free speech, Guardian Watch, latest

Google employs army of censors “quality raters” to combat horrid things on the web

It seems the unofficial Minitrue we predicted in yesterday’s piece is already here. Google’s “Quality raters” will, from Tuesday, be combing the net with fresh vigour looking for “upsetting-offensive” things and making sure we never get to see them.

The article in the Guardian covering this new development highlights its use against the usual suspect – “Holocaust denial”, which is of course the thinnest and most entirely acceptable end of the wedge. The one they always use as a poster child for censorship of any kind. But we would have to be cosmically naive to believe Google’s anonymous and entirely unaccountable “10,000-strong army of independent contractors” will stop there. We should also remain a little sceptical about Google’s vaguely worded claim that these new guidelines will not effectively remove certain opinions from the web. The only way the quality control can work is through promoting some sites while suppressing others.

We might not be concerned when white supremacists sites are being targeted for such suppression, but what about alternative health sites? Truther sites? Or indeed alt news sites such as ours? How will Google’s busy crusaders for “quality” deal with them?

Alex Hern, in the Guardian, predictably thinks Google isn’t going far enough, and that:

Google’s failure to keep fake news and propaganda off the top of search results is broader than simply promoting upsetting or offensive content.

He illustrates this with Google’s “snippets in search” feature quoting “questionable sites”, leading to “the search engine claiming in its own voice that “Obama may be planning a communist coup d’état”, and – even worse – the same feature once:

lied to users about the time required to caramelise onions

Hern does rather grudgingly admit that “shortly after each of these stories were published, the search results in question were updated to fix the errors,” but that apparently doesn’t mitigate the indictment.

So, be warned. Google may be showing us the way to a simpler and safer world where upset and offence will just be a distant and fading memory, but that’s only a beginning. If the Graun and other neoliberal opinion-makers have their way there will be a time in the not too distant future when merely referencing any “controversy” from debatable optimum cooking times to the alleged funding of ISIS will be about as socially unacceptable as urinating in public.

This is a response to Google tells army of ‘quality raters’ to flag Holocaust denial published in the Guardian March 15 2017


18 Comments

  1. Google has also become the enforcer of Sharia compliance on the Internet. I ran through my thoughts today on the matter. It is quite serious.

    Basically, Islam would prefer to hide it’s ugly teachings and Google is now helping them do exactly that:

    http://grk.am/4D

    Like

  2. Selassie I says

    I remember when I first heard about google from a tech friend in California. I was told that it was a wonder and revelation because it was a search engine that incorporates results from all search engines and that things would be easier to find. Where are we now? Google decides what you should see. So opposite of what they were supposed to be.
    I’m using DuckDuckGo, I don’t know if it’s any better. I can’t really tell if some results are being withheld.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geoff says

      I also use duckduckgo in preference to google, but any filtering google does, will apply equally to duckduckgo as it uses googles engine to perform searches. Duckduckgo is better than google, but only insofar as they do no track and therefore do not bubble you – this being google’s objectionable policy of ‘tailoring’ searches to your individual tastes,so you and I would get different results from the exact same google search.

      But have no fear, if google removes stuff from it’s search results, duckduckgo will also, by default.

      Like

  3. So the ‘Net will have ‘safe rooms’ all over the place where those exposed to too much truth can seek refuge from all those people speaking their minds.

    Communism didn’t die, it just exported itself to the USA and was re-branded as tech giants like Google looking out for our best interests, like keeping people from reading dissenting opinions.

    If you want to see how deranged and sadistic the USSR Commies were, get a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s
    “In the First Circle,” and read the horrors that await those who prefer truth over pablum.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/In-the-First-Circle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dead World Walking says

    ‘Their truth is not our truth, so it’s not THE truth’
    Where have we heard that one before?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. rtj1211 says

    As usual, it is implied that the masses are spoilt little children who need protecting.

    I come from a family of unprincipled spies, electronic hackers and control freak psychopaths.

    Not one of them is capable of an adult emotional relationship where my views have no implications about their views (the concept of free speech and basic respect of the views of others).Emotional outbursts in response to my freely expressed views from 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 year olds demonstrates an emotional immaturity, illiteracy and controlling eight-year-old world view which society saw/sees fit to reward with ‘seniority’. It tells you a lot about the psychopathy pervarding the recruiting serjeants of the spying world – they need to recruit repressed authoritarian dictators as no grown up can tolerate such rubbish even for a week.

    These are the sorts of people who believe in coercive control. Some believe they are left wing, others right wing. But their authority is zero because control is their mantra and mania.

    They have the astonishing feature of saying as a ‘senior’ that there are no rules in the business world, but they expect me to respect their rules. Quite frankly, having embraced electronic spying and a no-rules world, these small time spooks can expect no protection from the law, as they have contempt for the concept of the law when accepting that money trumps universal principles of justice and human behaviour. If they had any moral consistency, then they would accept that those they electronically hack have the right to mutilate them, including eyes and genitals. Because they are emotionally illiterate psychopaths, they expect to be deferred to. It is the primary sign of madness in most low level spooks…..

    So why on earth would you trust ANY unaccountable censor when basic analysis of UK/US stasi-acolytes shows you that they are utterly emotionally incapable of adult behaviour?!

    Like

  6. Lupulco says

    White supremacy sites are banned for being Racist. Yet;
    Africanisation policy in African states is acceptable?

    Holocaust denials is to be banned,
    Yet if a young German makes a comment “Whether it happened or not, or whether it was 8 million or 5 million. Whether these figures are purely Jews or indeed include Gypsies, homosexuals, dissidents, slave-workers or people deemed insane” yes it was bad. But;

    But most Germans living today were not even born therefore we are not responsible. As such we are fed up of being blamed for the past if we try to defend our country against mass immigration.

    The Jews hate the Muslims, complaining that they are anti sematic.
    The Muslims hate everyone who criticise them for whatever reason and accuse them of Islamaphobia.

    Yet if Europeans complain that most of these groups are being Western phobic, [yes a made up word] like Homophobic, Islamaphobic. We are laft at and told not to be so thin skinned.
    Plus European is not a race? As such any criticism of Europe, its culture is not racism. Plus it is all are fault for being nasty to people who just want to move to Europe. Leaving behind a theocratic dictatorship because it is terrible.

    Yet on reaching Europe have no wish to assimilate in to the European way of life. Want to live separately [Apartheid] and impose a similar way of living in their ghettos that they left behind.

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  7. adrowl says

    Why would you use Google as a search engine anyway? I haven’t used it for years. I got tired of being told what I was looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bryce says

        The other 5 Eyes-based search engines, no doubt.
        Yandex, on the other hand, is bullet-proof.

        Like

    • Because some of us are so inept in relation to IT that we really don’t know how to adapt our search engine default or where to go to get the word out there. Google is the giant and it knows it, so unless several alternatives link as partners, their impact will be negligible and Google knows this also. How to get round the conundrum is the real problem. Your thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

      Like

  8. shaksvshav says

    Amazon also censor. You cannot buy from them scholarly works on the Holocaust like Thomas Dalton’s ‘Debating the Holocaust’ or Nicholas Kollerstrom’s ‘Breaking the Spell’. The derisory term ‘Holocaust denier’ does not really describe their position, but obviously they are ‘beyond the pale’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seamus Padraig says

      Amazon? But of course! It’s owned by Jeff Bezos, the same guy who owns the Neocon Post–uh, the Washington Post.

      Like

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