From Social Media to Mainstream Media
By TruePublica: In January this year we wrote: The year 2018 has opened with an international campaign to censor the Internet. It should be of little wonder that this was going to happen. The writing was on the wall. All over the world, the tech giants are now giving in to the political demands of governments by cracking down on freedom of speech. The European Convention on Human Rights, like so many agreements in the US, UK are swept aside. There is a full scale attempt to muzzle social media and it’s working.
Last November we wrote: Behind the scenes, social media platforms are advanced on creating new algorithms that will increasingly hide dissenting sites from view for all but the most committed to finding them.
These are the first shots in a coming war for control of the internet. Don’t be fooled by arguments that fake news and trolls are to be found on social media. Of course, they are. That is the price one pays for democratic platforms. There will always be people who prefer abuse or mischief over rational discussion and good manners.
But the panic about fake news and trolling is not driven by a sudden concern about media deception and misinformation. That has always been with us. It is about who gets to decide what is real and fake, and who gets to be abusive. It is – and always has been – about power.
In March last year we wrote: Social media is under attack as well with so-called ‘fake news’ now classed as hate speech and jihadist propaganda being classed in the same context. What this does is allow the government to broaden the classification at will and to demonise any news item (such as exposing political corruption) the government simply does not agree with. In other words, legitimate opposition, dissent and criticism is being targeted and mixed with fake news and hate speech.
You can see that in March the social media giants were under attack by government. They put up no defence whatsoever and just six months later they were starting to show their obedience to government. For 2018, we predicted that obedience would be turned into outright allegiance. And it is already becoming fact.
The official description of censorship “is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or “inconvenient” as determined by government authorities or by community consensus.” Got that – as determined by government authorities.
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It is clear that the social media giants are now exerting control over the populace and are preventing free expression in all its forms. Of course reading or seeing content that might forment a public reaction against government, in today’s world, has to be stopped at all costs.
There are those attempting to arrest this new form of government suppression, but the the forces on the political right is where all the money is. As a member of the general public and an ordinary citizen your rights are being slowly withdrawn as has your right to privacy, which has now all but completely vaporised.
From wsws.org : “On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a notice outlining extraordinary plans by the social media company to monitor all the postings and messages of its users, censor independent journalism, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to report users to the police and intelligence agencies.
Zuckerberg points to the sweeping scope of the company’s artificial intelligence plans later: “Our goal with AI is to understand the meaning of all the content on Facebook.” Every single post, photo, video, message, comment, reaction and share will be fed into the company’s increasingly powerful computer systems to be analyzed for “harmful” content, and reported to the police and intelligence agencies as deemed necessary.
The real—and sinister—aim of Facebook’s actions is also made clear by the other initiatives that the company is taking. Most significantly, Zuckerberg stressed the company’s determination to make sure that “the information you see on Facebook comes from broadly trusted and high-quality sources, in order to counter misinformation and polarization.”
What are these “broadly trusted” sources? “For example, take the Wall Street Journal or New York Times,” wrote the multibillionaire CEO. “Even if you don’t read them or don’t agree with everything they write, most people have confidence that they’re high quality journalism. On the flip side, there are blogs that have intense followings but are not widely trusted beyond their core audience. We will show those publications somewhat less.”
In other words, corporate media sources will be promoted, while other publications, even those that “have intense followings,” will be demoted. As for being “shown somewhat less,” what Zuckerberg means is that they will be blocked from reaching a broader audience. More simply, they will be censored.
In addition to censoring news from alternative sources, Zuckerberg states at the beginning of his post that Facebook is working to “show fewer viral videos” because such content is not “good for people’s well-being and for society.”
The viral videos Zuckerberg is referring to include footage of police violence, social exposures like reporting on last year’s Grenfell Tower inferno that exposed social inequality in London, and documentation of the war crimes carried out by the US military. Any such content will be “demoted,” which Zuckerberg later notes “reduces an article’s traffic by 80 percent.”
The truth though, as we have said so many times before is that the tech giants are now part of the intelligence agencies who are in turn funded and operated by governments. Social media in particular has been truly explosive in the last few years and governments are now looking to do with them, exactly what they did with the mainstream media; they are to become the added instruments of propaganda and new tools of censorship.