In early August, 2017, it was reported that YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, would begin censoring “controversial religious or supremacist content,” stating that such content “will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t hve key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.” The cause of this step towards censorship and the silencing of non-mainstream voices? Although a multitude of factors can be considered, one of the most notable is YouTube’s relatively new partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
According to YouTube, the ADL will provide, “expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism that will help us better identify content that is being used to radicalize and recruit extremists. We will also regularly consult these experts as we update our policies to reflect new trends. And we’ll continue to add more organizations to our network of advisors over time.”
While anti-leftist figures such as Dr. Jordan Peterson found themselves unable to upload new videos as this new update rolled around, the fullest extent of Google’s dedication towards eradicating alternative sources went under most of the internet’s radar.
In March 2017, Google updated its “Search Quality Evalulator Guidelines,” providing revised information regarding how Google’s quality raters discern and flag inaccurate, upsetting, or offensive content. In this 160-page document (which you can access here), Google provides an eloquently-worded system for employees to censor web pages exclusively on the basis of their content.
The document surfaced in 2014, when it was leaked and covered by Forbes; however, during this time, the guidelines did not possess a rather significant element that can be found in the 2017 edition, notably, a large segment concerning the attempt “to surface more factually accurate and reliable sources in search results.”
There are five official designations for web pages regarding their rating, which plays into their likelihood to surface as search results for respective queries. 1: Highest, 2: High, 3: Medium, 4: Low, 5: Lowest. Here some given examples for domains present in each category:
1:Highest. Ex. Snopes, The Atlantic.
2: High. Ex. The Christian Science Monitor, The Seattle Times.
3: Medium. Ex. pages with error messages (404, etc.), HuffPost.
4. Low. Ex. Headline & Global News, Squidoo.
5. Lowest. “Hateful” content geared towards a people group on the basis of their religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. (see image below).
It is the last rating, “Lowest,” that should be of the most concern. Although the parameter is set in order to prevent violence against particular people groups, it is approached at in an entirely unjustifiable manner. Examples are provided to help rankers identify “Upsetting-Offensive Content.”
Below are portions of the Google document, detailing how web pages will be treated in relation to their content.
Both Stormfront and The Daily Stormer have been formally designated by Google as “Offensive-Upsetting,” meaning that such content “should own be shown if the query is explicitly seeking this type of content.” Hence, if one searches a relatively controversial subject, pages from non-mainstream domains will not appear in the results. This philosophy of censoring non-mainstream opinions can be traced to Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., Eric Schmidt, who has provided the following statement at a Bilderberg conference:
“Well, when you use Google, you get more than one answer. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world, because we should be able to give you the ‘right’ answer just once.”
Essentially, Google does not want its search engine to provide information that “directly contradict[s] well-established historical facts (e.g., unsubstantiated conspiracy theories).”
However, who has the authority to establish “historical facts”? It is the same line of rhetoric that led Bill Nye to claim that gender fluidity is “settled science.” Such a thing simply does not exist, no matter how many times you say it.
Google is not stopping there. They also have provided a sample for quality raters to “interpret user intent about possibly Upsetting-Offensive topics.” If a query is entered that Google deems “upsetting,” “offensive,” or “hateful,” then the search engine will interpret the query in such a way that respective results are censored from the list of pages provided. Here are the examples provided:
Search results should be listed in regard to a page’s popularity and relevance to the query, not based on what Google deems to be the “proper” answer.
Thus, the Era of Digital Censorship begins, with Google actively controlling what masses of people are granted exposure to, regardless of their actual intent. The internet should not be a cybernetic feedback loop for large organizations to control what one can or cannot think; it should be a platform where individuals can freely share information and ideas, no matter the veracity or extremity.
The Daily Stormer and Stormfront are only the tip of the iceberg. Gov’t Slaves has published a list of 400 websites that Google is actively (or will soon be) repressing, including 4chan, Drudge Report, Breitbart News, Info Wars, and Russia Today.