Censorship By Algorithm Does Far More Damage Than Conventional Censorship

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by Caitlin Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone:

Journalist Jonathan Cook has a new blog post out on his experience with being throttled into invisibility by Silicon Valley algorithmic suppression that will ring all too familiar for any online content creators who’ve been sufficiently critical of official western narratives over the last few years.

“My blog posts once attracted tens of thousands of shares,” Cook writes. “Then, as the algorithms tightened, it became thousands. Now, as they throttle me further, shares can often be counted in the hundreds. ‘Going viral’ is a distant memory.”

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“I won’t be banned,” he adds. “I will fade incrementally, like a small star in the night sky – one among millions – gradually eclipsed as its neighbouring suns grow ever bigger and brighter. I will disappear from view so slowly you won’t even notice.”

Cook says this began after the 2016 US election, which was when a major narrative push began for Silicon Valley corporations to eliminate “fake news” from their platforms and soon saw tech executives brought before the US Senate and told that they must “quell information rebellions” and come up with a mission statement expressing their commitment to “prevent the fomenting of discord” online.

Arguably the most significant political moment in the United States since 9/11 and its immediate aftermath was when Democrats and their allied institutions concluded that Donald Trump’s election was a failure not of establishment politics but of establishment narrative control. From that point onwards, any online media creator who consistently disputes the narratives promoted by the same news outlets who’ve lied to us about every war has seen their view counts and new follows slashed.

By mid-2017 independent media outlets were already reporting across ideological lines that algorithm changes from important sources of viewership like Google had suddenly begun hiding their content from people who were searching for the subjects they reported on.

“In case anyone wants to know how Facebook suppression works – I have 330,000 followers there but they’ve stopped showing my posts to many people,” Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp tweeted in January 2018. “I used to gain 6,000 followers a week. I now gain 500 and FB unsubscribes people without their knowledge – so my total number never increases.”

I saw my own shares and view counts rapidly diminish in 2017 as well, and saw my new Facebook page follows suddenly slow to a virtual standstill. It wasn’t until I started using mailing lists and giving indie media outlets blanket permission to republish all my content that I was able to grow my audience at all.

And Silicon Valley did eventually admit that it was in fact actively censoring voices who fall outside the mainstream consensus. In order to disprove the false right-wing narrative that Google only censors rightist voices, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet admitted in 2020 to algorithmically throttling World Socialist Website. Last year the CEO of Google-owned YouTube acknowledged that the platform uses algorithms to elevate “authoritative sources” while suppressing “borderline content” not considered authoritative, which apparently even includes just marginally establishment-critical left-of-center voices like Kyle Kulinski. Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said in 2018 that if the platform’s fact-checkers (including the state-funded establishment narrative management firm Atlantic Council) rule that a Facebook user has been posting false news, moderators will “dramatically reduce the distribution of all of their Page-level or domain-level content on Facebook.”

Read More @ CaitlinJohnstone.com