Skip to comments.Are Conservatives Prepared to be Censored?
Posted on 09/19/2017 10:36:53 AM PDT by joma89
What images should appear when you Google white couple? Probably two people of European descent. If you search those words today, though, youll find almost exclusively black couples. The results are similarly skewed for white man & white woman and white couple with children. Try it. Strange, a bit annoying, and vaguely political just imagine the reaction if a query for black couple turned up only whites. I suspect that wouldnt fly at Google.
What results would you expect when Googling American inventors? Likely a mix of great innovators from our past and present, from a variety of backgrounds. Instead, Google tells us theyre almost all black. No Benjamin Franklin, no Samuel Morse, no Bill Gates. Without disrespecting Dr. Patricia Bath and her cataracts-surgery machine, the telegraph and personal computer merit a higher placement.
Somebody at Google is skewing the queries, in this case a form of digital affirmative action: conceivably another point scored in an endless matchup against white supremacy, whose presence at all turns is the greatest of progressive obsessions. The implication is that anything related to whiteness even the telegraph shouldnt be searched for at all, and takes up space from the accomplishments of marginalized people. In both of the above examples, we receive a political indoctrination in lieu of sought after information. In the second one, we actually learn an altered version of history.
Any confusion about the leftward tilt of Silicon-Valley tech companies would have been put to rest after the sacking of dissenting Google engineer James Damore, or the defenestration of Mozillas CEO years before him, or the de-monetization of conservative YouTubers , or Mark Zuckerbergs robotic flirtation with progressive politics. The employees at Google, Facebook, and Twitter are adherents of the same scornful progressivism as those at CNN, ESPN and VICE so we shouldnt underestimate their willingness to bake in their biases to our search queries, and justify their efforts in doing so. A stupid racial joke on Google Images is obvious (and meant to be), but it could become much more difficult to detect or prove.
Lets say Google subverted the organic results for Obamas Foreign Policy: you could receive results that bury Obamas red lines in Syria, a history in which we never ceded power to Russia and Iran. How is Trump doing on the economy could give you economic indicators designed to dissatisfy. A Reasons Hillary lost query could route you to the infinite think pieces declaring all 63 million Trump voters bigots, or better yet, to visceral stories of hate crimes occurring during and after his election. Educated people would work around this bias, as we already do across media channels. But novice information seekers and those of the next generations are far more vulnerable.
Kashmir Hill, a journalist for Gizmodo, recounts exactly such a process of censorship when she dared to publish a piece criticizing Google itself. First, her then-employer Forbes faced pressure from the search engine to take down the offending article, with vague threats to starve them of web traffic if they didnt comply. The cached version was soon scrubbed from Google search results, a fact Hill found disturbing, unusual, an almost dystopian abuse of the companys power: websites captured by Googles crawler did not tend to vanish that quickly. The offending material was disappeared. Cases of influencing searches both subtle and flagrant. Purging dissenters from inside its ranks. Whos to say Google wouldnt go further to disfavor views it doesnt like?
George Orwell warned us in 1984 of a society in a constant state of re-creating history to dominate its citizens: He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. With every search query, we hand over power, often unconsciously, to shape our thoughts. Each becomes an opportunity for indoctrination. In a world where every platform for progressive thought-making is exploited from the kindergarten classroom to the pages of Teen Vogue its a natural development that left-leaning tech companies too will shape us in their own image.
The bias would infiltrate other tech platforms, where some opinions are clearly more equal than others. On Facebook, a crackdown on fake news is unlikely to treat right-wing bogus with the same equanimity as liberal myth-making around Russian electoral interference.
On Twitter, conservative users already complain of a blue-checkmark bias: the platform awards reputability to any liberal hack with a smartphone but not James OKeefe of Project Veritas (330K followers). Voices are stifled altogether with total bans, most famously alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulus. His supporters unloaded a racist tirade on black actress Leslie Jones, but is that really worse than the Womens March glorifying a cop-killer to its five hundred thousand followers? Twitter can choose to be a cesspool or not, but to clean up one side only is an odious double standard.
Wikipedia, a key source of information for novices and experts alike, could selectively edit pages without anyone knowing. Web platforms could refuse to host opinions they dislike, as happened to the Neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer after the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. With the distinction between Nazi and Republican being blurred by so many in public life, its easy to imagine mainstream conservative groups being similarly no-platformed. First they came for the actual Neo-Nazis, and then they learned there really werent that many of those
Fine, say many conservatives, arms crossed. Well start our own search engines. Well have our own social networks. But the impulse for us to huddle together feeds a growing alienation from the mainstream everything we see and hear. Its an alienation that makes people doubt the existence of objective information, and by extension objective truths: every fact were offered, every voice were allowed to hear, comes from one side, so what could be true of what were told? The disaffection finds its human incarnation in the factless Right Wing reactionary: your aunt the birther, your neighbor the Pizza Gate crackpot. It has hollowed out the modern conservative intellectual movement.
The topography of our politics is as influenced by the course of time as our physical world is, and movements that sustain themselves bring in new adherents as others fall away. If we seek to continue living as we do to conserve what is good we must be able to reach both thinkers coming of age and converts to our worldview. Access to neutral facts and dissenting voices, to a private manner of constructing thought, is a lifeline in a world saturated with messages from the other side. Fundamentally, information forms ideas, and if certain ideas are not allowed what Orwell called thoughtcrime the information that leads to them will be stamped out.
Conservative thought is not facing a fatal environment on the free Internet yet. But the intensity and urgency of attacks are no doubt rising on those who express dissent from the progressive sacred truths: that to uplift marginalized people we must obliterate all vestiges of historical power; that every aspect of our society has been irredeemably tainted by oppression.
In the coming years, we will see the erosion of objectivity where we do our thinking, which is mostly over the Internet. It will come from the inside of our tech companies as social engineering is codified, dissenters are purged, and everybody else joins up or shuts up and it will come from the outside, with Twitter mobs, viral petitions, and a blizzard of media hits.
Republicans technically hold political power, but the ascendant movement in America is an increasingly puritanical progressivism. It threatens the safety of conservatives expressing mainstream opinions. That the fervor is spreading through the halls of our greatest tech companies to the minds that control our minds is a dire signal for all free thinkers.
Google plays strange games of race politics. Conservative voices are shut out or shut down. Our access to objective information becomes imperiled. Are conservatives prepared to be censored?
Broadest search, best results.
The risk and consequences will need to be more severe before there is reform.
“Are conservatives prepared to be censored?”
A more important question: Are conservative prepared to submit to being censored? If there is no submission, there is no censorship.
American Inventors googled!
See what happens
Are liberals prepared to be shot?..................
Google are evil. Increasingly so by the day.
I used to love the way search engines worked. You could look for an exact phrase or just some of the words, or ignore sites that had a certain word. I found out you can still do that with google, but it was hard to find out how.
I just tried it. First I searched on “white couple”. I then searched on “white couple -black” and got much “whiter” results.
I remember a friend sold a car on Craigslist about 10 years ago and at the bottom of his ad for his Mustang he said, “not Honda, Toyota, Mercedes...” so that searches for pretty much any brand would find his car.
They included Clockmed.
This goes beyond Google. You get pretty much the same result on all search engines.
Want to be truly impressed? Google search the phrase “advice for white girls”..
One is a pathology. The others are great. Any guess which one?
Yep duck duck go...search American Inventors...literally all black photos. White couple a bit less than google
Pssst. the same crappy results come up when searching with DuckDuckGo.com.
Google is lousy and so is the “alternative”.
“Somebody at Google is skewing the queries”
Such accusations have been leveled at Google almost as long as it has been around. Every time, it’s shown that the results are just a matter of who’s searching and who’s choosing which result.
In this case, I suspect that “white couple” is probably being searched largely by people who both tend to view content dominated by blacks, and when presented with a range of options for that search tend to pick the blacks. (Consider: if you do the experiment yourself, you’re probably going to search for “white couple” and then click on a black couple - reinforcing the automated results.) In contrast, people who supposedly would tend to select the white results, well, I actually suspect they won’t be searching for the racist term “white couple” at all.
Remember, there’s a whole lotta people out there who don’t think like you. What Google tends to show for results tends to reflect what THEY are searching for & selecting.
Been happening for a long time. Poor question.
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