As Twitter, Facebook and YouTube ramp up selective censorship, GoodGopher.com alternative search is more important than ever!
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
Love or hate social media, there is no doubt that it has become one of – if not the – most powerful ways to communicate and share opinions.
But questions are being asked as to whether those responsible for running of Social media organizations, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are censoring information based on their own ideological viewpoints – or views that they are being paid to promote.
Is there censorship on YouTube?
According to Search Engine Land, YouTube has become the second largest online search engine in the world – second only to Google. In fact, it’s also owned by Google. It is the third most visited website in the world, with people turning to YouTube for funny, viral or “how to” videos because of how easy it is to watch video content.
However, it seems that, despite its popularity, YouTube may not be the best place to turn to for unbiased content. According to a post by All News Pipeline, in 2014 it was reported that approximately 200 groups, which included government agencies and organizations of power, were granted the ability to report – or “flag” – up to 20 different videos at one time. This has become known as “super flagger” authority, and this extended reporting functionality has been granted to powerful government agencies, such as the UK Metropolitan Police.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this news has sparked concerns that YouTube (and therefore Google) is allowing governments to censor videos that they don’t like. Whilst anyone can report a video on YouTube with the intent of having it removed, it seems that it’s not only this “super flagger” status that YouTube has given governments. In June 2015, it became public that YouTube was working with the U.S. State Department when an email from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was leaked via a FOIA request. The email was titled “Google and YouTube” and allegedly details a request that was made my the U.S. State Department to block an unknown YouTube video, stating that “the block will stay through Monday. They will not be unblocking it before then.”
Is the same true for Twitter?
A recent report by Breitbart states that Twitter is “shadowbanning” politically inconvenient users every day, according to a confirmed source inside of the social media giant. It seems that Twitter has a whitelist of favored accounts which are prioritized in search results – and a corresponding blacklist of those it is not so fond of.
Shadowbanning is perhaps more of a sneaky tactic than the “super flagging” that YouTube offers to governments because it doesn’t actually alert the user to the fact that anything has happened – their content is merely hidden from view and doesn’t appear in searches or in timelines.
So Facebook does it too?
Facebook is the largest social media organization there is, and it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that their team is also censoring what you can see. There have been cases of police intervention as a direct result of what has been posted on Facebook, including the Dutch police visiting the homes of people who had posted “anti-refugee” posts on Facebook, according to Deutsche Welle.
If you look closely at the types of content Facebook is flagging, blocking and removing, it seems to be targeting users who express distrust in government actions or speak out against controversial government policies.
Social media organizations should of course remove videos and posts that violate laws – however the removal of content simply because it doesn’t fit in with what the government would like the public to be sharing flies in the face of freedom of speech. These reports show that we are not getting the full picture on social media – if you want propaganda-free information, check out GoodGopher.com, the search engine for independent news and information.