WARSAW (Reuters) - The world needs to be wary of the rise of tech giants
such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, comparing their powers to
those of countries such as China, European Council President Donald Tusk
said in Warsaw on Friday.
“In the East, we see the rise of those capable of controlling everyone’s
behavior, and in the West we’ve seen the rise of an uncontrolled,
spontaneous empire,” Tusk said in Warsaw in reference to the companies
during a speech marking Constitution Day.
“Our children are dependent on the internet and everyday will become more
dependent on it,” he added.
The European Union has been in the forefront of efforts to tighten
control on how social media companies handle the personal data of
consumers, with rules introduced last May giving regulators the power to
impose fines of up to 4 percent of global revenue for violations.
The banning of multiple political commentators from Facebook and
Instagram, including conservatives Paul Joseph Watson and Laura
Loomer, is an outrage against the ideals of an open Internet on its
own. But beyond the bans on individuals, Facebook has deployed an even
more terrifying tool of censorship — link-banning.
The mainstream media were, of course, tipped off about the bans in
advance, and the Atlantic’s report contains the
following eye-opening detail. Not only has Alex Jones’ personal
account now been banned from Facebook, in addition to PrisonPlanet
editor-in-chief and YouTube star Paul Joseph Watson, but all links to
Infowars sites are now banned across the platform. Share Infowars too
often, and you’ll be banned too.
Via The Atlantic:
Infowars is subject to the strictest ban. Facebook and
Instagram will remove any content containing Infowars videos,
radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly
condemning the content), and Facebook will also remove any groups
set up to share Infowars content and events promoting any of the
banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson.
(Twitter, YouTube, and Apple have also banned Jones and Infowars.)
This takes censorship on social media to altogether new levels. If
you post Infowars content on Facebook or Facebook-owned Instagram,
your post will be removed. If you post it repeatedly, you will be
Note the wording, too — you’ll be banned unless you’re
condemning Infowars. Facebook is now brazenly using its
power to reward certain political positions and punish others.
This isn’t censorship of an individual or a group over a violation of
terms of service. It’s the wholesale ban of an independent media site,
which for all the criticism levied against it, has had a major impact
on the politics of the United States.
And Facebook has made no pretense, as it has in other cases where the
pages of news sites have been banned, that the ban occurred because of
alleged “inauthentic behavior,” by which it means the use of multiple
pages or automated accounts to promote a site’s content.
That Facebook is dispensing with its previous excuses shows that the
social network has become emboldened to regulate the flow of news on
its platform, knowing that no consequences are headed its way from
Republicans on Capitol Hill or in the White House.
Through algorithm changes and the prioritization of so-called
“authoritative sources,” Facebook has spent the last two years
positioning itself to control the news you see on your feed. Now it’s
taken control of the news you share with your friends too. Post a link
to a disapproved website? It’ll be deleted. Post it again? You’ll
likely be banned.
This is a formula not just for banning websites, commentators, and
political figures, but for banning all their supporters as well.
And because their bans nearly exclusively target the right,
potentially thousands of Republicans and Trump supporters won’t be
able to use Facebook to encourage their friends to vote on election
day 2020 — a massive advantage for the Democrats on one of the
internet’s most politically influential platforms.
President Donald Trump may have cooled on sources like Infowars
(unlike his campaign days, when he appeared on Alex Jones’ show). But
this isn’t just an attack on particular individuals or sources.
Whatever your criticisms of Infowars — and there are many — this is an
attack on the independent media as a whole. It’s an unprecedented
tilting of the scales in favor of Democrat-approved media, and it will
have an enormous impact on the 2020 election.
That’s the point of course. Since Trump won in 2016, Silicon Valley
has been animated by a single mission — ensure it never happens again.
Beyond the leaks showing that Facebook is deliberately
deboosting conservative figures (when it isn’t outright banning
them), that YouTube
are pushing conservative content out of their top search results, just
look at the video-recorded weeping
of Google executives on stage after Trump won. They hate him,
they hate his supporters, and they will do everything they can to
suppress them before election day. The only question is, what’s Trump
going to do about it?
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at
Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter, Gab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and
suggestions to email@example.com.
on the conservative internet has reached a new low.
the journalism institute responsible for training writers and reporters,
decided to promote a left-wing smear of conservative groups online. The
result was a hit job written by someone who works for the
anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center for a journalism
organization funded by prominent liberal billionaires such as George
Soros and Pierre Omidyar.
Poynter, which has started the International Fact-Checking Network,
shared the new report and dataset called “UnNews,”
declaring at least 29 right-leaning news outlets and organizations to be
“unreliable news websites.”
Report author and SPLC producer Barrett
Golding combined five major lists of websites marked “unreliable.”
That result, which consisted of 515 names, included many prominent
conservative sites — Breitbart, CNSNews.com, Daily Signal, Daily
Wire, Drudge Report, Free Beacon, Judicial Watch, LifeNews,
LifeSiteNews, LifeZette, LiveAction News, the Media Research Center, PJ
Media, Project Veritas, Red State, The Blaze, Twitchy, and the Washington
These sites stood next to conservative organizations like Alliance
Defending Freedom, which represented baker Jack Phillips in the Supreme
Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
While the ADF is not a news site, it was likely targeted because Golding
works for the SPLC. The ADF is considered a “hate group” by the SPLC and
is marked on the “hate map.” The
Washington Post even questioned SPLC’s “political activism”
SPLC has been dropped by Twitter from its Trust and Safety Council and
slammed by the mainstream media after multiple scandals rocked the
organization. Its hate
map even helped shooter Floyd Lee Corkins find the location of the
Family Research Council, where he shot and wounded five people.
is funded by Open Society Foundations, liberal billionaire George Soros’
massive foundations, as well as the Omidyar Network. The two combined
for “$1.3 million in grant funding.” Funds were sent to Poynter
specifically to establish the International Fact-Checking Network. The
‘UnNews’ list was started to help fact-checking organizations determine
what was “unreliable.”
That anti-conservative mindset was apparent throughout the incoherent
and inconsistent report. Conservative organizations were included
throughout but liberal groups rarely were. The National Review and
Heritage were removed from the list but Heritage’s Daily Signal was on
it. That combined to create a shameless double-standard. It specifically
targeted conservative media watchdog groups and didn’t include liberal
The goal of the report is clear. Poynter is recommending that
advertisers “who want to stop funding misinformation” should use its
list. It stated that while marketers can create their own “blacklists,”
those lists might be incomplete. Golding wrote that, “Advertisers
don’t want to support publishers that might tar their brand with hate
speech, falsehoods or some kinds of political messaging.”
Poynter has a longstanding history as an anchor in the journalism
business. Its board of trustees includes execs from The New
York Times, ESPN, Harvard, Vox, CBS, ABC, and The Washington
Post. Poynter is currently working with Facebook and Google for
its fact-checking programs.
The announcement mentioned that some sites, while initially on the
list, were taken off, including the far left conspiracy site Alternet.
Alternet has been rated by Media Bias Fact Check as being biased,
especially since it refers to the GOP periodically as “craven.” Several
other liberal sites were excluded from this list, such as ThinkProgress
and Splinter, which doxxed Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.
The report marked sites as “unreliable,” “biased,” “clickbait,” or
“fake.” Breitbart, Alliance Defending Freedom, CNSNews.com, Project
Veritas, and the Washington Examiner were all marked “unreliable.”
Unreliable was defined as “websites that have posted deceptive content,”
“sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and
other forms of discrimination,” “sites that contain some fake news,” and
“sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further
The Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal, Ben Shapiro’s The Daily
Wire, Drudge Report, Free Beacon, Judicial Watch, LiveAction, MRC, and
PJ Media were tagged as “biased.” The tag was explained as “sources that
come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda,
decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.”
LifeNews, LifeSiteNews, LifeZette, RedState, The Blaze, and Twitchy
were marked as “clickbait.” This tag was defined as “sources that
provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or
questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.”
The list clearly reflects the biases of the liberal organizations that
compiled its component parts. Poynter listed the organizations that
contributed to the dataset in an attached document. These included
FactCheck.org, Fake News Codex, MetaCert Protocol, OpenSources,
Politifact, Snopes, and the disgraced SPLC.
Ultimately, the list and the agenda showed how far Poynter has fallen
from its role as “the world’s most influential school for journalists”
to a far-left censor of conservatives online. You can call a Chevy Nova
a Ferrari but it’s still a Chevy Nova.
Institute, a journalism nonprofit organization, has completely disabled
a list of what they labeled as an extensive list of “unreliable”
news websites on Thursday night after facing scrutiny in the days since
A litany of conservative publications, including The Washington Free
Beacon and The Washington Examiner, were lumped into the list of
“unreliable” publications and it received nearly instantaneous
condemnation from them.
“Soon after we published, we received complaints from those on the list
and readers who objected to the inclusion of certain sites, and the
exclusion of others. We began an audit to test the accuracy and veracity
of the list, and while we feel that many of the sites did have a track
record of publishing unreliable information, our review found weaknesses
in the methodology,” Poynter’s managing editor Barbara Allen said in a
statement on their website. “We detected inconsistencies between
the findings of the original databases that were the sources for the
list and our own rendering of the final report.”
She went on, “We are removing this unreliable sites list until we are
able to provide our audience a more consistent and rigorous set of
Aside from the list of “unreliable” news outlets, the initial
publication included an accompanying article that called for advertisers
to use the list in an effort to “blacklist” these websites. That
language was deleted from the story and an update went along with it.
Baybars Orsek, the director of the International Fact-Checking Network,
told the Washington Examiner that they would be “evaluating all removal
requests on a case by case basis,” and adding that “the total number of
complaints is less than 2% of the whole database.”