featured, media watch, Surveillance, The web they want, United States, USA
Comments 22

CBS and its (new?) Matrix trick


Many of our readers will be familiar by now with the common practice of our mainstream media – the Guardian has become notorious for it — of censoring political comments which challenge the US/NATO approved narrative on international affairs. As Off-Guardian has learned from Shawn Irwin, a social media contact who’s shared his screenshots with us, the CBS has come up with a new twist on this.

If your comments on the CBS news site happen to displease the resident censor, a.k.a. moderator, they will be silently removed from the stream of readers’ comments while still appearing on your own computer screen.  In other words, your post shows up on your screen, but if someone else tries to view it either as a visitor to the site or as a reader who’s logged in under his or her name, it’s not there.  Thus, unless you actually log out and then log in under another name, what you see on your screen will give you the impression that your comment is still there, for all other readers to see and respond to if they so wish.  In reality, the politically unwelcome comment will have been removed; a discovery one can make only by chance, as Mr Irwin did a few weeks ago.  Nor is his experience unique. Jesse Marioneaux has also shared with us screenshots of his comments appearing on his screen, yet invisible to other readers of the same thread.

How this is done, what the technical means used may be, whether other news outlets are also using this method of “perception management” I leave to others to speculate upon.  But, here’s what it looks like in practice.

The first screenshot below shows Mr Irwin’s post (under the moniker LucifersShadow) sandwiched between a post by Catapologisttx and one by Olyboy. The text of the vanishing post reads:

“Building walls won’t change that.” But dropping bombs will? This raving &*^% also said that – I’ve Restored the US as the ‘Most Respected Country in the World – I am not sure what drugs he has been doing lately, but nations all over hate the USA because of its repressive, imperialistic policies and preference of using violence, that is bombing, drones, etc, rather than diplomacy. Obama: “We have to twist arms when countries don’t do what we need them to.” Arrogance. . . Obama, along with George Bush, and Hillary Clinton are both war criminals. You do not need to choose between twiddle-dee-dee and twiddle-dee-dumn.

Do a search on you tube for Green Party debate and Libertarian Party debate, and you will find some decent candidates for once.

Here’s what it looks like when Irwin views the page, logged in under his alias.

JustPosted01A

If you go to the relevant CBS page and search for that comment, what you will see is this:

CBS vanishes a comment Screenshot - 06052016 - 08:47:30 PM

Note how the censored comment has completely vanished, with not trace of it, no alert that it’s been deleted, while the site lets us see the record of two deleted comments which had, to all appearances, at some point taken the place of the disappeared one.

To make sure that what had happened was not merely a glitch or a fluke, Irwin then posted the same comment as Archeus-Lore, a second alias he uses, and with the same result.  In both cases, what a CBS moderator took umbrage at was the description of US policies as repressive and imperialistic, the observation that the US is the most hated country in the world, and his characterization of Obama, George Bush, and Hillary Clinton as war criminals.

As Jesse Marioneaux’s screenshots of his vanishing comment show, however, our MSM moderators seem to have a very broad set of criteria on what is to be allowed and what censored from the readers’ comments.  In this case, merely quipping “This country’s looking like a joke”, was deemed worthy a Matrix-effect bit of censorship.  The first screenshot below shows the page as it appears when Mr Marioneaux accesses it, logged in under his name.

JM01

Here is what the same page looks like when you or I access it:

JM02

So, if you happen to look for a comment you made on one of American (or British?) news sites and can’t find it because you’ve logged out (but do see it when you log in), it’s neither your eyes nor your mind that are playing tricks on you.  It’s the new censorship state and its collaborator “free press” using their latest techno-wizzardry to keep the public docile and unaware of the degree of control they now exercise over our over freedom of speech.

The idea is, clearly, to manage our perceptions, regulate which opinions are allowed to circulate in the public sphere and which are not, and to conceal the extent of the censorship-culture that continues to erode whatever’s left of democracy in the West.

We are making this available for public scrutiny in the hope that organizations which advocate and protect the freedom of speech, such as the American Civil Liberties Union in the USA, for instance, will look into this and other censorship and perception-management techniques used by the corporate media, investigate whether they might be acting in co-ordination with government agencies, and determine if these practices are constitutional and at all compatible with the requirements of democracy.

 


22 Comments

  1. elliptico says

    Not quite of the same stature as CBS, but RawStory will routinely censor non-lberal commenters, with no reason given, even when the comments are in line with the website’s policies. They will also allow personal attacks on commenters who do not toe the liberal line, but if the attacked commenter responds in kind, he/she will be banned. Such policies act to denigrate the website. I view it as a mark of failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deceit is pervasive and able to mimic or adopt the forms of what seems acceptable or desirable or true to you. The idea of the deceiver is not new but has been known of an warned vigilance against since our first split into mask and deceit.
    Note that the deceiver can also masquerade as the protector or warning voice against deceit.
    It should become immediately clear that you cannot trust your own thoughts – unless you have discerned and found them as representative and aligned with the true of you. Deceits provoke reaction that does not allow time to pause and listen or feel within and so they are triggers that operate through the weaknesses through which you are most vulnerable – hence deceit works to nurture and magnify your weaknesses by presenting them as strengths so that hate can seem self righteous and fear can seem wise. I cant use words to define the true – but only in the willingness for truth. Sharing such purpose allows communication across and despite apparent differences but the deceit provides an identity that needs to be set against different others by which to seem real.

    For ourselves we can discern what we accept and extend through us – so that hate and fear does not use us as its instrument and become the framer of our thinking and behaviour. This actually requires waking up to and owning hate and fear feelings that have historically been denied asap and masked in fairer forms. Where to go with such hateful and conflicted feelings if not to try to banish or hide them – or – to use them to fuel the self-guilt and self-hate that is our fundamental deceit? Feeling is not a slave to conform to the dictate of thoughts but a quality of knowing in its own right – though it needs consciousness and form to embody that knowing. Accepting and feeling our feelings within a willingness to heal or find healing is very different from a sense of being violated and attacked and having to call up immediate defence, and within the acceptance of THAT we are feeling as we are feeling – is the freedom to evolve, change and open fresh and more embracing and less polarized perspective.
    Without inner understanding and compassion for the nature of mis-taken identity – we are compelled to attack or judge it – in ourselves in secret and other in the world at large. Indeed our identity problem is one where fear of loss brought a sense of separate self assertion and the inevitable and inherent power struggles within ourself and with others.
    The act of extending or living from the true of you – which embraces the other without having to choose the same choices – has a different quality than the assertion of identity.
    Personal and social mores also include all kinds of mutual agreements and definitions that are in effect the collective refusal to receive or relate directly in the true feeling presence that we are whether we live and remember this or pass off a suitable masking presentation – not least because the realm of open feeling expression is associated with a can of worms – or every kind of conflicted entanglement. But I remind you that the desire or willingness to heal is an entirely different purpose and vibratory resonance of communication than identity assertions, validations and power struggle – no matter how adeptly or naturalistically nuanced.
    ‘Local reality’ is already running and it presents itself as My mind and as identity and freedom seeking power and therefore in terms of a movement toward power. The private mind is a deceit – but in truth nothing can come into your experience that you are not the vibration of – and therefore it is your teacher, reflecting information back to you that serves balancing within the wholeness as the unique expression of individuality that is recognisably You.
    While we are so distracted and engaged in outer reflection that triggers our separation drama – or should I say trauma – we are held in an exclusive focus that has suggested an either/or winner loser interpretation and thus a uni-polar reality. It is this that holds us in an almost exclusively physical or material framework of experience – where the power and freedom of imagination in service to an integrative sense of self is denied – perhaps often unknowingly – but the denial is the active force beneath the appearances of our ‘local reality’.
    Giving witness truly grows the awareness of true as our conscious experience – from which the live all our relationships and inspirations. Giving false witness is no less powerful – but in a negative or segregating and fragmenting and dis-empowering way. This drives the hunger for power – which is not merely some kind of sin of greed but also the survival instinct of a mis-taken identity running with all the belief given it.
    While its reality reflections conform to its interpretations, such power struggle is fed or justified – by opposition as much as by alliance or conformity. It is up to you where you give your attention and allegiance – unless you define yourself in such a way as to give your power to others to frame and dictate your thought. While this is a nonsense in itself – it is tragic in its consequence of experience.
    Can we give true witness without succumbing to the seduction of vengeance?
    The fruits of true communication – which is infinitely more than words – are miraculous rather than the result of any coercion or ability to acquire and manipulate power. Those who have tasted of this have some basis to persist where the world sees only folly. Those who uncover the insanity of the mind set exclusively in terms of the ‘local reality’ meet that none-sense in their self-reality as an unworkable and meaningless identifiction – that can no longer be exclusively believed true. However, we can only work with the material at hand and regardless where our starting place – the willingness to learn anew is ever the starting place – and not the form we grasp… and become entangled with.
    If winning is a perfection of loneliness and isolation; If power is consolidated in that which operates against Life in attempt to enslave and replace it with ultimate self-validation, then victory results in a wasteland of hollow robot slaves; A living death.
    While you are alive enough to know it, you are never too late to re-evaluate your goals and therefore your starting premises. But if all your investments are in your mask then can you forsake them? “Better then to die in the mask than suffer the humiliation of exposure” … to what? To a true Acceptance that you are as you are and not as you judged.
    “There is nothing new under the Sun” – and “Behold I make all things new!”. These can be seen to illustrate two aspects of choice – re-enactment (that conditions the mind to auto-pilot and believe itself autonomous) and exploration of willingness and curiosity for truth in its OWN terms – but as resonating within our heart as our true desire – rather than the conformity of the masked and masking from feared or hated power. You wont get this with your head (or be deceived you have) because it has to be felt and realized or recognized. Short-cutting true awareness with un-checked or out of true definitions, short changes us – and each other of shared presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. deschutes says

    WSWS.org, the ‘world socialist website’ is another news website which is quite heavy-handed in their censorship of comments below articles. I don’t think they use the ‘only you see your comment but nobody else’ app described in this article, but nonetheless it reflects poorly on them that they won’t allow comments which question or critique some point the author was making–especially when politely worded and within their own comment guidelines. With WSWS.org, my impression is that they carefully edit and vet comments below articles to promote their agenda, to make them look good, to attract the ‘right’ kind of people to their website. Comments which don’t serve this agenda or question it will promptly be deleted. It’s really clever marketing. The comments section is no longer just for discussion and banter. It has been transformed into a marketing tool. This is really bad because healthy discussion and debate is shut down. Diversity of thought is shut down. And, it really makes a socialist website WSWS.org look bad if it uses censorship just like the old Communist block regimes did in the old days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John says

    I believe it was Winston Churchill who once said “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
    There is a cyber war taking place on the internet or world wide web.
    I believe that Netantyahu’s office in Tel Aviv has a permanent detachment of young, technologically-trained young people who are allocated to act on behalf of the zionist state as part of their compulsory military service by constantly trolling around the internet seeking-out non- and anti-zionist views – to rebut them.
    They also have paid trolls located around the world who carry out similar functions.
    Among other “tricks”, they are involved in hasbara or propaganda work, which entails them roaming the internet and finding views with which the zionist state disagrees, then rebutting those views and possibly diverting them when they find they cannot get the non- and anti-zionist posters, commentators or bloggers to back down.
    Several years ago, while using my own name for the purpose, one of these hasbaraists started asking me personal questions and made references which made it clear s/he had been conducting additional research into my private life.
    I also started to find that some web sites I visited were apparently infected with spyware or malware too.
    One result of all this was that my CPU started to get very noisy.
    In the end, I took out a subscription with Re-Image and they discovered around 180 cases of spyware on my system, which was why my computer was so noisy. Eventually, I had to replace my hard drive and get the new one completely swept of spyware. Subsequently, I also had to get a new fan installed.
    All in all, a pretty expensive outcome which others should be aware of.
    Everyone should routinely clean off all cookies from their systems and don’t forget: whatever name you use on the internet, your system always retains the same URL – which is why regular cleaning with programs like C-Cleaner is absolutely essential.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The vigilance of ego-centricity or exclusive identification in self concept is ITS survival as an ongoing sense of continuity and is a deeply embedded and largely automatic or subconscious sensing for threat, reinforcement, alliance or ammunition.
      The vigilance AGAINST being triggered and replaced by such conditioned reaction is that of an honesty of true presence in which the dissonance of misalignment is discerned as a sense of conflict. The great temptation that conflicted self meets is that of BLAME. Blame is associated with the attempt to deny or get rid of the unwanted, hated or feared self-conflict.
      The willingness to recognize and own what is truly ours is also the automatic release of what we are not. Fear of pain and loss means a tendency to choose the ‘devil we know’ which is an attempt to (persist in) limiting and control ling outcomes, narratives and perception.
      If those sharing an identification in outcome feel threatened by communication – they wont see it as communication but as ‘enemy’ or heresy – and so act to invalidate, deny or prevent communication occurring.
      If we care to communicate in terms that extends a sense of worth – for one cannot really communicate with a sense of unworthiness excepting to dump it it on another – then we are not merely justifying ‘defences’ – and if there is any willingness for communication – it occurs – even if planting seeds of potential.
      Being denied or invalidated feels like being judged hateful and unworthy – but we must have that pattern within us – of self-hatred and lack of worth – to be triggered in reaction. Of course we all have – but we can also bring these patterns into the light of a present and current relationship – as a way of releasing our investment in them as meaningful or valuable to us. As a result we are freer to discern and address the underlying issues that external conflicts are used to mask or divert attention away from.
      This is not popular because we do not easily or readily abide in and move through the hateful or denied facets of our personality. The larger desire of humanity has been to fragment in diversion and distraction from deeper fears and hatreds – or we would not have co-created the world-narrative and experience that runs AS the mask of fear and conflict in seemingly or relatively benign terms.
      I feel that beneath the mask is a genuine desire to know and be known – to share life in creative endeavour that is an unfolding of qualities of Life that resonate in us each differently – yet reflect richly.
      The beliefs and investment in the ‘power’ that forbids, denies and makes impossible such a shared Life are also in us each differently and reflecting in complex conflicted relational and communicational breakdowns.
      Opening communication in place of investment in war is only going to arise from an inner recognition – no longer denied. If I can reach you – you are already of a willingness to listen within and without… as a unified act of relating or being with.
      Truly, we can only receive in the terms we set by where we choose to ‘come from’. An oppositional intent will only seek ammunition and reinforcement for self-validation. ‘Seeing what is wrong with others’ is different from discerning what is true as a basis for relationship in which anything out of true can be undone, resolved or corrected.
      Where we are ‘coming from’ is either a conditioned reaction of self-certainty seeking to validate itself or a conscious willingness to receive that discerns from within wholeness rather than censoring, analysing and rejecting – as an act of ‘power’.

      Like

  5. CBC censorship must be seen to believed, once they deleted a comment I made where I said that Bernie Sanders was jewish, when I was only correcting someone who thought he was an evangelical.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Woody says

    Makes you wonder how many other ‘Controlled’ mainstream media sites also apply this method of ‘Filtering’….

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Brad Benson says

    Salon also pulls this creepy trick and has been doing it to readers for more than three years now. Here’s something I wrote about it, on another site, in 2014.

    Idea suppression comes in many forms. While I recognize the difference between the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech and the right of blog sites to control their content, it is fair to state that some ostensibly “liberal” blog sites are arbitrarily applying these controls to suppress ideas that do not comport with their worldview. One of the worst of these is Salon.com and the method they use is both pernicious and cynical.

    The first time Salon suppressed my comments happened without my knowledge and continued for nearly a month. Although I was posting comments to numerous articles, over time I began to notice that none of my comments were receiving responses, positive or negative, which was extremely unusual.

    Eventually, I discovered that a thin-skinned writer had rendered my comments invisible to everyone on the site but me. This is a very cynical form of suppression, since a person does not realize that he or she has been suppressed and ends up wasting time and effort writing comments that are read by no one.

    After much correspondence, I finally was able to get my account restored. However, my account was once again suppressed over the Memorial Day Weekend after I posted an on topic comment with a link to Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth.

    On still another occasion, I posted a correction to a factual error in one of their articles in regard to the Weather Underground. To support my contention, I added a link to a Wickipedia Article on the subject. To my astonishment, several hours later I noticed that the Weather Underground Logo had been appended to my post as if I had posted it there.

    Naturally, just as one would not want to have a swastika posted to a link about the History of World War II, I resented the addition of this terrorist symbol to my post, which made it appear as if I were a supporter of their terrorist agenda. Once again, this could only have been added as it was, after the fact, by someone on the Salon Staff.

    When I asked Salon to remove the symbol from my post, instead of simply removing the terrorist symbol, they removed my entire post. Of course, by removing the entire post, they also conveniently succeeded in removing my correction of their original factual error.

    The final suppression occurred after I stridently attacked a couple of Zionist Jerks that were attempting to defend the indiscriminate bombing of women and children in Gaza. I gave them no quarter and they deserved none, since they were defending Crimes against Humanity. Once again, my comments disappeared from the threads for a month before I complained, which resulted in the following note.

    “While we appreciate that you have contributed to Salon.com, a significant number of your comments have continued to raise red flags, and that is why we have canceled your account. I wish you luck on finding another online community to your liking.

    Yours,

    Salon Community Team

    After more than four years and over 4000 archived pages, this was never about red flags being raised by anyone. Rather it was about the people of an organization that bills itself as a ‘salon’ behaving like petulant children and suppressing the articulate commentary of those with whom they disagree.

    Since there are others here who write on Salon, be advised that they are doing this and that I am not the only one that they have suppressed in this manner. The more it is exposed, the better.

    Liked by 6 people

      • Brad Benson says

        I think it is done through the software that they use for their comments. They replaced their original software with a new product, whose name now escapes my memory. It took them almost a year to get it working, but when they did figure it out, people began disappearing. At the time, I remember that there were several other American “progressive” sites that were switching to this software, but I don’t know if they used it in the same way as Salon.

        I’d be interested to know what CBS uses and if it’s the same as Salon’s. I’ll try to go back into my archives and find out what Salon was using, since I had complained out it during it’s initial implementation.

        Like

        • Brad Benson says

          Vaska,

          I checked my archive. Salon was using software called “Livefyre”. I’m guessing that any site that uses this software might be able to selectively censor people without them realizing it as happened to me on Salon and Shawn Irwin on CBS.

          Like

        • Jonathan says

          Whether pending comments will be shown to their authors is a feature of the forum software in use. Valid use cases include reducing people repeating themselves because they think their post was lost, or to reduce feedback to prolific vandals such as sliders and spammers (or, as we see, political dissidents). LiveFyre’s house interface may well provide a perma-mute button, in the spirit of the Bobs in Office Space “fixing the glitch”. Implementation of such a feature would take a staff day, at most.

          For what it’s worth, I don’t see that likes are moderated.

          Like

          • Interesting that you should think removing (and without trace) comments that voice political dissent a valid use of a LiveFyre feature.

            Like

          • Amer Hudson says

            Livefyre include multiple levels of moderation management. Their paid for Comments (or Studio) software allows moderation to flag comments as ‘Disagree’ amongst other flags. Even their free WordPress comment plugin has similar features. From their website:

            Multiple Moderation roles: Delegate moderation responsibilities among Site Owners, Admins, Moderators, and

            Whitelists & Banned Users: Authors and trusted community members can bypass pre-moderation with Whitelists, while trolls are kept at bay with Ban lists and their comments are Bozo’ed so that they are only visible to the comment author and not your community.

            Profanity Lists: Customize the settings for filtering comments for your community.

            User Activity: See which community members are your top commenters and who you should reach out to invite them back to your site.

            Moderation & Conversation Reports: Generate reports that give an overview of your moderation practices and see which posts are sparking the most conversations.

            Liked by 2 people

            • They’re almost open about it, then; I’m referring to the Whitelists and Banned Users section in your post.

              At first sight, that entry looks fairly innocuous. If you think about it for more than 3 seconds, though (I may be slow, and some might start figuring it out instantly), two questions and one conclusion arise:

              1. 1 Isn’t the Whitelists function conveniently handy for letting government-paid agents through without moderating their comments? [We do know that our governments operate cyber-psy-ops, and, to its credit, The Guardian itself had an article on this three years ago).
              2. 2 Isn’t the supposed anti-troll function mightily handy for censoring politically inconvenient comments, such as the ones by Irwin and Marioneaux? It’s obvious that neither of them is a troll; nor a banned commenter.

              Given the fact that a banned user is someone who by definition cannot post any comments, the “Banned Users” function in LiveFyre is a smoke-and-mirrors term for “Invisible Censorship” — a function that MUST have been developed by the software company precisely to facilitate the corporate media’s perception management and their planned infringement of free-speech rights.

              What would be interesting — and in the public interest — to find out is whether LiveFyre was asked to develop software with precisely these capabilities by one or more government agencies (and if so, which ones). Off-Guardian doesn’t have the resources for the sort of investigation this would entail; organizations such as ACLU do.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Amer Hudson says

                I agree with what you say. Note that the ‘trolls’ don’t necessarily know they’ve been banned – they can see their own comments so assume everyone can.

                Also note the profanity list (a very common function on comment sites). These lists can easily be expanded to include non-profanities, such as hasbara or Putin or South Ossieta.

                The flagging is interesting, too. Users and posts can be flagged – for moderation or deletion. Interestingly, your management reports will indicate how effective you are in doing this.

                And this is just the FREE version. I’m sure the paid-for version has much more extensive functionality.

                Liked by 2 people

              • LIveFyre’s logical extension
                commodification or monetization of your comments!

                Adobe buys Livefyre to turn your awful Internet comments into money
                link on C|net

                Like

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