Friday, September 1, 2017

In Defense of Google Censorship



I am seeing more and more bloggers, web site publishers and YouTubers calling out Google for censorship.

The most recent complaint that I have seen comes from the valuable Liberty Conservative in the form of a story tilted, Google Issues Ultimatum To The Liberty Conservative: Censor Your Content Or Lose All Ad Revenue!

Now there is truth to what Liberty Conservative is reporting, Google is threatening to pull the site's advertising rights, so I can understand why the website operators are upset.

But these kind of policy warnings are not new, I receive one perhaps every two years. The most recent one I recall is when I posted a picture of Ben Bernanke bare ass with only a flag wrapped around his naked body.

I took the photo down.
'
But what most websites are claiming is that Google is censoring only right wing/libertarian content. I am not sure that is the case.

What we are seeing is anecdotal evidence from the websites we are reading, I would really like to see a scholarly study done on who gets censored and why.

My guess is that what Google censors is extremely controversial material from the right or left and that it is driven primarily by business decisions---or more accurately what its algorithms think is controversial content.

Since both the right and the left are big on boycotts, there is just no way a marketing department of a major ad spender is going to want to be associated with such material. And so, Google does what makes sense from a business perspective and sets its algorithms in such a way to detect controversial material and notify the publisher to take it down.

I really see the problem being lefties who, for example, called for the boycott of advertisers who sponsored Bill O'Reilly and righties who call for the boycott of sponsors of, say, CNN.

These kinds of boycotts, which I think are horrific, make advertisers gun shy.  The point of advertising is to gain users not shrink them. If Google didn't come up with algorithms to detect controversial material they would lose advertisers---Big Time advertisers

Now, these algorithms aren't perfect. The algorithms will sometimes kick out material which is hard to understand why it was tagged, but that is the price that is paid for boycotts that harass advertisers. Personally, I think it is heroic for advertisers to sponsor controversial material. I know it doesn't mean the advertiser necessarily endorses the views expressed in the content but getting messages out is very important so we can understand how others think.

This is why I am against such advertiser boycotts.

Now, I may be wrong on this and Google may be advancing a lefty agenda but I doubt it. It is really difficult for me to think that  Google acts against its revenue flows.

There is, of course, a way this could be tested. The billionaire Koch brothers could approach Google and tell them that they are willing to put their Koch Industries ads, which they now put on Sunday morning elitist talks shows, on any web site or youtube that has been deemed too controversial by Google algorithms.

Koch Industries should make clear in their ads that they do not necessarily endorse the content but are funding all sorts of controversial content in the interest of getting debate out in the open. That would be heroic. Do the Koch brothers have the balls?

Perhaps,  they could throw some pocket change at this venture, say, $100 million.

But if the Koch brothers consider such a move too controversial and dangerous, can we really blame Google and its advertisers for being careful in an age when open debate is not appreciated?

-RW

1 comment:

  1. Well said...and anything which opens up free debate is essential to freedom and the triumph of truth and knowledge and understanding. These can only come to the surface via swimming through lies,false theory and false 'knowledge', testing them in the open,to destruction.

    ReplyDelete