jeudi 10 août 2017

Evil Google doesn't want you to know about Socialism

... or more precisely, Google doesn't want you to know what Socialists say about Socialism.

New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites


Originally Posted by World Socialist Web Site
In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly.
On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.”
The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm was to give the search giant greater control in identifying content deemed objectionable by its guidelines. It declared that it had “improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates” in order “to surface more authoritative content.”
Google continued, “Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag.” These moderators are instructed to flag “upsetting user experiences,” including pages that present “conspiracy theories,” unless “the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint.”
Google does not explain precisely what it means by the term “conspiracy theory.” Using the broad and amorphous category of fake news, the aim of the change to Google’s search system is to restrict access to alternative web sites, whose coverage and interpretation of events conflict with those of such establishment media outlets as the New York Times and the Washington Post. [...]

The WSWS is far from the only site affected, but they seem to have done the most research on the machinations so far (during the last two weeks, for additional articles see website), and they are among the most severely censored:

Google’s new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites


Originally Posted by World Socialist Web Site
[...] The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:

* fell by 67 percent
* fell by 63 percent
* fell by 62 percent
* fell by 47 percent
* fell by 47 percent
* fell by 42 percent
* fell by 37 percent
* fell by 36 percent
* fell by 36 percent
* fell by 30 percent
* fell by 25 percent
* fell by 21 percent
* fell by 19 percent

Of the 13 web sites on the list, the World Socialist Web Site has been the most heavily affected. Its traffic from Google searches has fallen by two thirds. [...]

The WSWS is the outlet of the Forth International, the world's leading Trotzkyite organization. But:

Does the WSWS write about Leon Trotsky? Not according to Google


Originally Posted by World Socialist Web Site
[...] In the month of July, the number of Google searches for “Leon Trotsky” return a grand total of... zero impressions for the WSWS, down from 5,893 in May.
In preparing this article, we searched Google for “Who is Leon Trotsky.” We conducted this experiment with Chrome, Google’s browser, using “incognito mode” to ensure that results were not affected by previous searches. The search term was used without quotation marks.
All manner of right-wing essays and articles come up. The first page includes an essay posted on (Russia Beyond the Headlines, put out by the Russian government), “Leon Trotsky: 6 facts about the disgraced Russian revolutionary.”
On page three, there is an entry from Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary about Leon Trotsky… the piglet, an animal rescued by the farm in Australia in April 2014, who, we are informed, “has more spunk than most who are ten times his size.” There is also an article in Slate, published in 2007, warning readers, “Don’t idealize Leon Trotsky” (the revolutionary), and an entry in the right-wing Conservapedia.
Page four includes a Leon Trotsky flashcard from Quizlet, notes from, and a reactionary and ignorant entry from the satirical Uncyclopedia informing its readers that Trotsky’s greatest legacy is “his philosophy of permanent factionalism and split-hair revolutionary dialectics.”
Going deeper, on page six, we find pages that collect “Leon Trotsky GIFs” and an essay, “Frida’s Red Hot Lover” from an obscure site, Lisa’s History Room, that, according to Alexa, has global ranking of 1,078,957 (compared to the WSWS at 40,677). Also on page six is an essay on Trotsky and Orwell’s book Animal Farm, written by a high school student and published on
By page 10, we encounter a recipe for a cocktail called the “Leon Trotsky” and a page on on songs containing the term “Leon Trotsky.” On page 12, there is a review of historian Joshua Rubenstein’s biography of Trotsky by the reactionary historian Richard Pipes, published in Tablet in 2011 under the headline, “Trotsky the Jew,” which complains that Rubenstein “obscures the Russian revolutionary’s violent extremism.” There is also a document from the CIA’s website, “Leon Trotsky, Dupe of the NKVD.”
It is not until page 13 that there is any entry from the WSWS, the reposting of Trotsky’s essay, “Three Conceptions of the Russian Revolution.” Of course, by this point, most Google searchers, overloaded with rubbish, would have stopped scanning the results. [...]

And that's only the beginning:

Google blocked every one of the WSWS’s 45 top search terms


Originally Posted by World Socialist Web Site
An intensive review of Internet data has established that Google has severed links between the World Socialist Web Site and the 45 most popular search terms that previously directed readers to the WSWS. The physical censorship implemented by Google is so extensive that of the top 150 search terms that, as late as April 2017, connected the WSWS with readers, 145 no longer do so. [...]
The WSWS has analyzed tens of thousands of search terms, and identified those key phrases and words that had been most likely to place the WSWS on the first or second page of search results. The top 45 search terms previously included “socialism,” “Russian revolution,” “Flint Michigan,” “proletariat,” and “UAW [United Auto Workers].” The top 150 results included the terms “UAW contract,” “rendition” and “Bolshevik revolution.” All of these terms are now blocked. [...]
Terms relating directly to socialism are those that are most heavily manipulated. The terms “socialism vs. capitalism,” “socialist healthcare,” “social class struggle,” and “socialist party manifesto,” which all returned WSWS articles on the first page in the past, now do not return the WSWS in the top 100 results. The terms “socialism,” “socialist,” “socialist movement” and “class conflict,” in which the WSWS previously appeared within the first four pages, all no longer return WSWS articles. [...]

Says David North in the first article:


Originally Posted by World Socialist Web Site
David North, chairperson of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, stated that Google is engaged in political censorship.
“The World Socialist Web Site has been in existence for nearly 20 years,” he said, “and it has developed a large international audience. During this past spring, the number of individual visits to the WSWS each month exceeded 900,000.
“While a significant percentage of our readers enter the WSWS directly, many web users access the site through search engines, of which Google is the most widely used. There is no innocent explanation for the extraordinarily sharp fall in readers, virtually overnight, coming from Google searches.
“Google’s claim that it is protecting readers from ‘fake news’ is a politically motivated lie. Google, a massive monopoly, with the closest ties to the state and intelligence agencies, is blocking access to the WSWS and other left and progressive web sites through a system of rigged searches.”
“The actions of Google constitute political censorship and are a blatant attack on free speech,” North stated. “At a time when public distrust of establishment media is widespread, this corporate giant is exploiting its monopolistic position to restrict public access to a broad spectrum of news and critical analysis.”

Says Julian Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

via International Skeptics Forum

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