Archives‎ > ‎

Google & Facebook introduce Censorship, to stop Populist Revolts like Trump & Brexit

(1) Google to rig Search results, to combat fake news; appoints Snopes & FactCheck as Gatekeepers
(2) Google says its rigged Searches will be more authoritative
(3) Google imposes CIA line, state censorship
(4) Google to divert Searches from "unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories"
(5) Alternative News sites suffer decline of traffic generated by Google searches
(6) Facebook to counter fake news; imposes review by Fact Checking sites
(7) Facebook establishes new censorship centre in Germany

(1) Google to rig Search results, to combat fake news; appoints Snopes & FactCheck as Gatekeepers

Google to combat fake news with significant Search ranking updates,
feedback tools & more

By Hisfore

Posted on April 26, 2017

The phenomenon that started off as gaming the system with low-quality
content has now become a nightmare for Internet giants. It has taken the
shape of false and misleading content and is defined by its very own
term — fake news. Google and Facebook are two of the most prominent
names who were called out for propagating false news stories during the
U.S presidential elections.

With regards to the same, Google is bearing responsibility and has today
announced some structural changes to its renowned search engine. The
changes being implemented today onwards would enable the search giant to
weed out content which has contributed to the spread of blatantly
misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.

The Mountain View-based search giant has always implemented new, updated
algorithms to grapple with individuals looking to toy with the search
results to rank higher. The problem has changed its shape a little but
Google is still committed towards its long-term efforts of improving
upon the info displayed in any user’s search results. Speaking of the
quirks in an official blog post, Ben Gomes, Google’s VP of Engineering
for Search said,

While we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in
tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful
changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

Now, this is being made possible by making definitive changes to the
underlying search ranking algorithm – but that’s not everything. Google
is also providing users with a set of handy tools that’ll enable them to
provide feedback about the info and results displayed. It is now looking
to maximize participation of the community to enhance the overall
experience and kicking out those trying to spread malice through
wrongful means — here, the content or ads.

Related with  Windows 10 has more than 10 million beta testers now As
you might already be aware, Google has indexed more than hundreds of
billions of pages currently live on the interwebs. Thus, it has
discovered that some of their daily search traffic (about 0.25 percent)
does surface offensive or clearly misleading content. The search giant
has acknowledged that it surely is a significantly huge number and it
isn’t the content users have made their way to the platform in search
of. Thus, the first and foremost change involves improvements to the
search ranking algorithms.

Google is adopting a process similar to what Facebook has tried earlier
to curate the news sources being surfaced in the ‘Trending’ column on
the right. Proposing updates to its Search Quality Rater guidelines, the
search giant is now employing human editors to assess the quality of
content being surfaced to the users searching on the platform. It
doesn’t want to be caught in another hubbub surrounding the content
being displayed in the results.

These individuals provide Google with feedback about the various
experiments it conducts to better search quality. They work with a
subset of problematic queries to determine the areas where search
results need improvement — do not directly affect page rankings. It has
recently also updated the guidelines to help editors weed out (or flag)
more low-quality content which includes any misleading information,
unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy
theories.  Such low-quality content will be demoted.

Google Autocomplete Feedback Form Further, for those unaware, Google (as
well as YouTube) had recently been caught in hullaballoo surrounding the
search results that were surfaced with regards to the World War Two
holocaust. The top results surfaced by the search engine were misleading
and only questioned the events that define history. It was from a
neo-Nazi website called Stormfront, spotted back in December last year.

Related with  2017 Mazda CX-5 First Drive: Obsession pays off Thus, the
second iteration is being made to the search ranking signals — the
inputs which define how and what results will be shown for particular
queries. These signals have now been adjusted (not explained how?) but
Google mentions that it’ll now enable them to surface more authoritative
pages and demote low-quality content. It will not only help them
maintain the freshness of the content but also improve upon the number
of times your search queries appear on the page.

These under the hood changes to the search engine are being complemented
with some feature introductions on the surface as well. Google has now
decided to bring you in the loop and offer feedback about the content
being surfaced algorithmically on the website. It has added feedback
forms to the Autocomplete and Featured Snippets section — to gather info
on false and inappropriate content appearing in any of these results.
Thus, this will enable them to fix the algorithms and the blog post
further adds,

Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag
content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured
Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled
categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or
unhelpful content.

(2) Google says its rigged Searches will be more authoritative

SEARCH APR 25, 2017

Our latest quality improvements for Search

Ben Gomes


Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on
Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was
expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion
of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people
could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page.
The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure
the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In
addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always
had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to "game" our systems
in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality "content
farms," hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these
problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our
algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from
gaming the system.

Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online
every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game
the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of
"fake news," where content on the web has contributed to the spread of
blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false
information. While this problem is different from issues in the past,
our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant
information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may
not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the
problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more
structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step
toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web.
This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to
provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

Search ranking

Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of
billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that
a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have
been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not
what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content
for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and
made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content. New
Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a
process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have
evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search
results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t
determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data
on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to
improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to
provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to
appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected
offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These
guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such
low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over
time. Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which
results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to
the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve
adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote
low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial
results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear. Direct
feedback tools

When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features
like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing
to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows
a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at
the top of your search results. The content that appears in these
features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people
are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes
lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting
today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content
that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets.
These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you
can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We
plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms. ac New
feedback link for Autocomplete fs Updated feedback link for Featured
Snippets Greater transparency about our products

Over the last few months, we’ve been asked tough questions about why
shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based
on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and
updated them appropriately. Now we’re publishing this policy to the Help
Center so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to
removals. For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently
updated our How Search Works site to provide more information to users
and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes
a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of
billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our
user testing process.

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15
percent of searches we see every day are new—which means there’s always
more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their
queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search
results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to
preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful
for everyone.

(3) Google imposes CIA line, state censorship

Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm

By Andre Damon

31 July 2017

Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search
engine that sharply curtails public access to Internet web sites that
operate independently of the corporate and state-controlled media. Since
the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and
progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated
by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just
one month, a 70 percent drop in traffic from Google. In a blog post
published on April 25, Ben Gomes, Google’s chief search engineer, rolled
out the new censorship program in a statement bearing the Orwellian
title, "Our latest quality improvements for search." This statement has
been virtually buried by the corporate media. Neither the New York Times
nor the Wall Street Journal has reported the statement. The Washington
Post limited its coverage of the statement to a single blog post.

Framed as a mere change to technical procedures, Gomes’s statement
legitimizes Internet censorship as a necessary response to "the
phenomenon of ‘fake news,’ where content on the web has contributed to
the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright
false information."

The "phenomenon of ‘fake news’" is, itself, the principal "fake news"
story of 2017. In its origins and propagation, it has all the well-known
characteristics of what used to be called CIA "misinformation"
campaigns, aimed at discrediting left-wing opponents of state and
corporate interests.

Significantly, Gomes does not provide any clear definition, let alone
concrete examples, of any of these loaded terms ("fake news," "blatantly
misleading," "low quality, "offensive," and "down right false information.")

The focus of Google’s new censorship algorithm is political news and
opinion sites that challenge official government and corporate
narratives. Gomes writes: "[I]t’s become very apparent that a small set
of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been
returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what
people are looking for."

Gomes revealed that Google has recruited some 10,000 "evaluators" to
judge the "quality" of various web domains. The company has
"evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search
results—give us feedback on our experiments." The chief search engineer
does not identify these "evaluators" nor explain the criteria that are
used in their selection. However, using the latest developments in
programming, Google can teach its search engines to "think" like the
evaluators, i.e., translate their political preferences, prejudices, and
dislikes into state and corporate sanctioned results.

Gomes asserts that these "evaluators" are to abide by the company’s
Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which "provide more detailed examples
of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can
include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and
unsupported conspiracy theories."

Once again, Gomes employs inflammatory rhetoric without explaining the
objective basis upon which negative evaluations of web sites are based.

Using the input of these "evaluators," Gomes declares that Google has
"improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface
more authoritative content." He again asserts, further down, "We’ve
adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote
low-quality content."

What this means, concretely, is that Google decides not only what
political views it wants censored, but also what sites are to be
favored.  ...

(4) Google to divert Searches from "unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories"

Google rigs searches to block access to World Socialist Web Site

WSWS Editorial Board

28 July 2017

An examination of web traffic data clearly shows that Internet giant
Google is manipulating search results to block access to the World
Socialist Web Site.

In April, under the guise of combatting "fake news," Google introduced
new procedures that give extraordinary powers to unnamed "evaluators" to
demote web pages and websites. These procedures have been used to
exclude the WSWS and other anti-war and oppositional sites.

Over the past three months, traffic originating from Google to the WSWS
has fallen by approximately 70 percent. In key searches relevant to a
wide range of topics the WSWS regularly covers—including US military
operations and the threat of war, social conditions, inequality, and
even socialism—the number of search impressions referencing the World
Socialist Web Site has fallen drastically.

An "impression" is a technical term referring to a link shown by Google
in response to a search result. If a search for "socialism" leads a
user’s computer to show one link to the WSWS, that counts as an impression.

By manipulating the "search ranking" assigned to the pages of the WSWS,
Google can drive its content lower down on the list of results. This
reduces the total number of impressions, which, in turn, leads to a very
low number of "clicks," or visits to the site.

According to Google’s Webmaster Tools Service, the number of daily
impressions for the World Socialist Web Site fell from 467,890 to
138,275 over the past three months.

The WSWS has analyzed data related to the results of specific searches
between May and July, that is, the period after Google implemented its
new website exclusion policies.

During the month of May, Google searches including the word "war"
produced 61,795 WSWS impressions. In July, WSWS impressions fell by
approximately 90 percent, to 6,613.

Searches for the term "Korean war" produced 20,392 impressions in May.
In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions.
Searches for "North Korea war" produced 4,626 impressions in May. In
July, the result of the same search produced zero WSWS impressions.
"India Pakistan war" produced 4,394 impressions in May. In July, the
result, again, was zero. And "Nuclear war 2017" produced 2,319
impressions in May, and zero in July.

To cite some other searches: "WikiLeaks," fell from 6,576 impressions to
zero, "Julian Assange" fell from 3,701 impressions to zero, and "Laura
Poitras" fell from 4,499 impressions to zero. A search for "Michael
Hastings"—the reporter who died in 2013 under suspicious
circumstances—produced 33,464 impressions in May, but only 5,227
impressions in July.

In addition to geopolitics, the WSWS regularly covers a broad range of
social issues, many of which have seen precipitous drops in search
results. Searches for "food stamps," "Ford layoffs," "Amazon warehouse,"
and "secretary of education" all went down from more than 5,000
impressions in May to zero impressions in July.

The number of search impressions for WSWS articles in searches including
the term "strike" fell by 85 percent between May and July, from 19,395
to 2,964.

Many people who conduct Google searches for these terms do so because
they are critical of establishment politics and would be interested in
hearing what socialists have to say. However, as a result of Google’s
actions, they will not find material published by the World Socialist
Web Site.

But what about those directly looking for socialist politics? In May,
the search term "socialism" generated 31,696 impressions, and the WSWS
was ranked between 5th and 6th in search results. In June, the WSWS was
removed from the top 100 search results for the term. Thus searches for
"socialism" produced zero impressions for the World Socialist Web Site,
the most widely read online socialist publication.

What about those who are already committed socialists, and want to find
out more about Leon Trotsky? Here, too, the WSWS, published by the
Trotskyist movement, is being blocked. While a query for "Leon Trotsky"
resulted in 5,893 impressions in May, that number fell to zero in July.

When the WSWS contacted Robert Epstein with our findings, the noted
psychologist and Google critic concluded, "I have little doubt that
Google demoted you." Epstein said research that he and his colleagues
conducted showed "the evidence is rock solid" that "Google is
manipulating people through search suggestions."

The policy guiding these actions is made absolutely clear in the April
25, 2017 blog post by Google’s Vice President for Engineering, Ben
Gomes, and the updated "Search Quality Rater Guidelines" published at
the same time. The post refers to the need to flag and demote
"unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories"—broad and
amorphous language used to exclude any oppositional content.

The rater guidelines are even more explicit. The unnamed "evaluators"
are instructed to flag as the "lowest" rating sites that have "factually
inaccurate information to manipulate users in order to benefit a person,
business, government, or other organization politically, monetarily, or
otherwise." The "lowest" rating is also to be given to a website that
"presents unsubstantiated conspiracy theories or hoaxes as if the
information were factual."

It is impossible to formulate a more explicit policy of suppression of
free speech. These guidelines are written in a way to allow Google to
demote or block a massive array of websites that are critical of the
government and expose its lies.

Who precisely is to determine what is "factually inaccurate information"
or what constitutes an "unsubstantiated conspiracy theory"? It in effect
bars all expression of opinions, other than those that are acceptable to
Google and its allies in the state, particularly the Democratic Party.
There is not a publication or journal worth reading that would not fall
afoul of these "guidelines."

Adding to the cynicism of the new procedures is the fact that numerous
sources have documented Google’s active involvement in supporting
political candidates, specifically Hillary Clinton, by manipulating
search results. In his recently published book, Move Fast and Break
Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon cornered culture and undermined
democracy, Jonathan Taplin documents the role of Eric Schmidt, the CEO
of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in founding a firm called The
Groundwork to directly assist the Clinton campaign.

Moreover, earlier this year, the European Commission exposed Google’s
widespread, deliberate, and criminal manipulation of its search results
to promote its own comparison shopping service to the detriment of its
competitors. The company was fined $2.7 billion.

In the name of combating "fake news," Google is providing fake searches.
It has been transformed from a search engine into an instrument of

The WSWS will continue to expose Google’s unconstitutional attack on
democratic rights. We demand that Google give a full accounting of its
procedures, and that it identify who has been given the power to
"evaluate" websites. All of Google’s algorithms must be placed in the
public domain.

Ultimately, the actions of Google provide yet another demonstration of
the need to take the dissemination of information out of private
control. Powerful search engines cannot be run by monopolies controlled
by billionaire oligarchs. They must be placed under democratic control
by the working population of the world.

There is no question that Google’s action has blocked tens of thousands
of people that normally would have found the WSWS from accessing the
site. This is the aim. However, a very substantial portion of WSWS
readers access the site directly, via social media, or through other
search engines, which at least up to this point have not implemented
rules that go as far as Google.

The WSWS has a loyal and large base of readers and continues to record
hundreds of thousands of individual visits a month. We will oppose
Google’s political censorship, but we need your support.

We are calling on our readers to become actively involved, to fight for
the WSWS. Assist the distribution of WSWS articles. Post our content on
social media. Email our articles to your friends and co-workers. Make
Google’s actions as widely known as possible.

Send us your email address so that you can receive daily updates of
material from the WSWS. Leave a statement of opposition to the actions
of Google. Finally, we are fighting one of the most powerful
corporations, with the closest links to the government and vast
resources. We need financial support to continue and expand our
counteroffensive against censorship and the suppression of free speech.

(5) Alternative News sites suffer decline of traffic generated by Google searches

Google’s new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading
socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites

Andre Damon and David North

2 August 2017

New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance
of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts,
proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war
and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by
a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google searches.

The drop followed the implementation of changes in Google’s search
evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the
company’s vice president for engineering, stated that Google’s update of
its search engine would block access to "offensive" sites, while working
to surface more "authoritative content."

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush
estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13
sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:

* fell by 67 percent * fell by 63 percent * fell by 62 percent * fell by 47
percent * fell by 47 percent * fell
by 42 percent * fell by 37 percent * fell by 36 percent * fell by
36 percent * fell by 30 percent * fell by 25
percent * fell by 21 percent * fell by
19 percent ...

(6) Facebook to counter fake news; imposes review by Fact Checking sites

AUG 03, 5:18 PM EDT

Fake News Sites: Facebook Rolls Out Related Links To Combat Problem


Facebook announced it is broadly rolling out its Related Articles
feature on the News Feed to counter fake news. Related Articles will now
appear underneath news links that are getting a lot of attention, or are
suspected of providing false news.

"We will start using updated machine learning to detect more potential
hoaxes to send to third-party fact checkers. If an article has been
reviewed by fact checkers, we may show the fact checking stories below
the original post," Facebook News Feed product manager Sara Su said.

"In addition to seeing which stories are disputed by third-party fact
checkers, people want more context to make informed decisions about what
they read and share. We will continue testing updates to Related
Articles and other ongoing News Feed efforts to show less false news on
Facebook and provide people context if they see false news," Su said.

Moving forward, Facebook plans to improve its machine learning
algorithms that identify potential false news by also taking to account
user comments and reports. These stories will then be sent to fact
checkers, according to Engadget.

Facebook’s strategy here is more on providing users with different
angles on news stories. It could drastically change how people read and
share news stories on Facebook. If a suspicious or outright fake news
article is accompanied by Related Articles, even before they’ve clicked
on them, it would discourage people from spreading false information.

Facebook’s Related Articles strategy could also help people to stay
informed without worrying that they’re reading false news. Related
Articles would be able to provide them with differing views, making the
spread of news a little more balanced on the social network.

Most importantly, Related Articles on the News Feed would provide users
with more context on the topic of a news that they’re reading. This
should help users make up their minds about a topic.

Related Articles was actually first made available on Facebook way back
in 2014. At the time, it was more on providing users more information
after they’ve clicked on a news story, rather than combating fake news.
Facebook actually began testing this new version of Related Articles
with machine learning technology and fact checking back in April 2017.

This version of Related Articles is now rolling out in the U.S.,
Germany, France and the Netherlands, according to TechCrunch. These
countries will be getting it first because Facebook has already
established fact checking partnerships in those regions.

"We don’t want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth. The fact
checkers can give the signal of whether a story is true or false,"
Facebook News Feed integrity product manager Tessa Lyons said.

READ: Facebook Reportedly Working On A Video Chat Device With
Touchscreen Display?

Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news began shortly after the 2016 U.S.
Presidential Election. It prompted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to start
improving how information is shared on the News Feed.

"Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful,
and people want accurate news," Zuckerberg said back in November. "We
have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and
fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and
we will continue to work on this to improve further."

In addition to Related Artices, Facebook has also implemented various
changes to improve the News Feed over the last few month. These includes
tagging disputed articles, reducing clickbait headlines and, most
recently, showing fewer links that slowly opens websites.

(7) Facebook establishes new censorship centre in Germany

By Christoph Vandreier

11 August 2017

Facebook announced Wednesday that it would open a new control centre in
Essen with 500 employees. The number of workers responsible for
censoring and checking content in Germany will almost double as a
result. The company has thus far only one such centre in Berlin.

Facebook has gone to great lengths to cover up the work of the control
centres. While the training documents and internal guidelines for the
workers have been kept strictly secret, the company organised a tour of
the Berlin centre for selected media outlets a month ago.

The public broadcaster WDR, Die Zeit and Spiegel Online were permitted
to look at locked screens and ask questions of workers specially primed
for the occasion in the offices of Arvato, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann,
which carries out the deletions for Facebook. All three media outlets
focused their subsequent reports on the difficult working conditions of
the employees and presented them as being responsible merely for
deleting videos of brutal beheadings and child pornography.

In fact, millions of Internet users are being systematically censored in
the hermetically sealed-off offices. Reports about the deletion of
critical posts and the blocking of left-wing and progressive authors
have risen rapidly in recent months.

Last December, for example, a post by the satirist Leo Fischer was
deleted. Fischer placed the xenophobic headline of the right-wing Bild
newspaper, "The great debate about refugees’ perceptions of women,"
alongside the same newspaper’s regular pictures of women in bikinis and
took a picture of it. It was not only attacked by numerous right-wing
extremists, but also deleted by Facebook, because the post allegedly
breached the community’s regulations.

With the same justification, Facebook blocked Austrian author Stephanie
Sargnagel for 30 days. Her profile had been flagged by numerous
right-wing and far-right users in a concerted campaign. Sargnagel had
posted satirical comments against xenophobia and racism, and therefore
ended up in the crosshairs of the far right and the Internet company.

Berlin-based blogger Jörg Kantel also reported that some of his posts
were deleted. After the Bild seized on the violence surrounding the G-20
summit in Hamburg to publish unpixelated pictures of alleged rioters
from Hamburg, Kantel wrote, among other comments, "Germany, a land of
denunciators and surveillance. At least since 1933!" According to the
blogger, Facebook deleted the post.

The list of censored authors could be extended at will. In addition,
there are those who go unnoticed because they lack the prominence of the
individuals involved in the cases discussed. The Guardian revealed on
May 21 that Facebook was carrying out this work systematically. The
newspaper obtained 100 training documents for the workers at the control
centres and came to the conclusion that they were alarming for advocates
of free speech.

While posts advocating extreme violence and brutal murder or containing
insults were deemed unproblematic, the employees were ordered to
immediately delete posts like "Someone shoot Trump," because as a head
of government, Trump was part of a "protected category." Freedom of
speech therefore only applies at Facebook so long as the government,
which is considered worthy of protection, is not attacked.

This is an obvious violation of freedom of speech, which above all
protects the population’s right to criticise the government.

The close connections between the government and the major corporation’s
censorship apparatus is especially clear in Germany. Even though on July
1 only 1.5 percent of Facebook users came from Germany, 16 percent of
Facebook’s 7,500 censors will work in Germany by the end of the year
when the new facility is up and running. At the end of June, the federal
parliament passed the so-called Network Enforcement Law, which compels
companies like Facebook to fulfill the responsibilities of a censor.
Without any judicial ruling, the company must delete "obviously unlawful
content" within 24 hours or face a fine of up to €50 million [$US 59
million]. The major companies are left to determine what "obviously
unlawful" is.

The censoring of the Internet by the government and corporations is by
no means restricted to Facebook. Google, the search engine monopoly, has
disappeared entire websites from its search results, making them
inaccessible to millions of readers.

This operation was also implemented in close consultation with German
government circles. On April 25, Google’s chief engineer of search, Ben
Gomes, announced that Google would downgrade "low-quality" information
such as "conspiracy theories" and "fake news."

Just three weeks earlier, Gomes met with representatives of all German
state governments to discuss the functionality of search engines.

Google’s censorship measures resulted in numerous anti-war websites and
left-wing publications being massively downgraded. The World Socialist
Web Site was targeted in particular, with its search traffic from Google
declining by 67 percent.

The resort to such aggressive censorship by the government and major
corporations can only be explained by mounting social conflicts.
Policies of militarism and social attacks are being met with opposition
from the vast majority of the working population. War and capitalism are
incompatible with basic democratic rights.

This is why all of the parties represented in the German parliament are
calling in their election programmes for the strengthening of the state
apparatus and the censoring of the Internet. Concepts such as "fake
news" or "hate speech" serve in this context to justify state
repression. The lies of the major media outlets and agitation by all
parties against refugees, by contrast, are being spread without hindrance.

In its programme, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) describes "fake
news" as "a great danger for peaceful coexistence and for a free and
democratic society." Therefore, it calls for the "better training and
equipping of police authorities and judicial system in this area." The
SPD intends to retain the Network Enforcement Law and cut the "reaction
times" even more. "Anybody failing to abide by the provisions will be
punished with painful financial penalties."

The Left Party also calls for more police and for action to be taken
against "verbal attacks" online. "We want to protect the security of
citizens in public spaces with more personnel," their election programme
states. "On social networks, as in public spaces in general, protection
against verbal attacks, hate speech and character assassination must be

It is no coincidence that this choice of words recalls the campaign of
leading media outlets against the World Socialist Web Site and the
International Youth and Students for Social Equality. Because they
criticised right-wing extremist statements, which were subsequently
confirmed as such by a court, from Humboldt University Professor Jörg
Baberowski, accusations of "bullying" and "character assassination" were
directed against them.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung complained shortly prior to Gomes’
visit to Berlin about "how impactful the Trotskyist splinter group is,"
and demanded the WSWS be censored—a demand that Google has since fulfilled.

Peter Myers