Open Letter To Google

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

This subreddit thread, while being a complicated read, full of surprises and ins and outs, with caveat, qualifier and stipulations, demonstrates that Google appears to be actively removing “spirit cooking” conversation and censoring search results.  As I said, the issue is complicated and you can study this discussion thread yourself, and to be fair, the allegation is also directed at Reddit, not just Google.

Now, I’ve always had a good working relationship with Google, and I truly hope that continues.  I have always gotten good service from you, and I have made good use of your search engine.  But I see that Google has taken steps to censor news and views based on political proclivities.

Google plans to prohibit fake-news websites from using its ad-selling software, a move that could crimp revenue at those sites.

Google said Monday that it is updating its policies to ban Google ads being placed “on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose” of the website. The policy would include sites that distribute false news, a Google spokeswoman said.

[ … ]

Google has long prohibited AdSense from being used on sites that promote hate speech or include pornography and violent content. Its policies previously didn’t include language about sites that spread false content. A spokeswoman said the change to the policy was imminent, and that it follows existing Google policies that ban advertisements that misrepresent what they are marketing.

Oh dear.  This is a bad move for Google.  Listen to me, on the outside chance that there are any Google executives or high level managers who are reading this, this is a very, very bad move on your part.  This isn’t something you want to happen.  Don’t test these waters.  This is your Bermuda triangle.

As I was reading from one commenter at one subreddit, “We are now the new underground.”  You see, the cool kids already think you guys are a bunch of gray hairs, and telling them you’re going to get into bed with the establishment will be the last straw.  You will look back and regret getting into bed with the establishment by censoring sites.

This is how it’s going to work.  You won’t really get to make this decision – the consumers will.  They will tell you by their patronage whether they approve of your behavior.  I hadn’t said anything about it, but using your tool Google Analytics, I have been fairly closely watching sources of my traffic over the last year or two.

I am beginning to get a non-trivial amount of traffic from Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.  I haven’t changed.  My coverage and commentary hasn’t changed.  Google hasn’t changed much over the last year.  What has changed is that people are beginning to use other search engines, and Facebook stock is dropping like a rock.

You would do well to consider these things.  You don’t want the “cool kids” to think of you as another arm of the fedgov.  The cool kids run things around here.


Comments

  1. On November 15, 2016 at 8:03 am, Josh said:

    Respectfully, we’re WAY pass all that. Eric Schmidt (Google Chariman) is working with the Pentagon, Google itself was funded by the NSA and CIA (just like Facebook), and there has been a back-and-forth in personnel between Google and Obama’s administration for a while now outlined here: https://googletransparencyproject.org/articles/googles-revolving-door-us

    I think you’re presupposing that enough people give a shit to ever change their search engine or email host.

  2. On November 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm, Some Rabbit said:

    De-monetizing clickbait sites would be the least of Google’s problems. Too often otherwise legit conservative blogs have fallen for these fake/hoax stories about Hillary or Obama and as a result have been made to look stupid by the Left. Google needs to de-list these fake sites from their SERP, not just TOS them from Adsense. Legit humor sites declare their stories to be parodies.

  3. On November 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    “Too often otherwise legit conservative blogs have fallen for these fake/hoax stories about Hillary or Obama …”

    Examples please. Stipulation: The use of raw data released by Wikileaks (and analysis of said data) isn’t a valid example and doesn’t justify your alleged point. Of all information on earth released by the MSM, or analysis of data performed by the MSM, Wikileaks is the most accurate and truthful. In fact, they couldn’t be more accurate of truthful. They have been proven correct 100% of the time over a decade now. They have become literally the only trustworthy source of information there is.

  4. On November 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm, Some Rabbit said:

    Who the hell is talking about WikiLeaks (other than you)? I’m referring to fake (but vaguely plausible) stories planted by the Left in the hope that they can make a laughingstock out of any Conservative site that takes the bait.

  5. On November 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Examples?

  6. On November 18, 2016 at 11:56 am, Some Rabbit said:

    (exasperated sigh) Ok, here ya’ go Herschel…
    http://blurbrain.com/left-accused-planting-fake-news-stories-make-conservatives-look-dumb/

  7. On November 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    This is what you’ve got? A no-name web site that cites a couple of web sites that cited The Onion? And that justifies Google, Facebook and Twitter censoring sites that have content with which they disagree?

    I got what I wanted. I pressed you just hard enough, but still gently (to keep you from just giving up), to force you to show your hand. You have nothing. And now readers see that. You’re a troll who wanted to try to teach me something about trolling.

    You’re trying to “teach your granny to suck eggs,” boy. I’m troll level “Grand Master Wizard.”

    Thanks for playing.

  8. On November 19, 2016 at 3:13 pm, thebeeishorrid said:

    If you don’t know this is happening, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

  9. On November 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Um … what?

  10. On November 16, 2016 at 3:32 pm, Victoria Howerton said:

    The Progressives are such walking parodies that fake news is all too easy to believe. For every fake story there are 10 real stories that are over-the-top, seems like they’re Onion. I’ve vetted plenty of presumably fake stories only to find out they’re true.

  11. On November 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm, Duke Norfolk said:

    There are some blatantly false “news” sites out there that don’t disclose that their content is made up. They aren’t parody sites either, as the stories read “straight” with no humor, satire or any such element to them. One example that I’ve run across is The Boston Tribune. As I take a look at it now it seems that they stopped publishing any new content in Oct. But I’ve seen a couple of others that I can’t think of right now.

    So that kind of site is an example of how this policy could be valid. And believe me I share your skepticism.

    Also, I really wish that some right wing alt-news sites didn’t play so loose with the truth sometimes. Info Wars is the best example, of course, but there are some others that I can’t trust yet. So I think that Some Rabbit has a good point.

  12. On November 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I think you’re missing the point here. You’ve jumped from “fake news” in the context of the election (potentially swaying the election, they assert), to web sites you don’t trust. Do you really think Google is interested in The Boston Tribune, whatever that is? Google has done the bidding of its overlords and used “fake news” as the pretext for censorship for whatever content they don’t approve.

  13. On November 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm, IHC said:

    Google assisted Hillary extensively in every which way they could as WikiLeaks published Schmidt’s letters to the campaign. They also sanitized their search engine of all negative about Hillary despite being truthful reports. It did not fit Schmidt’s agenda to remain in bed with the establishment ergo manipulating and lying to consumers about information they tried to research.

  14. On November 15, 2016 at 5:34 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    But people found out anyway, didn’t they? Your sins will always find you … God never forgets.

  15. On November 15, 2016 at 5:38 pm, IHC said:

    Exactly right – as He says “whatever is in the dark will come to the light’!

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