September 2017        

Google censors the internet

Dónall Ó Briain

Amid all the hysteria about “fake news,” as reported by the corporate and state media (i.e. the actual purveyors of fake news for the last century or more), a significant piece of news about Google, the giant near-monopoly internet corporation, slipped by unreported or, if reported, unexamined.
     In September 2016 a consortium of news media and internet “social media,” including the New York Times, the Washington Post, AFP (the French news agency), CNN, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, announced that they were launching a project to combat “fake news.” The so-called social media immediately began suppressing access to news and commentary from left-wing and other radical sources.
     On 25 April this year Google announced that it had revised its search algorithms—the complex formulas it uses to rank the results of web searches. It would also block access to offensive sites and at the same time promote those that have more “authoritative content.”
     Over the following three months a number of investigators tested the result. They found that a wide range of left-wing and radical web sites that actually have authoritative content were being visited significantly less often; for example:
• The Intercept (www.theintercept.com) dropped by 19 per cent
• Counterpunch (www.counterpunch.org) dropped by 21 per cent
• Wikileaks (www.wikileaks.org) dropped by 30 per cent
• Global Research (www.globalresearch.ca) dropped by 62 per cent
     These are not random changes, nor can they possibly be accounted for by a genuine falling off of interest in those sites, but are the result of being offered less often by Google search results.

What can you do?


     (1) Make a direct link to reputable radical news sources and portals, rather than through the mediation of search engines, such as:
          • Morning Star (www.morningstaronline.co.uk)
          • The Intercept (www.theintercept.com)
          • Counterpunch (www.counterpunch.org)
          • Global Research (www.globalresearch.ca)
          • Axis of Logic (www.axisoflogic.com)
          • Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org)
          • Information Clearing House (www.informationclearinghouse.info)
          • International Action Centre (www.iacenter.org)
          • Climate and Capitalism (www.climateandcapitalism.com)
     (2) Use a different search engine, especially one of those that don’t track your activity, such as Startpage or Ixquick, rather than Google.
     (3) Resist addiction to so-called social media; and be aware that everything you write and read on the internet is being tracked.

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