Social Media and big tech entities have kicked their censorship practices into a higher gear, coincidentally, or not, just months before the midterm elections.
Recently Twitter announced a new algorithm tweak which basically shadow bans anyone their "machine" determines to be a "troll," by using "behavioral signals" to determine if anyone is distorting or detracting from public conversation.
Twitter's vice president of trust and safety, Del Harvey, and director of product management David Gasca, on May 15, 2018, explained their "New Approach," via the Twitter blog, after explaining the new algorithm was aimed at addressing the problem of "trolls."
Today, we use policies, human review processes, and machine learning to help us determine how Tweets are organized and presented in communal places like conversations and search. Now, we’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we’re able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone’s experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us.
There are many new signals we’re taking in, most of which are not visible externally. Just a few examples include if an account has not confirmed their email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts that don’t follow them, or behavior that might indicate a coordinated attack. We’re also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other.
These signals will now be considered in how we organize and present content in communal areas like conversation and search. Because this content doesn’t violate our policies, it will remain on Twitter, and will be available if you click on “Show more replies” or choose to see everything in your search setting. The result is that people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search.
In other words Twitter has gone from denying they shadow ban people to announcing they not only do it, but they are tweaking their algorithms to kick the practice into high gear, by making themselves the arbiter of what is "healthy" in a conversation, who is and who isn't a "troll," and censoring and hiding the content of a user if they "interact" with someone their "machine" has already determined to be someone that behaves badly.
First off, as a moderator here at ANP, I can personally attest to the fact that there is a huge difference between a "troll," and someone that simply disagrees and wants to debate a topic.
A troll does nothing but attack others, is incapable of being civil, never addresses the topic being discussed, and consistently attempts to sow discord among discussion participants.
What Twitter is doing is setting up their platform to only allow conversations they agree with, while hiding anything they don't like by labeling it "unhealthy."
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to the platform to claim "Our ultimate goal is to encourage more free and open conversation." He doesn't even appear to understand the irony of claiming they want more free and open conversation while defending the practice of censoring that "free and open conversation." Dorsey also claims they are doing this to "reduce the ability to game and skew our systems."
The reaction to his statement on Twitter shows exactly what people think of his latest attempt to defend outright censorship, with one user responding to him with "Better to encourage hearing dissenting voices, which is supposed to encourage individual free thinking instead of "group think."
Another user highlights how conservatives are already targeted by Twitter, stating "It only works if it is applied fairly but any program is only as good as those who do the programming. So far, 2 months in, your system is very biased toward conservatives, GOP and Trump supporters. You won’t even remove a page that shows child-porn."
That is the problem right there in a nutshell, as Project Veritas has already published multiple under cover videos where Twitter employees admitted to "teaching" their machines to label users that talk about God, guns, and America as "bots."
Does anyone really believe the timing of this roll-out is coincidental as we head into the final months right before the midterm elections?
YOUTUBE 'AN ENEMY OF NATURAL MEDICINE AND HEALING'
Natural News reports that Mike Adam's YouTube channel, The Health Ranger, has once again been terminated, after receiving just one strike (normally it takes three) over a "43-second video we posted about the compassionate healing potential of CBD oil." Adams provides the screenshots of YouTube's notifications to him, first giving him the "strike" and then telling him his channel had been suspended.
This isn’t a typo: YouTube now considers videos that talk about natural medicine and saving lives from cancer to be “harmful” and “dangerous.” Really. That’s what YouTube has now become: an enemy of natural medicine and healing.
As we have detailed extensivey here at ANP, YouTube has made it a practice to demonetize conservative leaning content creators, while systematically hiding others by making their content totally disappear in searches if a user has "restricted mode" enabled, despite many of those channels, like mine, having no content that could be considered sensitive, such as nudity, profanity or pornographic content.
Google's anti-second amendment stance was made very clear when they attempted to tweak their algorithm earlier this year to prevent anyone from using their Shopping feature from being able to utilize it to search for anything with the word "gun" in it. That went horribly wrong.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting, Google decided to take a stand. The gatekeeper of the Internet decided to filter shopping searches that included the term “gun.” It didn't go so well.
Early Tuesday morning, Internet shoppers started noticing and documenting the digital gaffes. Users received error notices when they searched for glue guns and water guns, toy guns and airsoft guns, nail guns and nerf guns. The algorithm is apparently so strict that even the color "burgundy" triggered an error because it includes "gun" in the spelling.
This set off something of a parlor game on social media. Turns out, adults don’t like it when faceless bureaucrats try enforcing arbitrary restrictions — federal, corporate, or otherwise.
It isn't only YouTube and Google that has made their anti-second amendment stance clear, as Twitter, Google and Facebook got so carried away with their anti-gun positioning they managed to ban ads from ZORE, which sells gun locks, but do not sell any firearms, while "citing policies restricting ads for firearms sales."
Via National Reveiw: "Facebook and Google said the ads simply do not comply with their policies. Twitter told ZORE verbally that it would not even open an ad account for the company."
FACEBOOK OPENS UP THEIR RULEBOOK FOR CENSORSHIP
Facebook recently published their previously secret rules used to censor content. While violent content, terror-related content, and other expected content is listed as items to be removed, for the first time Facebook has revealed what they define has "hate speech," which was a question FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg could not answer when he was being grilled by congress.
Via Section III - Number 12 - Hate Speech:
We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation......
TechCrunch brings up a very important question about whether Facebook censorship practices equal an editorial voice, making them curators of content, which would strip them of their legal immunity under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The immunity offers protection for a platform from prosecution over third party content because they do not have an editorial voice. Many argue that by practicing blatant censorship with a bias, they are no longer a neutral conduit and they are editorializing by censorship, therefore they should stripped of their liability immunity.
Each social media platform has tools where users can block or mute other users if they do not want to see what they say or interact with them, so frankly there is absolutely no reason, for the censorship these companies are practicing.
“We’ve heard reports from whistleblowers of ‘shadowbanning’, where you simply tweet or post something and nobody sees it, it just goes into the void, goes into the ether.”
“Likewise, if there are views that a handful of tech companies like, they can favor those views and direct them to your feed so everything you see is the information they want you to see.”
“That is a level of power that is staggering, and I think it poses a real and present danger to our democratic system, particularly given the extreme left-wing bias of Silicon Valley. What we’ve seen over and over again, they’re acting to muzzle and silence conservative views, views they disagree with. That’s frightening.”
Cruz went on to suggest that social media platforms that engage in censorship should lose their legal protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants them immunity from liability for content posted by their users.
“It’s a special immunity from liability that nobody else gets” explained Cruz. “The basis for that immunity from liability was that they were neutral public forums, that they were not the ones speaking but rather it was the people speaking and posting on them.”
“Well, if they’re not going to be neutral public forums, if they’re going to be active political speakers, favoring one point of view and disfavoring another, they have a first amendment right to do that, but they have no entitlement to a special congressionally-created immunity from liability that nobody else enjoys.”
While we have noted and appreciated Cruz's relentlessness on this matter, we have been hearing this for over a year, yet no congressional move has been made, despite extensive documentation showing big tech's bias against conservative content, to strip big tech and social media giants of said immunity.
Big tech and social media giants are becoming more blatant in their censorship, stripping conservatives across a variety of platforms of their ability to share content, which in turn is damaging the ability of Independent Media to provide an alternate voice to the liberal MSM.
It is time for congressional Republicans to stop talking about it and start taking action to help protect their base from being silenced.
Remember: Without Independent Media fighting against the mainstream media's bias, there is a good likelihood that right now, Hillary Clinton would be president.
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