Music icon Cher, who is a very vocal critic of Donald Trump, took to Twitter to rail against both Facebook and Google, claiming she will no longer be using their services.
Cher declared in her typical all-caps fashion that Google and Facebook “might as well be conspiring with Russia.” She even insinuated the companies, which are both based in the United States of America, are attempting to destroy American democracy!
WONT USE GOOGLE,GETTING RID OF FACEBOOK ACCOUNT I DIDNT KNOW I HAD.WOULD GET RID OF TWITTER IF IT WASN’T 4 ❤️ OF YOU.THESE COMPANIES HAVE NO ALLEGIANCE TO,OR ❤️OF ANYTHING BUT MONEY💰💰. THEY MIGHT AS WELL BE CONSPIRING WITH RUSSIA TO DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY.
— Cher (@cher) December 18, 2018
Google and Facebook have come under heavy scrutiny by the American public as well as congressional lawmakers. Just recently, Google was accused of attempting to manipulate search results in order to bury conservative publications like Breitbart and The Daily Caller.
Google Targets Breitbart and The Daily Caller
Documents uncovered by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveal that Google engineer Scott Byer attempted to ensure that websites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller would not show up in search results next to what he described as “legitimate news organizations.”
“How many times did you see the Election now card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed,” Byer wrote.
He added, “I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources – because not doing so hides real information under loud noises.”
“Beyond that, let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years – demographics will be on our side.”
Another Google engineer Uri Dekel responded to Byer’s call to censor conservative leaning news publications, “Thinking that Breitbart, Drudge, etc. are not ‘legitimate news sources’ is contrary to the beliefs of a major portion of our user base is partially what got us to this mess. MSNBC is not more legit than Drudge just because Rachel Maddow may be more educated / less deplorable / closer to our views, than, say Sean Hannity.”
“I follow a lot of right wing folks on social networks you could tell something was brewing. We laughed off Drudge’s Instant Polls and all that stuff, but in the end, people go to those sources because they believe that the media doesn’t do it’s job. I’m a Hillary supporter and let’s admit it, the media avoided dealing with the hard questions and issues, which didn’t pay off. By ranking ‘legitimacy’ you’ll just introduce more conspiracy theories.”
Byer was un-phased, responding, “Too many times, Breitbart is just echoing a demonstrably made up story.” He did not cite any examples.
Google’s Fact Check Feature Targets Conservatives
Google would then employ a fact check feature, but after an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation was found to be specifically targeting conservative outlets and was even attributing false claims to conservative outlets.
This isn’t the only time that Google has been caught trying to manipulate their search results. Following President Trump’s announcement of the travel ban in 2017, Google employees were caught discussing ways to counter the President’s order. They specifically discussed ways to to counter, “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc,” They also looked at “prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino’, etc.”
Google Bemoans the 2016 Election
A leaked video also revealed Google employees discussing the results of the 2016 election, which saw President Donald Trump elected to the presidency.
Google Pushes Censorship Policy
Google has also been accused by conservative website Western Journal of removing them from the news search tool ahead of the 2018 elections, which resulted in a significant decline in traffic.
An internal briefing from Google called “The Good Censor” admits that Google and other major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have taken a “shift towards censorship” citing recent current events as the cause. The briefing declares that free speech is a “utopian narrative.”
The document maintains that free speech is being crushed because of bad behavior like “hate speech,” “reprisals and intimidation,” “trolling,” “cyber harassment,” “cyber racism,” and “venting.” The document goes on to quote Jason Pontin who believes “human beings en masse don’t behave very well. They particularly don’t behave very well if there aren’t clear rules and especially if speech is unaccountable, consequence-free, and in many cases anonymous. What happened on these networks is that, in the absence of rules and consequences, everyone has behaved maximally badly.”
Not only is Google using their mighty algorithm to censor conservative opinions, but recent leaked documents indicate Google is targeting the ad revenue of Breitbart. The documents reveal that Google executives wanted to remove Breitbart from their ad services due to “hate speech” and “fake news.”
One Google employee Richard Zippel wrote in an email to fellow Google employee David Richter:
“Hate is really difficult since writers have become very artful in demeaning other groups without being explicit about it. That said, do review breitbart pages against our hate policies and have stopped showing ads on policy violating pages we’ve found. We’re working to improve our ability to do this at scale. When sufficient violations have been found we’ll take action at the site level.”
The emails also show that Jim Gray, Google’s Director of Monetization, and his team had been monitoring Breitbart News on a weekly basis. Google’s legal team as well as their head of technical support for Google’s ad buying software were also involved in targeting Breitbart News.
Facebook’s History of Censorship
Not to be outdone by Google, Facebook has its own history of censorship. Back in 2016, a groundbreaking report from Gizmodo revealed that Facebook’s trending news feature routinely censored conservatives.
The report detailed allegations from a former journalist who worked with Facebook on their trending news feature and who accused the social media behemoth of preventing stories about CPAC, Mitt Romeny, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing on the trending feature, despite the fact they were actually trending organically on Facebook.
Facebook Targets Prager University
Facebook targeted Denis Prager and his Prager University Facebook page which has over three million followers. Facebook reduced the reach of his videos and even deleted two videos because of “hate speech.”
Prager University is known for creating short educational videos on a number of topics from a conservative perspective.
BREAKING: We’re being heavily censored on @Facebook.
Our last 9 posts are reaching 0 of our 3 million followers. At least two videos were deleted last night for “hate speech” including our recent video with @conservmillen.
SHARE to spread awareness about big tech censorship! pic.twitter.com/k83HqmlMRc
— PragerU (@prageru) August 17, 2018
Facebook would eventually apologize.
We mistakenly removed these videos and have restored them because they don’t break our standards. This will reverse any reduction in content distribution you’ve experienced. We’re very sorry and are continuing to look into what happened with your Page.
— Facebook (@facebook) August 18, 2018
However, Prager University revealed Facebook put the blame on a single employee.
UPDATE: Facebook has confirmed to us that an employee on the content review team was responsible for making the decision to remove two of our posts as “hate speech” and that this employee is still employed by FB.
— PragerU (@prageru) August 29, 2018
Facebook and Google Take Down Alex Jones
Most recently a number social media giants including Facebook, Google, Apple, and others targeted firebrand conservative pundit Alex Jones and his website InfoWars. Apple declared that Jones was removed from their platform due to “hate speech.” YouTube, which is owned by Google, would also eliminate Alex Jones’ channel citing “hate speech.” Facebook would also take down Alex Jones’ page due to “hate speech.”
Cher is On To Something
Cher might actually be on to something. While she is incorrect in asserting that the United States of America is a democracy (it is a republic), Google and Facebook appear to be going against some of the core principles of the Bill of Rights and, dare I say, what fueled their own success in the first place.
While the First Amendment applies to the government of the United States, those principles allowed Facebook and Google to become the giant behemoths they are today. They allowed information to flow freely and trusted in people who were taking in that information to make the right decisions. Now, Facebook and Google appear to believe themselves to be the arbiters of what is right and wrong. They no longer trust their user base to make the right decision.
In fact, one only has to look at Apple’s Tim Cook and his very scary speech on the type of dictatorial thinking that seems to be plaguing many of these giant tech companies.
While accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s “Courage Against Hate” award, Cook judged himself a god and the arbiter of morality, “I believe the most sacred thing that each of us is given is our judgment, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside in a moment of trial is a sin.”
Do you think there is something dark brewing in Silicon Valley? Do you trust these social media giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple? Do you think government action should be taken against them?