means are two very different things.

There is a temptation among some to believe that the social media giant is a neutral actor that cares about fairness and democracy and that it is doing its very best to ensure it has a positive effect on democracy. This could not be further from the truth.

If Facebook’s recent history is anything to go by, the California-based company is not actually a big fan of democracy at all. Even before Facebook decided to become selectively outraged about the ubiquitousness of propaganda and ‘fake news’ on its platform, it was already engaging in political censorship. Take this 2016 story in which Facebook employees admit to suppressing conservative news on the platform, for example. Not only that, but employees were told to artificially “inject” Facebook-approved stories into the trending news module when they weren’t popular enough to make it there organically. The employees were also told not to include news about Facebook itself into the trending category.

“Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation,” Michael Nunez wrote for Gizmodo. With that kind of ability and willingness to manipulate, Facebook itself possesses huge potential to affect political outcomes, far more than some Russian ads.

Facebook has said it believes that simply adding the ability to click an “I voted” sticker can increase actual voter turnout significantly through a combination of simply seeing the sticker and feeling the peer pressure to vote if your friends have done so. This is supposed to be one of the good things Facebook has done for democracy, but there are so many ways that Facebook could use this kind of thing to surreptitiously promote its own political agenda.

What if Facebook were to artificially push certain news stories in specific locations – say, where an election was taking place – and then add the “I voted” button for users in that area. Or alternatively chose not to add that button for certain races where a lower turnout might be deemed a good thing.

What Facebook means when it says it is worried about how its platform is being used is that it’s not entirely comfortable with the fact that it can’t fully control the political narrative. Even Facebook believes it has created a monster. It would like to control what our impressionable minds might see and read – lest we fall victim to unapproved opinions or ideologies. But Facebook also knows that such control is not entirely possible – and therein lies their true crisis.

Even the steps Facebook has taken to address alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election are questionable. In his blog post, Chakrabarti writes that the platform has “made it easier to report false news” and has “taken steps in partnership with third-party fact checkers to rank these stories lower” in the news feed. Once the fact-checkers identify a story as fake, Facebook can reduce impressions of that story by 80%, he says. But who are these third-party fact checkers? Facebook doesn’t tell us.

“We’re also working to make it harder for bad actors to profit from false news,” he writes. But again, we don’t get a definition of bad actor, either. One assumes Russia is the bad actor referred to – but if Facebook was truly concerned about government propaganda and its effect on election outcomes, the crackdown would surely not be limited to one government. Are some governments bad actors and other governments good actors? Is some propaganda good and some bad? Are some sock-puppet accounts acceptable and others not? Can we get a breakdown?

Facebook has also been kind enough to help users figure out whether they were unfortunate enough to have come into contact with any Russian-linked posts. It’s part of their “action plan against foreign interference”. Again, we might benefit from a definition here of “foreign interference.” Facebook is an international platform, thus the potential exists for elections to be ‘interfered’ with through Facebook all over the world, not just in the United States. Does Facebook’s fight against foreign interference incorporate all those efforts equally? This kind of information would be really helpful, if Facebook would be kind enough to provide it.

Facebook is not alone in its mission to rid the world of nasty Russian propaganda. Twitter is at it, too. Last week, the company sent out emails to users warning them that they may have come into contact with Russian propaganda on the microblogging platform. Curiously, no similar warnings have been sent to users who came into contact with American propaganda online – despite the fact that we’ve known for years that the US government has been using sock-puppet accounts to spread its own propaganda and misinformation online.

Google has also dipped its toes in the water. Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., said recently that Google was trying to create special algorithms and “engineer the systems” to make RT’s content less visible on the search engine.

Media coverage of Facebook’s comments was fairly uniform. Most outlets have been treating the blog posts as a ‘see, we told you!’ moment, focusing entirely on the Russia angle but ignoring the many other ways in which Facebook has itself attempted to corrupt the free flow of information and manipulated its users. The reporting is almost sympathetic: Poor innocent Facebook is coming to terms with the fact that sometimes bad things happen online.

The Washington Post called Facebook blog posts the “most critical self-assessment yet.” Another piece in the Post opines on Facebook’s “year of reckoning.” Reuters reported that the sharing of “misleading headlines” became a “global issue” after accusations that Russia had used Facebook to interfere in the 2016 election. The implication is almost that misleading headlines are some kind of new phenomenon and Facebook is out there on the frontlines of the battle.

Facebook wants you to stay mad about Russian ads. It wants you to believe that its democracy-loving executives are truly sorry and doing all they can to make the platform as good for democracy as possible. What they don’t want is for us to examine their own practices too closely. But that’s exactly what we should be doing – instead of congratulating them on their disingenuous foray into self-reflection.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Facebook, Google, Twitter Announce ‘Counterspeech’ Psyop to Keep Public Docile

By Jake Andersen | ANTIMEDIA | January 18, 2018

If you’re a radical or search for “extremist” content online, the biggest social networks and internet companies on Earth will soon be converting you into a docile moderate, or at least, they will try.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter have been screening and filtering extremist content for years, but on Wednesday, the gatekeepers of the internet confirmed to Congress that they are accelerating their efforts and will target users who may be exposed to extremist/terrorist content, redirecting them instead to “positive and moderate” posts.

Representatives for the three companies testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to outline specific ways they are trying to combat extremism online. Facebook, Google, and Twitter aren’t just tinkering with their algorithms to restrict certain kinds of violent content and messaging. They’re also using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to manufacture what they call “counterspeech,” which has a hauntingly Orwellian ring to it. Essentially, their goal is to catch burgeoning extremists, or people being radicalized online, and re-engineer them via targeted propagandistic advertisements.

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, stated:

“We believe that a key part of combating extremism is preventing recruitment by disrupting the underlying ideologies that drive people to commit acts of violence. That’s why we support a variety of counterspeech efforts.”

Meanwhile, Google’s YouTube has deployed something called the “Redirect Method,” developed by Google’s Jigsaw research group. With this protocol, YouTube taps search history metrics to identify users who may be interested in extremist content and then uses targeted advertising to counter “hateful” content with “positive” content. YouTube has also invested in a program called “Creators for Change,” a group of users that makes videos opposed to hate speech and violence. Additionally, the video platform has tweaked their algorithm to reduce the reach of borderline content.

In his testimony, Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of public policy, said, “Our advances in machine learning let us now take down nearly 70% of violent extremism content within 8 hours of upload and nearly half of it in 2 hours.”

On the official YouTube blog, the company discussed how they plan to disrupt the “radicalization funnel” and change minds. The four steps include:

  • “Expanding the new YouTube product functionality to a wider set of search queries in other languages beyond English.
  • Using machine learning to dynamically update the search query terms.
  • Working with expert NGOs on developing new video content designed to counter violent extremist messaging at different parts of the radicalization funnel.
  • Collaborating with Jigsaw to expand the ‘Redirect Method’ in Europe.”

Starting at the end of last year, the company had already begun altering its algorithm so that 30% of its videos were demonetized. The company had explained that it wanted YouTube to be a safer place for brands to advertise, but the move has angered many content producers who generate income with their video channels.

The effort to use machine learning and AI as part of a social engineering funnel is probably not new, but we’ve never seen it openly wielded on a vast scale by a government-influenced corporate consortium. To say the least, it is unsettling for many. One user commented underneath the post, “So if you have an opinion that’s not there [sic] agenda You are a terrorist. Free speech is dead on YouTube.”

For its part, Twitter’s representative told Congress that since 2015 the company had taken part in over 100 training events focused on how to reduce the impact of extremist content on the platform.

In a post called “Introducing Hard Questions” on its blog, Facebook discussed rethinking the “meaning of free expression.” The post posed a number of hypothetical questions, including:

  • How aggressively should social media companies monitor and remove controversial posts and images from their platforms? Who gets to decide what’s controversial, especially in a global community with a multitude of cultural norms?
  • Who gets to define what’s false news — and what’s simply controversial political speech?”

The three tech giants have been under intense scrutiny from lawmakers who feel the platforms have been used to sow division online and even recruit homegrown terrorists. While the idea of using an algorithm to fight extremism online is not new, a unified front of Facebook, Google, and Twitter has never collectively produced original online propaganda, the specifics and scope of which remain vague despite the companies’ attempts at transparency.

Only recently, in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), was the use of propaganda on the American people by the government formally legalized. Then-President Barack Obama continued strengthening government propaganda at the end of his administration with the dystopic Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act of 2017, which created a kind of Ministry of Truth for the creation of so-called “fact-based narratives.”

It appears that while the government continues to strengthen its potential to conduct psychological operations (psyops), it is also joining forces with internet gatekeepers that can use their algorithms to shape billions of minds online. While one may applaud the ostensible goal of curbing terrorist recruitment, the use of psyops for social engineering and manufacturing consent could extend far beyond the original intent.

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter and Facebook and Russia: Consider the numbers

left i on the news | January 20, 2018

Remember how we were initially told that “Russia” (in quotes, because we have no idea who actually placed these ads, whether they had any relationship to the Russian government, or whether they were Russian at all) placed 3000 ads on Facebook? Only to learn later that 56% of them were placed after the election, 25% of them were never shown to anyone, 50% had ad budgets less than $3, and 99% of them had ad budgets less than $1000? Leaving approximately 14 ads seen during the election which had a budget exceeding $1000. And by the way virtually none of these ads mentioned Trump or Clinton at all; most dealt with issues like Black Lives Matter or gun rights. How that had an influence on the election is never quite specified. We’re told this is because Russia is trying to encourage “divisiveness” in America. As if we aren’t doing quite well on that score all by ourselves, with a little assist from FOX and MSNBC, and why that would effect that election anyway isn’t clear. Oh and most of those ads were geographically targeted, and some of the ones that were were targeted to non-“swing states”.

And then we were told by FB that those “Russian ads” reached “up to” 126 million Americans. There were 198 million Facebook users in 2016. According to Politico, 128 million people across the US generated 8.8 billion likes, posts, comments and shares related to the election. Which means that the ads reached 98.4% of all people who were posting or seeing posts about the election! Really? Bear in mind that are only 144 million Americans in the 18-65 age range, which is the default age range when you place an ad on FB (it can be changed of course). Which means that, according to FB, “Russian ads” reached a whopping 87.5% of all FB users aged 18-65. Again, really? Did you see any? I know I didn’t.

Now along comes Twitter with its own math challenges. They tell us they found 50,000 (!) accounts “linked to Russia”, which were followed, liked, or retweeted by at least 677,775 Americans, all of whom have received dire warnings from Twitter that their thinking may have been swayed by these tweets. 3,814 accounts were operated by alleged “Russian state operatives” connected to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a company allegedly “linked to” the Russian government (how has never exactly been specified). Twitter said these IRA accounts posted 175,993 tweets during the election period, and 8.4% of these were election-related.

Wait, what? This was the big attempt to influence our election, but 91.6% of the output of these alleged “trolls” couldn’t even be classified as “election-related” according to what were undoubtedly extremely loose criteria. So that’s not 176K tweets, but 15K tweets. Is that a lot? Well, to begin with that’s over an 18 month period, so we’re talking about fewer than 1K tweets per month, or fewer than 30 per day. What’s Twitter’s volume? According to them, more than 1 billion tweets about the election were sent out. 15K election-related tweets amounts to 0.0015% of that amount. Not 1%. Not a tenth of a percent. Not a hundredth of a percent One and a half thousandths of one percent.

And what about the daily rate of all tweets? There are 500 million tweets sent out every day. 21% of Twitter users are American, and I’m going to guess (because I can’t find the statistic) that they send out more than their share of tweets, so lets round up to 25% and say that Americans send out 125 million tweets/day (obviously people from other countries were also tweeting about the election, but we’re going to disregard that). So if these Russian trolls were sending out 325 tweets a day on all subjects (not just the election), that amounts to 0.00026% of the tweets on any given day. 2 and a half ten-thousandths of a percent of all tweets being sent out. Have you stopped laughing yet?

None of this, by the way, goes to the effectiveness of these FB ads or Tweets. If you’re following a rabidly pro-Trump account, chances are you’re either a rabidly pro-Trump person yourself, or perhaps the opposite just monitoring the opposition. How many neutral people whose minds were susceptible to be changed follow such accounts? There has yet to be any measurement, or for that matter even anecdotal accounts, of such things happening. “Well, I was going to vote for Hillary, but then I saw this Russian troll account tweet that Hillary lost the debate to Trump, so I changed my mind.” Really?

And now FB is going to let users rank news sources for trustworthiness. I can’t think of a worse idea. Trump supporters will rank FOX as credible and everything else as “Fake News”. The 99.5% of the population who have never even watched RT or listened to Sputnik will rank them as “untrustworthy”, because they’ve been told repeatedly that’s what they are, leaving the 0.5% of us who do to recognize they’re both as, or more credible, than any U.S. corporate media (and carry viewpoints we can’t get on the latter). Actually I can think of a worse idea, and that would be to let FB itself do the ranking. We’ve already seen what happens when Google does that, as progressive and left-wing sites, once easy to find when searching Google or Google News, have been harder or even impossible to find.

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Kafka 2.0: How Youtube’s Political Censorship is Exercised

Five years of archives of resistance to Zionism and imperialism deleted by Google

By Sayed Hasan | January 13, 2018

Someone must have been telling tales about Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.” Thus begins The Trial, Franz Kafka’s 1925 work, in which Joseph K., ordinary bank employee, is arrested at his home by mysterious agents and notified of legal proceedings against him. He is not informed of the offense or crime of which he would allegedly be guilty – he is only given to understand that he must have broken some unknown law – and is notified of a summons to court a certain day, without knowing the exact time or place. The protagonist is dragged into a completely absurd circle, wavering between inspectors, bailiffs, lawyers and judges, and not knowing at any time for what or against whom he must defend himself. He is finally executed by three distinguished executioners who, with “odious politeness”, plant a butcher’s knife in his heart.

The procedure by which Youtube deletes videos and even the entire content of a channel is comparable to this Gothic novel in more ways than one. As I mentioned in a previous article, my channel Sayed Hasan, which, for more than five years, has subtitled in French and English speeches of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, as well as Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Sayed Ali Khamenei (in addition to interviews with Norman Finkelstein, content about revolutionary Latin America, etc.), was given two strikes by Youtube in less than one month because of two Hassan Nasrallah speeches, on the pretext of a “violation of the rules concerning violent or graphic content on Youtube”. The total suppression of the channel did not take long, since it occurred on December 20th, 2017, after a third and last strike announcing the guillotine, still because of a Hassan Nasrallah speech published in… 2014 – there is no prescription on Youtube, nor half measure. Thus, 400 videos, more than 6 million views and soon 10,000 subscribers have vanished, at the time of the greatest growth in their history. Youtube strives to hide its censorship behind a pseudo-legalistic procedure, but in fact, as we will see, all creators are under the constant threat of its political blade that drastically restricts tolerated contents.

The first strike is dated October 24, 2017, and concerns a February 2015 speech titled “Hassan Nasrallah: ISIS is Israel’s ally and aims Mecca and Medina”. Its complete transcript is available here: http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr/2018/01/hassan-nasrallah-isis-is-israels-ally.html. As we can see, this speech only denounces the terrorist group ISIS, characterizing it as a danger for Islam, Muslims and all humanity, and recalls its collusion with Israel. It contains absolutely nothing legally reprehensible (call to hatred, murder, etc.). Youtube does not in any way indicate where or how such a video would have violated the “rules regarding violent or graphic content”, probably relying on the acumen of the accused – who finds himself de facto convicted. I have found absolutely nothing wrong with it, even by the strictest standards – unless, of course, any negative mention of Israel is unsustainable for the good souls of the IDF, who are tirelessly and relentlessly striving in this work of cyber-denunciation (their soldiers and mercenaries are more enterprising on the Internet than facing real fighters), and find in Google, Facebook and other giants of the Web a particularly complacent ear. We will come back to this point in more detail.

In good faith, I immediately appealed this decision – shockingly, Youtube does not grant more than 200 characters for this “procedure” (spaces included), but true, it is difficult to be loquacious in the face of an unknown crime – and to date, I have received no response. It is a sort of witchcraft trial, where, in violation of the most elementary principles of law, it is up to the accused to prove his innocence in the face of an unspecified violation, and where the mere fact of being suspected by (or denounced to) the all-powerful “Google” Inquisition entails an automatic conviction, without at any time the grievances being clearly stated, the defense, even muzzled, being heard, a semblance of reasoned judgment being rendered or the pseudo-appeal procedure being taken into account, even formally. “We don’t answer questions like that,” opposes a police officer to Joseph K.’s requests regarding the reason for his indictment. “But in general we don’t proceed with trials we’re not certain to win.”

The second strike came on December 14, and concerns a December 11, 2017 speech entitled “Hassan Nasrallah: We are about to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and all of Palestine,” which only stayed online half an hour before its suppression. Its transcript is available here: http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr/2017/12/hassan-nasrallah-we-are-about-to.html. Again, beyond the title of the offense regarding “violent or graphic content”, Youtube has not provided any details to justify its decision. It is true that in this extract, Hassan Nasrallah supports the dismantling of the racist, terrorist and colonialist state of Israel, world champion of human rights abuse and international law violations, and invites Palestinians and all the Resistance Axis to take up arms in defense of Palestine and the holy places of Islam and Christianity (he is joined by the Neturei Karta, an orthodox Jewish group that publicly burns Israeli flags in the heart of Jerusalem, as can be seen on its YouTube channel). And it turns out that the rallying slogan “Death to Israel” is spoken by Hassan Nasrallah and echoed by thousands of protesters participating in an opposition rally to Donald Trump and his decision to recognize Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. But beyond the fact that armed resistance to an occupier is perfectly legal according to international law (United Nations Resolution 37/43 of December 3, 1982 reaffirming “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”), the right to information must prevail, because without this, no political speech in a warlike context could be published on Youtube. However, Google does not consider in any way problematic statements much more “violent or graphic” like Donald Trump threatening to “completely destroy” North Korea, the Israeli bragging about bombing Iran and toppling its regime, assassinating Hassan Nasrallah or even General de Gaulle’s June 1940 appeals, or Aimé Césaire’s speeches, which should be banned on Youtube according to a purely literal application of the regulation concerning violent content or call for violence (in these cases, calls to resist against Nazism or colonialism). But obviously, with Kafka, Youtube seems to have also integrated Orwell: “All [contents] are equal but some are more equal than others.” Only videos hostile to imperialism and Zionism are subject to censorship and banishment.

With two strikes in less than a month, the life of my Youtube channel was hanging by a thread: it is true that after 3 months, a warning is removed, but three successive warnings on an account lead to outright removal of the channel and all its content, not just the videos concerned. And it was clear to me that these two unjustified and unprecedented warnings would soon be followed by a third and a complete suppression of my channel. To make a judicial analogy, it is as if a conviction for defamation (which, in any body of law, cannot be held from 3 months to 1 year after the offense, but Google seems to have opted for imprescriptibility) resulted in the removal not only of the passage incriminated (for example, in Zola’s “J’Accuse”, the two incriminated words “by order”, Zola obviously not having the means to prove materially that the second War Wouncil had been forced to acquit Esterhazy by the military hierarchy), but of all the work of the journalist, author – or producer of Youtube content. Without conviction, I conducted the Orwello-Kafkaesque 200-character appeal, protested to Google by email and published an article denouncing this censorship and the announced deletion of my channel. This time, I received a response from Youtube in 12 hours, which showed me, if any doubt still remained, that these procedures are nothing more than a masquerade meant to conceal the totally arbitrariness, or rather political orientation of Google’s censorship: indeed, the answer was in three lines in which Youtube thanked me for having made this appeal procedure, informed me that after a closer examination of the content of my video, they determined that it did not respect the Community rules, and addressed me cordial greetings. Can we conceive of a judgment, let alone an appeal procedure, which dispenses with all argumentation? Google has completely automated the pseudo-legalistic process of deleting content, which is done for the unfortunate victim without any human interlocutor and therefore without any possibility of defense.

As expected, the third warning, which was but a mere formality, came soon: it occurred on December 20, 2017 and concerns a 2009 speech published in 2014 (re-sic) entitled “Hassan Nasrallah: the next war will change the face of the region.” In this excerpt, Hassan Nasrallah considers the hypothesis of an Israeli aggression against Lebanon, and asserts that this threat can be turned into an opportunity if the enemy army is crushed on Lebanese soil, after which even Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) could be liberated, as was southern Lebanon in 2000. This video does not even include the slogan “Death to Israel”. The formulation of the very hypothesis of the liberation of Palestine after an Israeli aggression (many empires collapsed because of their external military expeditions, as recalled by Hassan Nasrallah) would therefore constitute a taboo. Once again, one would be right to wonder why Netanyahu can for its part freely threaten Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or Iran with invasion/destruction, without Youtube considering they should remove these videos. One understands that when Youtube wants to delete a channel, it will use the meanest pretexts and fatally plant its “butcher’s knife” in the heart of its victim.

It is necessary to specify, to the credit of Youtube, that an appeal procedure also exists against the suppression of a channel, and this time, not 200 but 1000 characters are allowed, about 180 words. It may seem light for a job of several years (maybe the work of a lifetime), completely destroyed in a few clicks by Google, but legalistic to the end, I followed this pseudo-procedure the same day. The response was quick – to the credit of Youtube, let us quote again this particularly expeditious and recurrent judicial time: 12 hours, against several years for the traditional justice system. It seems obvious that the appeal procedures are systematically rejected by a mail-type sent automatically after 12 hours. This answer is worth quoting in its entirety, its brevity lending itself willingly:

Greetings.

Thanks for appealing the suspension of your account. We decided to maintain the suspension, in accordance with the Community Guidelines and our Terms of use. For more information, see http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines.

Best,

Youtube Team

This is the epilogue – and the only epitaph – of a Youtube channel that dared publish anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist content. Denouncing the muzzling of the Internet is now a cliché, but it is always good to illustrate it with concrete examples, this process being known only to its victims.

There is no doubt that all videos broadcasting the point of view of the Resistance Axis (Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq) are being stalked by IDF cyber-soldiers. The fact that this video was flagged and deleted as soon as it was published would even suggest that a soldier or paid – not just zealous – agent of “the most moral army in the world” was on the alert, especially in this hot context following Donald Trump’s recognition of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. Social networks, following the dominant media, tend to integrate and anticipate government directives through a process of self-censorship well described by Noam Chomsky, so it is quite possible that employees of Youtube themselves take care of this task, especially at the time of the official hunt against the so-called “fake news” – which is only an attempt to preserve the monopoly of mainstream patented liars in the service of power and major economic interests, put in mortal danger by the freedom of the Internet. The voice of Hassan Nasrallah in particular is targeted by this censorship, because he is the only Arab leader who inflicted two – humiliating – defeats to Israel (2000 and 2006), and whose fighters played a leading role in the defeat of ISIS: if irreducible agents still dispute the quality of terrorists of the “Jewish jihadists” of Israel, nobody dares to do it anymore for the “Wahhabi jihadists” of ISIS. More than ever, the voice of the Secretary General of Hezbollah is able to find an echo in the Arab-Muslim world and beyond, and cannot be tolerated. After the multi-removal of channels such as Pure Stream Media or Anti-Zionist Party, the main channel translating Hassan Nasrallah’s speeches into French and English was unlikely to escape censorship for long.

Google claims to stick to political neutrality, respect for freedom of expression and the right to information and transparency. But its Transparency Report published every year is singularly lacking in transparency: it evokes (very succinctly), as regards the deletions of content, only those concerning 1 / Copyright, 2 / The European law upholding the right to be forgotten and 3 / Formal requests for deletion by States – the United States and Israel are in a good position. But what about other deletions, especially due to “individual” flagging or Google initiatives, which certainly represent the majority of these deletions? “Individual” flagging apparently only, as many emanate from governmental agencies or from State propaganda. The IDF cyber-soldiers or “Hasbara trolls” have already been reported for their active and paid propaganda at the highest levels on Wikipedia, Facebook, and other social networks. The Netanyahu government just gave 37 million dollars to such an agency, Kella Shlomo. The New York Times itself has revealed that “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider [hatred/violence] incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.” Glenn Greenwald, who published the Snowden case, just revealed that Facebook is coordinating with the Israeli and American governments the suppression of anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist voices, as recently shown by the removal of Ramzan Kadyrov’s Facebook account. It goes without saying that Israel’s propagandists are also particularly active on YouTube, the world’s leading online video-sharing platform (and the main source of content whose suppression is requested by States according to the Transparency Report), conferring a kind of near-monopoly on Google, who, in its hubris, allows itself to flout the right in its decisions to delete content.

Such decisions do not spare anyone on Youtube, and the biggest names of this platform have complained about the utmost contempt with which it treats its creators. This is the case of PewDiePie, the number 1 of Youtube, whose channel of Gaming / Vlogs itself (nearly 60 million subscribers and 17 billion views) has recently suffered the (pro)-Zionist wrath which clearly spares nobody. The Wall Street Journal itself took care of this odious witch hunt, engaging in slanderous accusations against PewDiePie to Youtube and his own sponsors, Disney in particular, presenting him as an anti-Semite and admirer of Hitler (sic). The WSJ failed to have his channel closed, but Disney broke their contract with PewDiePie, and YouTube excluded him from their paid programs, causing him to lose considerable sums (he does not even appear in Youtube Rewind 2017). PewDiePie had already denounced the arbitrary demonetizations of videos, including all those containing any kind of political content. This censorship policy was formalized in June 2017, with Youtube announcing that “Video content that features or focuses on sensitive topics or events including, but not limited to, war, political conflicts, terrorism or extremism, death and tragedies, sexual abuse, even if graphic imagery is not shown” are not suitable for ads, and therefore demonetized. This is how YouTube keeps its creators at bay, forbidding them to merely speak about “Controversial issues and sensitive events” by this more discreet form of censorship, namely demonetization, and confining them exclusively to simple “entertainment”, in the most restrictive sense of the word. Youtube obviously dares not remove all videos or channels that do not comply for fear of the harm that it would cause them, given the notoriety of some creators, and is content with a pecuniary sanction just as crippling, but has absolutely no scruples for channels with a modest audience like mine, which are suppressed without qualms. As we can see, freedom of expression stops at the (eternally extensible) borders of Israel and its exacerbated “sensitivity”.

This is obviously a significant loss for the individual who has spent hundreds or even thousands of hours translating and subtitling these videos, and who sees five years of effort erased with a stroke of pen – or rather an ax. The impact that these videos have been able to have for five years is not reduced to nothing, but it is the possibility of seeing it grow which is indeed destroyed, and the public acquired for the next videos reduced from ten thousand to the unit. But is this censorship a sign of strength on the other side? Certainly not. The fact that the voluntary work of a private individual in his free time can disturb to this point is only a telling indication of the monumental failure of the billion dollar Zionist propaganda, supported by the mainstream media and by most political forces in the West. But despite all the efforts of Israel and its omnipresent “Thought Police”, its mercenaries and other rabid guard dogs mercilessly sent against any form of criticism of Israel (CRIF or LICRA in France, ADL, AIPAC and others), the Zionist entity remains widely regarded as a criminal state and pariah by the majority of the populations, principal threat for the peace in the world even in Europe, and cannot bear that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah reach the Western public, considering that they endanger its security and its very existence. Let us remember that Israel is the only state in the world to claim a “right to exist”, aware that its existence is factitious – and temporary. In his last speech at the UN, Netanyahu, striving to demonstrate that Israel has support all around the world, expressed his wish to visit Antarctica, because it was reported to him that “penguins too are enthusiastic supporters of Israel.” There is no need for the defenders of Palestine to flag Zionist videos for censorship, Israeli leaders and their sycophants doing an excellent job of discrediting themselves – and that is certainly why Hezbollah does not engage in targeted operations to avenge its leaders murdered by Israel, relying on their “wisdom” and “charisma” to help destroy the Zionist entity from within.

This incessant and fierce censorship demonstrates, as the Secretary General of Hezbollah has asserted, that the Zionist state is “weaker than a spider’s web”, and that its days are numbered, just like those of the monopoly of the dominant social networks – Youtube, Facebook, and others Twitter, which owe their success to their universalist policy of openness, but dig their own grave with their policy of censorship and submission to governments, imperialism and Zionism. Day after day, the giants of the Web are unveiled more and more like simple agents of the power, whether political or economic, and will be progressively deserted by those who look for authentic and unfiltered information. Freer, parallel platforms are emerging and will continue to emerge, gradually ending their monopoly. Hassan Nasrallah does not even lose anything: while at the beginning of my channel, only specialized or even marginal alternative information sites relayed his speeches (Al-Manar, AlAhed News, …), today, the whole mainstream press is forced to do so to avoid being on the margins of international news and its main actors (New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Mail, Le MondeLe Figaro,…). Youtube, yesterday precursor, is today an exception.

January 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Expect Even Less Freedom of Internet in 2018

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 04.01.2018

Users of social media have been increasingly reporting that their accounts have been either censored, blocked or suspended during the past year. Initially, some believed that the incidents might be technical in nature, with overloaded servers struggling to keep up with the large and growing number of accounts, but it eventually emerged that the interference was deliberate and was focused on individuals and groups that were involved in political or social activities considered to be controversial.

At the end of last year a number of Russian accounts on Facebook and elsewhere were suspended over the allegations that social media had been used to spread so-called false news that had possibly materially affected the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Even though it proved impossible to demonstrate that the relatively innocuous Russian efforts had any impact in comparison to the huge investment in advertising and propaganda engaged in by the two major parties, social media quickly responded to the negative publicity.

Now it has been learned that major social media and internet service providers have, throughout the past year, been meeting secretly with the United States and Israeli governments to remove content as well as ban account holders from their sites. The United States and Israel have no legal right to tell private companies what to do but it is clearly understood that the two governments can make things very difficult for those service providers that do not fall in line. Israel has threatened to limit access to sites like Facebook or to ban it altogether while the U.S. Justice Department can use terrorist legislation, even if implausible, to force compliance. Washington recently forced Facebook to cancel the account of the Chechen Republic’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin loyalist that the White House has recently “sanctioned.”

Israel is not surprisingly most active in patrolling the Internet as it is keen to keep out any material sympathetic to the Palestinian cause or critical of Israeli treatment of Arabs. Its security services scan the stories being surfaced and go to the service providers to ask that material be deleted or blocked based on the questionable proposition that it constitutes “incitement” to violence. Facebook reportedly cooperates 95% of the time to delete material or shut down accounts. Palestinian groups, which use social networking on the internet to communicate, have been especially hard hit, with ten leading administrators’ accounts being removed in 2017. Israeli accounts including material threatening to kill Arabs are not censored.

Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are all also under pressure to cooperate with pro-Israel private groups in the United States, to include the powerful Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL seeks “to engineer new solutions to stop cyberhate” by blocking “hate language,” which includes any criticism of Israel that might even implausibly be construed as anti-Semitism. Expanding restrictions on what is being defined as “hate speech” will undoubtedly become common in social media and more generally all across the internet in 2018.

The internet, widely seen as a highway where everyone could communicate and share ideas freely, is actually a toll road that is increasingly managed by a group of very large corporations that, when acting in unison, control what is seen and not seen. Search engines already are set up to prioritize information from paid “sponsors,” which come up prominently but often have nothing to do with what material is most relevant. And the role of intrusive governments in dictating to Facebook and other sites who will be heard and who will be silenced should also be troubling, as it means that information that would benefit the public might never be seen, particularly if it is embarrassing to powerful interests. And speaking of powerful interests, groups like the ADL with partisan agendas will undoubtedly be able to dictate norms of behavior to the service providers, leading to still more loss of content and relevancy for those who are looking for information.

All things considered, the year 2018 will be a rough one for those who are struggling to maintain the internet as a source of relatively free information. Governments and interest groups have seen the threat posed by such liberty and are reacting to it. They will do their best to bring it under control.

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Australia to probe Facebook & Google

RT | December 4, 2017

Australia’s competition regulator has begun an inquiry into whether the influence of the US tech giants Facebook and Google has harmed the media sector. The probe is part of the country’s broader media reforms.

“We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators, and advertisers,” said Rod Sims, the Chairman of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

He added that the inquiry would study how Facebook and Google operated to “fully understand their influence in Australia.”

The government has reportedly ordered the investigation due to concerns about the future of the media sector following years of falling profits, newsroom job cuts and the rise of fake news.

The inquiry will have the power to demand information from Google, Facebook and other firms, as well as hold hearings.

Since 2000, European regulators have investigated tech giants Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon over a range of antitrust issues. Google is currently facing more than a €1 billion fine from the EU for abusing search practices. The penalty could become the largest in the history of monopoly abuse cases.

In another case, the EU is investigating whether Google unfairly banned competitors from websites that used its search bar and advertisements. It is also examining how the firm pays and limits mobile phone providers who use its Android software and Play app store.

In September, Spain’s data protection watchdog fined Facebook, saying the social network breached laws designed to protect people’s information and confidentiality. It said the company collected personal data from its users in Spain without obtaining their ‘unequivocal consent’ and without informing them how such information would be used.

The social media giant has also been slapped with a €150,000 fine by the French data protection watchdog for the way the company targeted advertising and tracked users. The penalty was part of a wider probe carried out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany into some of the corporation’s practices.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Google’s Eric Schmidt, arbiter of news, has long history with Obama & Clinton

RT | November 21, 2017

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, announced that his company will ‘de-rank’ RT’s articles online, calling them propaganda. Is he concerned for the integrity of news, or are his motives more partisan?

The 62-year-old, with an estimated wealth of $11.1 billion, has never hidden his political leanings, jumping straight into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign long before she officially announced her candidacy. In one of John Podesta’s leaked emails, the long-time Clinton confidant and chairman of her presidential campaign told her soon-to-be campaign manager Robby Mook that he had met with Schmidt in April 2014, more than a year before Clinton told the American public that she was hoping to become their next president.

“I met with Eric Schmidt tonight… He’s ready to fund, advise recruit talent, etc. He clearly wants to be head outside advisor, but didn’t seem like he wanted to push others out. Clearly wants to get going. He’s still in DC tomorrow and would like to meet with you if you are in DC in the afternoon. I think it’s worth doing…” Podesta wrote in the email, which was published by WikiLeaks last October.

Another email, written two weeks later, showed Schmidt sharing his campaign ideas with Clinton aide Cheryl Mills. “Let’s assume a total budget of about $1.5 billion, with more than 5,000 paid employees and million(s) of volunteers,” he said.

He went on to brainstorm ideas on how to utilize technology in the campaign. It wasn’t long before The Groundwork, founded by analysts and engineers who worked on Barack Obama’s campaign and funded by Schmidt, became Clinton’s top technology provider. The Groundwork was housed in an office just a few blocks away from Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Schmidt continued to advise Clinton on digital matters throughout the campaign.

“Eric recognizes how the technology he’s been building his whole career can be applied to different spaces. The idea of tech as a force multiplier is something he deeply understands,” The Groundwork’s Michael Slaby told Quartz in 2015.

Then there was campaign night, when a photo forwarded to Politico showed a smiling Schmidt at Clinton’s election headquarters, complete with a “staff” badge.

Schmidt’s efforts to get Clinton elected, along with Google’s overall efforts to do the same, were addressed in a November 2016 report by the Campaign for Accountability ‒ a non-partisan, non-profit organization that aims to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life ‒ and its Google Transparency Project. The document concluded that “Google executives and employees bet heavily on a Clinton victory, hoping to extend the company’s influence on the White House.” It added that “had she won the election, Clinton would have been significantly indebted to Google and Schmidt, whom she referred to as her ‘longtime friend.'”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also brought up the relationship between Schmidt and the US establishment in his 2014 book, ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks.’ He describes a 2011 encounter with Schmidt in Norfolk, UK, where Assange was under house arrest at the time.

“I had been too eager to see a politically unambitious Silicon Valley engineer, a relic of the good old days of computer science graduate culture on the West Coast. But that is not the sort of person who attends the Bilderberg conference four years running, who pays regular visits to the White House, or who delivers ‘fireside chats’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos,” Assange wrote. “Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s ‘foreign minister’ – making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines – had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within US establishment networks of reputation and influence.”

Same thing, different candidate 

Schmidt’s political leanings became clear in the early days of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He publicly endorsed Obama, telling The Wall Street Journal in October 2008 that he was “doing this personally,” as Google was “officially neutral” in the election. He also served as an informal adviser to Obama’s campaign.

Schmidt also donated $5,000, the maximum allowed by law, to Obama’s 2008 campaign, according to US media reports that cited a now-deleted official list of donors. Schmidt’s close relationship with Obama didn’t end when the Democratic candidate was elected. Schmidt chaired the board of public policy think tank New America Foundation, working closely with Obama as a member of his Transition Economic Advisory Board. Later, Schmidt claimed a seat on Obama’s new Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The two became so close that the Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to the White House demanding that Obama distance himself from Google, and stop inviting Schmidt to fancy galas in Washington, DC. The group pointed out that Schmidt, and then-Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, were invited to a state dinner despite the company being under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice over allegations that it profited from selling online ads to illegal pharmacies.

“Executives of companies under federal criminal investigation should not be invited while a major case is pending. Allowing such executives to hobnob at a gala White House event inevitably sends a message that the Administration supports them and undercuts the ability of federal investigators to proceed with their case in a fair and unbiased way,” reads the letter, dated June 23, 2011.

Schmidt also supported Obama’s 2012 campaign, helping to recruit talent, deciding on technology, as well as mentoring campaign manager, Jim Messina. He was present in the Chicago, Illinois boiler room on election night. The Google executive was apparently so impressed by Obama’s campaign staff that he invested in several start-ups founded by the analysts and engineers who worked on it, one of those being The Groundwork.

Schmidt’s announcement to ‘de-rank’ RT’s articles comes despite Google’s own investigation saying it found no manipulation of its platform or policy violations by RT. There may be more ground to question Schmidt’s integrity than that of RT – but that’s highly unlikely to happen in today’s climate, because Google is not a Russian company.

Read more:

‘Modern censorship: Google decides RT is propaganda, yet millions disagree’

‘Google’s plan to isolate Russian media is an act of information warfare’

Google will ‘de-rank’ RT articles to make them harder to find – Eric Schmidt

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Google’s Censorship of Sputnik and RT ‘Very Dangerous’ – Psychologist

Sputnik – 21.11.2017

Google is “deciding what people see,” which is “very dangerous” since they are legally a tech company and do not adhere to any type of editorial standards our guidelines, research psychologist Robert Epstein told Sputnik following Google’s announcement that it was working to make Sputnik and RT articles less visible on its search engine.

“It’s not clear Google should be able to exercise editorial control” by deranking Sputnik articles since Google “isn’t accountable to editorial standards,” he said.

“Companies like Google and Facebook play both sides: they pretend to be objective but exercise enormous editorial control” and “censorship” over what mass audiences see, Epstein told Sputnik News.

​Epstein, a research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, California, pioneered research in the “search engine manipulation effect.” The research showed that biased search results presented by Google could influence how undecided voters choose presidential candidates.

“What we’re talking about here is a means of mind control on a massive scale that there is no precedent for in human history,” he said at the time. Research participants spent a much larger percentage of web browsing time visiting search results that were higher up. According to Epstein, biased Google results could have provided an extra 2.6 million votes in support of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race.

His research found that Google’s “autocomplete” function would frequently suggest “little marco” and “lying ted,” two of US President Donald Trump’s preferred pet names during the election, but rarely, if ever, prompted users to search for “crooked hillary” or “corrupt kaine.”

Speaking with Science Magazine last October, Epstein explained, “Google pretends to be the public library, but it isn’t. Public libraries don’t… track people [and] they don’t sell the history of your book borrowing to other companies. They simply help you find stuff. That’s what we need. We need to take Google’s search engine and make it public.”

On Saturday, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, told a session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada “We are working on detecting and de-ranking those kinds of sites — it’s basically RT and Sputnik. We are we trying to engineer the systems to prevent [the content from being delivered to wide audiences]. But we don’t want to ban the sites — that’s not how we operate.”

​”Good to have Google on record as defying all logic and reason: facts aren’t allowed if they come from RT, ‘because Russia’ — even if we have Google on Congressional record saying they’ve found no manipulation of their platform or policy violations by RT,” Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT, said in response to the news.

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Google’s plan to isolate Russian media is an act of information warfare’

RT | November 21, 2017

Google’s announcement that it is working to reduce the presence of Russian media in its news feeds has been slammed by lawmakers and political commentators as an act of aggression which will have a global impact on the freedom of speech and thought.

“This is an open form of information warfare waged right now – a bombardment, a direct aggression” against the Russian news outlets, Andrey Svintsov, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, told RT. The lawmaker explained that tweaking search results for the news category would cut off the global readership that remains interested in the Russian position on global events, calling it a “powerful blow” to the freedom of speech.

“We as MPs should think about… limiting [the use of] the Google search engine, as well as certain social networks belonging to this holding in Russia,” Svintsov said. Meanwhile, the head of the Russian Upper House Commission for Information Policy, Senator Aleksey Pushkov, also wondered whether Google should be “de-ranked” in Russia in a tit-for-tat response.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said earlier that the company is “trying to engineer the systems” to prevent RT and Sputnik content from reaching wider audiences. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan criticized the initiative as an arbitrary form of censorship that defies “all logic and reason.”

Google’s initiative will have a direct impact on “freedom of speech and thought” in the US, believes Prof. Dan Kovalik, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

“It is a form of censorship, and the idea is to lead readers away from RT content. And it will have an impact on the discourse in this country,” Kovalik told RT. “When [you start] censoring anyone, they are going to censor everyone, and I think everyone in the US should be appalled by this and very concerned.”

The human rights lawyer remains certain that US companies initiated an anti-RT campaign to woo the American government at the expense of free speech.

“I think what you see has happened is that Google, Twitter and Facebook have been pressured by the US government to try to essentially [put] blame on Russia where there is none, and to appear somehow that they are working with the US government against Russia. And they have bowed to this pressure,” Kovalik said.

Kovalik also argued that RT presents an alternative point of view that is simply incompatible with US policies.

“I do believe that there is a concern in the US government and the mainstream media of this alternative narrative about what is happening in Syria, for example, about whether the US is truly fighting terrorism in Syria as it claims. Well, Russia has a different view of that. RT has a different view of that. The same thing in Ukraine. The US has been backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine. That is something that the powers that be don’t want Americans to know. And so, I think the attack on RT, which has a very different view of those things, is an attack on those alternative narratives of issues that are very important to the American people,” he said.

Google is dancing to the tune of the US government as part of the broader campaign to demonize Russia, political commentator and TV host Steve Malzberg told RT.

“This is all about the fact that Russia is right now the enemy. Russia has been made the enemy by the left, the Democrats and, by definition, the media. The media has been nonstop for a year now about ‘evil Russia.’ Anything associated with the ‘evil Russia’ will incur the wrath of the government,” Malzberg said. “It is because they have been called in before Congress and because of this witch hunt that is going on… They don’t want to risk the wrath of Congress, and that is the problem.”

“There has been nothing found in the whole Russian collusion investigation so far. And there really no meat here when it comes to RT and nefarious doings and dealings, but that does not stop them. They are just going with the flow,” the political commentator added.

Malzberg noted that if Google really wanted to address the so-called ‘fake news’ phenomenon, they should look in their own backyard and check the information flow that comes out of the US mainstream media.

“If they wanted to concentrate on the real program, they certainly have all the opportunity to look at what I call propaganda from the leftist mainstream news media… But they do not have interest in that, because Congress isn’t calling them to say, ‘Oh, big bad CNN or big, bad, evil MSNBC’,” Malzberg said. “Russia is ‘boogeyman’ right now, and this is all part of that deal.”

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Google exec says new algorithm will suppress RT and Sputnik, ‘those kinds of sites’

Sputnik – 20.11.2017

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced Saturday that the company will “engineer” algorithms that will make it harder for articles from Sputnik News and RT to appear on the Google News service.

“We are working on detecting and de-ranking those kinds of sites — it’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt said during a question and answer session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. “We are well of aware of it, and we are trying to engineer the systems to prevent [the content being delivered to wide audiences]. But we don’t want to ban the sites — that’s not how we operate.”

Schmidt’s response came after a guest in the audience asked the 62-year-old executive whether Google facilitated “Russian propaganda.” The comments were in relation to a larger discussion on the search engine’s Google News services which offers viewers a range of articles on certain topics.

Schmidt later noted that he was “very strongly not in favor of censorship,” but that instead he had faith in “ranking” stories. He did not comment on whether engineering a computer program to hide information could be seen as amounting to censorship.

Giving insight on the capabilities of the new algorithm, the official did indicate that it would be able to detect “repetitive, exploitative, false, and weaponized” information.

In response to Schmidt’s statement, RT’s Margarita Simonyan said, “Good to have Google on record as defying all logic and reason: facts aren’t allowed if they come from RT, ‘because Russia’ — even if we have Google on Congressional record saying they’ve found no manipulation of their platform or policy violations by RT.”

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Anti-Trump groups fund ‘trust indicators’ to combat ‘fake news’ on social media

RT | November 17, 2017

Under pressure to stop the spread of false information, Facebook, Google and Twitter have turned to the Trust Project to inform users of the credibility of news sources. But the supposed nonpartisan effort is funded by deep-pocketed anti-Trump forces.

On Thursday, Facebook, Google and Twitter announced their participation in the initial phase of implementing the Trust Project’s “trust indicators,” notes attached to news posts to let the reader know if the post is an advertisement or to provide background information on the author or sources, including a publisher’s ethics policy and funding arrangements.

The Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Economist, Vox.com, and the Globe and Mail, and other outlets are among the select few currently permitted to use the indicators. Search engines and social media feeds are being improved to gravitate toward, not just what their users want to see, but also sources deemed respectable, and that’s what the indicators seek to influence.

The Trust Project is based at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, but is funded by craigslist.com founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark, as well as Google, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Markkula Foundation.

Newmark, also a founder of the Trust Project, has poured millions of dollars into various vehicles aimed at restoring trust in the media. Earlier this year, he donated $1 million to ProPublica, saying, “As a news consumer, I won’t pay for news I can’t trust.”

The Trust Project, however, is not simply another way for Newmark to support news outlets with his own money. He has been looking to take stronger steps to boost the journalism he likes best since his favored candidate Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race to Donald Trump last year.

The 2016 election result stunned almost everyone, with many wondering if Americans had made a fully-informed choice. The influence of the internet had increased considerably since 2012 and 2008, just as trust in mass media declined to an all-time low. Gallup found that less than one-third of Americans held a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mainstream news. Meanwhile, people’s enchantment with social media has seen both solid alternative reporting and “fake news” disseminated widely.

For Newmark, the added element of alleged Russian meddling made the issue of trust in media all the more urgent to address. In recent weeks, during and following testimony by Facebook, Google and Twitter representatives to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Newmark tweeted that it was “a huge deal” that the committee kept referring to the matter of “fake news” in terms of war.

Last week, Newmark tweeted a 1970 quote by Canadian media theorist, professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan: “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.”

Funding for the Trust Project also comes from the Democracy Fund, whose founder, Pierre Omidyar, also founded the online auction site eBay. Omidyar has contributed $1 million to the Clinton Foundation for HIV/AIDS treatment, but also donated $100,000 to the NeverTrump political action committee in April 2016.

Fact-checking news sources is not new to Omidyar. His Omidyar Network also funds projects of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalism that owns the Tampa Bay Times, the home of Politifact, which has been criticized for having a left-leaning bias. Omidyar once went as far as comparing Trump to “the personal and political styles of early Adolf Hitler” in a tweet.

Joe Goldman, president of the purportedly bipartisan Democracy Fund, retweeted a video of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) during the November 1 Senate hearings with social media representatives on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The video showed the ranking committee member admonishing the tech companies for “not getting it.”

“We’re talking about the beginning of cyberwarfare,” Feinstein said. “We’re talking about a major foreign power with the sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over this country.”

“You’ve created these platforms, and now they are being misused,” she added, “and you have to be the ones to do something, or we will.”

Read more:

Google & Soros-backed ‘fact-checkers’ join forces to control news search results

Twitter, Google & Facebook grilled by Senate, try hard to find ‘Russian influence’

‘Zero collusion’: Trump says Russia probe a disgrace, many ads ‘bad’ for him

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments