The World Socialist Website has launched a campaign against the state-backed censorship in the World Wide Web. Everything began when Google announced a change in their search algorithms which was initially designed to combat fake news. The change has resulted in a dramatic decrease of viewing of the leading anti-war and other socialist websites. WSWS has suffered heavy losses, specifically two third of its trafficking from Google search results.
But the issue stretches far beyond Google. Social networking platforms like Facebook, video websites like YouTube have been in cooperation with the governments around the entire world to turn down the internet speech.
On the 25th of April the Google Vice president has announced the “improvement” in their search engines. In the following year, on the 30th of June the Facebook officials have also announced the updates on their news feed algorithms.
Facebook representatives stated that a small group of people is sharing low quality content via the social network, which includes different types of misinformation. The Facebook update will decrease the priority of the low quality content to provide a surface for “better” content. Basically the same statement was issued by Google representatives. It stated that people are sharing conspiracy theories, fake news and low quality content, which will be demoted, in order to provide a surface for better content.
In other words, now Facebook and Google are entirely in charge of what is allowed to be said and what is not. Now only they can decide which content is of low or high quality, and what information will be available for the users.
The governments included in the censorship project are European Union, UK, G7 members, US Security Council, Centre of Strategic and International studies, as well as some unnamed “counter-terrorism experts”.
The project uses a shared Hashtag Database. This tool automatically defines certain content as “terrorist” or “extremist” and blocks it. Another tech giant – YouTube has launched their own project which flags certain content as “terrorist”, “inappropriate” and censors it. They sate that their system is more accurate than people who report violent videos.
The core idea of this whole project is that terrorism is spreading not because it is financed by imperialist governments, but because of a wide spread of terrorist propaganda via the world web.
The project of Google resulted in blacklisting of a wide range of anti-war and socialist websites, which are now labeled as low-quality content. Looking up to the YouTube’s AI project, we may assume that the situation might be even worse.
Chris Woods, the creator of the organization of AirWars, which documents air strikes worldwide, has received a number of threats from YouTube. Dozens of his videos were blocked, and YouTube threatened to close his channel entirely. Middle East Eye, another similar organization, which depicted the death of 5 thousand civilians during the battle of Mosul via their drones, has also suffered from the censorship. YouTube has also blocked a great number of their videos.
The public has zero access to the affairs of the tech giants, and as private bodies, they are free to cooperate with the governmental bodies. Statistics of Opensecretc.org show that Facebook has spent more than 8 million $ annually on lobbying the US federal government.
It should be also remarked that Facebook, Google, Microsoft as well as Apple and Yahoo interfered in the massive state spying. The fact was revealed by Edward Snowden.
Google, Facebook and YouTube remain the main sources of news and information in the world. They are the most visited websites and are interrelated with a great number of other sites. Today they have more than 2 billion active users around the world.
The censorship project takes place in the cauldron of global economic and geo-political crisis. Billions of people want to find answers to crucial questions concerning the war and dictatorships. But the capitalist suppression destroys the opportunity to find answers.