Google blocks access to YouTube accounts of Iran’s Press TV, Hispan TV

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Google renews attacks on accounts of Iranian media outlets. (Illustrative image)

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 3:03 PM

Google has targeted Iranian broadcasters Press TV and Hispan TV once again, blocking access to their official YouTube accounts without any prior notice.

Over the past years, the US tech giant has recurrently been opting for such measures against Iranian media outlets. It has taken on Press TV more than any other Iranian outlet given the expanse of its viewership and readership.

The most recent move came on Tuesday. Users shortly flooded both the networks with messages asking why the international networks’ YouTube channels had been put out of service.

The two networks were last targeted in April, when Google similarly shut their YouTube and Gmail accounts.

The previous attack also denied the networks any advance notification, sufficing to cite a nebulous “violation of policies.”

Previously, Press TV’s YouTube channel was closed in September and November 2013 and April 2014.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting — which runs Press TV and Hispan TV as part of its World Service — has called such attacks clear examples of censorship.

‘Paying price for giving voice to the voiceless’

Reacting to Tuesday’s move, Press TV’s Website and Social Media Director Habib Abdolhossein said, “We have been adhering to Google policies, including those concerning user content and conduct policy. Even if we had violated any rules, they could have let us know.”

“Social media outlets were supposed to be a platform for the alternative views, but unfortunately they are rather politicized than socialized!” he said. “I think we are paying the price for being the voice of the voiceless.”

Following Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president in 2016, Washington ramped up its efforts to target the Islamic Republic.

The campaign even assumed the self-styled title of “maximum pressure” under the current US president. The drive has seen the US leaving a multi-party nuclear agreement with Iran last year, and returning the nuclear-related sanctions that the deal had lifted.

As part of the campaign, the US State Department has called on social media companies Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to block the accounts of Iranian government leaders, and iOS — a mobile operating system created by US company Apple Inc. — disabling Iranian applications.

Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights as Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent

Mnar Muhawesh speaks with journalist Daniel McAdams about being permanently banned from Twitter, social media censorship and more.

Most recently, it was revealed that Twitter’s senior editorial executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa is an active officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations.

In other words: he specializes in disseminating propaganda.

The news left many wondering how a member of the British Armed Forces secured such an influential job in the media.

The bombshell that one of the world’s most influential social networks is controlled in part by an active psychological warfare officer was not covered at all in the New York TimesCNNCNBCMSNBC or Fox News, who appear to have found the news unremarkable.

But for those paying attention and for those who have been following ’MintPress News’ extensive coverage of social media censorship, this revelation was merely another example of the increasing closeness between the deep state and the fourth estate.

Amazon owner, and world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos was paid $600 million by the CIA to develop software and media for the agency, that’s more than twice as much as Bezos bought the Washington Post for, and a move media critics warn spells the end of journalistic independence for the Post.

Meanwhile, Google has a very close relationship with the State Department, its former CEO Eric Schmidt’s book on technological imperialism was heartily endorsed by deep state warmongers like Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair.

In their book titled, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, Eric Schmidt and fellow Google executive Jared Cohen wrote:

What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century…technology and cyber-security companies [like Google] will be to the twenty-first.”

Another social media giant partnering with the military-industrial complex is Facebook. The California-based company announced last year it was working closely with the neoconservative think tank, The Atlantic Council, which is largely funded by Saudi Arabia, Israel and weapons manufacturers to supposedly fight foreign “fake news.”

The Atlantic Council is a NATO offshoot and its board of directors reads like a rogue’s gallery of warmongers, including the notorious Henry Kissinger, Bush-era hawks like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, James Baker, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security and author of the PATRIOT Act, Michael Chertoff, a number of former Army Generals including David Petraeus and Wesley Clark and former heads of the CIA Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and Michael Morell.

39 percent of Americans, and similar numbers of people in other countries, get their news from Facebook, so when an organization like the Atlantic Council is controlling what the world sees in their Facebook news feeds, it can only be described as state censorship on a global level.

After working with the council, Facebook immediately began banning and removing accounts linked to media in official enemy states like Iran, Russia and Venezuela, ensuring the world would not be exposed to competing ideas and purging dissident voices under the guise of fighting “fake news” and “Russian bots.”

Meanwhile, the social media platform has been partnering with the U.S. and Israeli governments to silence Palestinian voices that show the reality of life under Israeli apartheid and occupation. The Israeli Justice Minister proudly revealed that Facebook complied with 95 percent of Israeli government requests to delete Palestinian pages. At the same time, Google deleted dozens of YouTube and blog accounts supposedly connected to the government of Iran.

In the last week alone, Twitter has purged several Palestinian news pages, including Quds News Network — without warning or explanation.

Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah wrote, 

This alarming act of censorship is another indication of the complicity of major social media firms in Israel’s efforts to suppress news and information about its abuses of Palestinian rights.”

 

Alternative voices not welcome

The vast online purge of alternative voices has also been directed at internal “enemies.”

Publishers like Julian Assange and whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning are still being held in solitary confinement in conditions that international bodies and human rights groups call torture, for their crime of revealing the extent of the global surveillance network and the control over the media that Western governments have built.

As attempts to re-tighten the state and corporate grip over our means of communication increases, high-quality alternative media are being hit the hardest, as algorithm changes from the media monoliths have deranked, demoted, deleted and disincentivized outlets that question official narratives, leading to huge falls in traffic and revenue.

The message from social media giants is clear: independent and alternative voices are not welcome.

One causality in this propaganda war is Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, a public advocacy group that argues that a non-interventionist foreign policy is crucial to securing a prosperous society at home. McAdams served as Senator Paul’s foreign affairs advisor between 2001 and 2012. Before that, he was a journalist and editor for the Budapest Sun and a human rights monitor across Eastern Europe.

McAdams, who spent much of his time on Twitter calling out the war machine supported by both parties, was recently permanently banned from the platform for so-called “hateful conduct.” His crime? Challenging Fox News anchor Sean Hannity over his hour-long segment claiming to be against the “deep state,” while simultaneously wearing a CIA lapel pin. In the exchange, McAdams called Hannity “retarded,” claiming he was becoming stupider every time he watched him.

Yes, despite that word and its derivatives having been used on Twitter over ten times in the previous minute, and often much more aggressively than McAdams used it – only McAdams fell victim to Twitter’s ban hammer. Something didn’t make sense about this ban. One only needs to read the replies under any of President Trump’s tweets to see far more hateful speech than what McAdams displayed to suspect foul play.

I spoke with McAdams about the ban and began by asking him if he accepts the premise of the ban, or if he believes something else was afoot.

Feature photo | Spirit Boom Cat | Shutterstock

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

West’s “Fake News” Begins to Backfire

Source

September 5, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Western special interests have used the term “fake news” as a pretext for widening censorship, particularly across US-based social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as across Google’s various platforms.

In a move of political judo, many nations are citing the threat of “fake news” to in turn deal with media platforms, often funded and supported by the US and Europe, operating within their borders and often targeting sitting governments to either coerce or unseat them in pursuit of Western interests.

A recent example of this is in Thailand where the government has announced plans for measures to combat what is being called “fake news.”

A Bangkok Post article titled, “Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown,” would report:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.

The article also makes mention of the Thai government’s plans to approach tech-giants like Facebook, Line and Google, urging each to establish offices in Thailand for the specific purpose of confronting “fake-news.”

Facebook and Google already have a well-oiled process of identifying and removing content both platforms deem “fake news” or “coordinated, disingenuous behaviour,” but this is a process that focuses solely on deleting narratives from their networks that challenge US interests. Both platforms, as well as Twitter, are more than happy to otherwise allow false narratives aimed at governments around the world to flourish with impunity.

The offices the Thai government seeks to establish are described as a shortcut for the Thai government to contact these foreign tech companies and spur them into action. However, similar arrangements have already been tried with mixed results and ultimately, with large foreign tech-giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter enjoying net influence over Thailand’s information space at the Thai government’s and the Thai people’s expense.


Genuine Cooperation and Non-Interference Requires Thai Leverage 

Google’s adherence to Chinese conditions for operating within Chinese territory resulted not from Google’s good will, but from China’s sufficient leverage over the tech-giant. China maintains its own tech corporations which dominate China’s information space. China’s Baidu is an equivalent to Google. Weibo is a Chinese equivalent to Twitter. And RenRen is a Chinese version of Facebook. All three dominate their respective target markets within China.

China doesn’t need Google. Google needs China. And because of this leverage, China is able to bend Google to conform to its conditions while operating within China. At any time China can remove what little of Google’s business remains there because of this fact.

For smaller nations like Thailand, tech-giants like Google face little to no competition. They are able to exert influence over Thailand’s information space with virtual impunity. The Thai government may “ask” for cooperation, but lacking any indigenous alternative, requests for cooperation lack the sufficient leverage necessary to receive it in full.

Thailand’s latest plans will likely backfire if not linked to serious efforts to establish Thai versions of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms operated by foreign tech giants currently dominating Thailand’s information space.

Such efforts have been hinted at.  In 2017 there were talks between the Thai and Russian governments regarding Russian assistance to develop local Thai alternatives to US-based social media platforms.

So far, no tangible progress has been made. But should concrete plans be rolled out alongside requests that foreign tech giants concede control of Thai information space to the Thai government, the threat of local alternatives displacing foreign social media platforms just as they did in China or Russia could give Bangkok the leverage it needs to have its requests met.

The West’s Surreal Hypocrisy 

In the wake of Thailand’s announcement  to fight “fake news,” Western media platforms began decrying the proposed plans.

The Diplomat’s article, “‘Fake News’ and Thailand’s Information Wars,” would attempt to claim:  

Identifying what is considered “fake news” has become a political weapon for authoritarian consolidation after the 2014 military coup. The regime has relentlessly accused its critics of spreading false information while claiming that it is the only official source of true facts.

The author, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, appears entirely unaware the term “fake news” was first coined in the West specifically for this purpose and the tech-giants Thailand proposes to lean on to enforce its own definition of “fake news” have already scoured their networks of tens of thousands of accounts in a politically-motivated censorship campaign propped up by claims of fighting “fake news.”

Janjira also complains that the Thai government’s proposal puts first and foremost US-backed political parties like Future Forward at risk. She never mentions Future Forward is a political proxy of foreign interests and glosses over its links to political parties guilty of mass murder, street violence and terrorism. She also attempts to imply US designs for primacy over Asia is a threat imagined by Thailand’s current government and its supporters despite a half century of US policy papers, US-led wars and standing armies placed in the region proving just how real this threat is.

If a campaign aimed at confronting “fake news” was ever really needed, it is for parties like Future Forward, the foreign special interests it works for and the networks of violence and terrorism it works with.

As Asia Rises, Western Influence in Physical and Information Space will Wane

Thailand is not alone. Other nations across Southeast Asia have already passed laws regarding what they define as “fake news,” much of which targets US-funded media platforms seeking to influence regional public perception, policy and economic decisions.

Reuters in its article, “Thailand asks tech firms to set up centers against ‘fake news’ in Southeast Asia,” would note:

Other Southeast Asian governments have also recently made efforts to exert more control over online content and taken a tough stance against misinformation. 

Singapore passed an anti-fake news bill in May, forcing online media platforms to correct or remove content the government considers to be false. 

Vietnam said its cybersecurity law, which was passed last year and banned posting anti-government information online, would guard against fake news. 

Whether or not Thailand’s current plans succeed, what is certain is that the balance of power in the region is shifting. Nations once powerless to compete against US economic, political, military and information supremacy are now moving individually and in unison to chip away at US hegemony in the region.

Thailand will eventually develop its own alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google and others which will not only be a benefit to Thai national security, but also to the Thai economy. Much of Thailand’s nearly 70 million strong population is online (including 46 million on Facebook alone) and keeping the money generated by their online activity inside Thailand’s borders can only be a positive thing.

It’s not a matter of if but of when US-based tech giants lose their grip on information space abroad. The only question that remains is how much damage they’ll be able to do in each respective country, including Thailand, before that grip loosens.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

CONSTRUCTING THE NARRATIVE: GOOGLE USES SPECIAL MEASURES TO LIMIT SPREAD OF NON-MSM NEWS

Constructing the Narrative: Google Uses Special Measures To Limit Spread Of Non-MSM News

Jen Gennai speaking to the Project Veritas undercover investigator. Click to see full-size image.

On June 24th, investigative website Project Veritas released a video showing a Google whistleblower talking about the tech giant’s activities in avoiding a “Trump Situation” happening once more in 2020.

Embedded video

James O’Keefe@JamesOKeefeIII

BREAKING @Project_Veritas: Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020 on Hidden Cam — FULL VIDEO AND BACKUP: https://www.projectveritas.com/2019/06/24/insider-blows-whistle-exec-reveals-google-plan-to-prevent-trump-situation-in-2020-on-hidden-cam 

8,862 people are talking about this

An interesting fact is that YouTube is actively downing the video and its mirrors.

Project Veritas website was under attack around 21:00 GMT+0 and was inaccessible.

In the video, the whistleblower describes that Google has the ability to avoid a new “Trump situation” in 2020 by throttling conservative voices across its platforms, the company’s executives were willing to employ their capabilities, the whistleblower suggested.

In addition to the whistleblower’s testimony, the video shows documents, as well as an undercover video of a senior Google executive – Jen Gennai.

“They’re going to redefine a reality based on what they think is fair and based upon what they want, and what and is part of their agenda,” the Google insider said.

In the video, Google’s Head of Responsible Innovation Jen Gennai criticizes Elizabeth Warren’s “misguided” suggestions on “breaking up Google”. She explains “smaller companies don’t have the resources,” unlike Google, to “prevent the next Trump situation.”

Gennai works in the same division run by Kent Walker, a Google VP who assured employees “history is on our side”. Gennai says the following in the video:

“Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided. Like that will not make it better it will make it worse. Because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation. It’s like, a small company cannot do that.”

“We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us. It was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like. Everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, ‘what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again?’”

“We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”

According to the insider, after Trump’s election in 2016, the company completely changed:

“Right after Donald Trump won the election in 2016, the company did a complete 180 in what they thought was important,” he said. “Before, they thought self-expression, giving everyone a voice was important, but now they’re like hey, there’s a lot of hate, and because there’s a lot of hate and misogyny and racism, that’s the reason Donald Trump got elected. And so we need to fix that.”

How?

“We need to start policing our users because we don’t like to have an outcome like that. We don’t want to have an outcome like that happen again,” he said.

Project Veritas posted what were identified as internal Google documents on “machine learning fairness” and “algorithmic unfairness,” which was defined as “unjust or prejudicial treatment of people that is related to sensitive characteristics such as race, income, sexual orientation, or gender.”

“The reason we launched our A.I. [artificial intelligence] principles is because people were not putting that line in the sand, that they were not saying what’s fair and what’s equitable so we’re like, well we are a big company, we’re going to say it,” Gennai said.

What does “fairness” mean to Google?

“Fairness Is a dog whistle. It does not mean what you think it means,” said the anonymous insider.

“What they’re really saying about fairness is that they have to manipulate their search results so it gives them the political agenda that they want,” he said. “And so they have to re-bias their algorithms so that they can get their agenda across.”

According to James O’Keefe, Project Veritas head and founder, what google was doing sounds more as “Social engineering” and less as “Search querying.”

Some of the presented alleged Google documents suggested that search results can be used to promote political agenda.

Typing “women can” into the search engine provides auto-completed results empowering to women.

Conversely, typing “men can” provides results intended to break gender stereotypes.

Constructing the Narrative: Google Uses Special Measures To Limit Spread Of Non-MSM News

Click to see full-size image

Constructing the Narrative: Google Uses Special Measures To Limit Spread Of Non-MSM News

Click to see full-size image

Some of the other shown documents provide alleged evidence that Google actively prioritizes some news publishers over others.

One document titled “Fake News-letter” promotes a goal of establishing a “single point of truth” for the definition of “news”. Google says it removes “low-quality sources” and “misinformation”.

“We have gotten accusations of around fairness is that we’re unfair to conservatives because we’re choosing what we find as credible news sources and those sources don’t necessarily overlap with conservative sources …” Gennai said.

According to the insider, “establishment-unfriendly” content creators like David Rubin are routinely suppressed because they’re tagged as “right wing.”

“What YouTube did is they changed the results of the recommendation engine. And so what the recommendation engine is it tries to do, is it tries to say, well, if you like A, then you’re probably going to like B. So content that is similar to Dave Rubin or Tim Pool, instead of listing Dave Rubin or Tim Pool as people that you might like, what they’re doing is that they’re trying to suggest different, different news outlets, for example, like CNN, or MSNBC, or these left leaning political outlets.”

Embedded video

Dave Rubin

@RubinReport

“Talkshow host Dave Rubin’s videos received heightened analysis in the artificial intelligence program Viacon. Viacon polices YouTube distribution, singling Prager and Rubin out as “right wing” and “news talk.”

Wanna chat, @SusanWojcicki?

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Content creator Lauren Chen backed up the whistleblower’s claims, saying that her popular videos were getting fewer views and they weren’t being recommended by the system any longer.

Lauren Chen

@TheLaurenChen

Finally, in February 2019 after YouTube’s announcement, our recommended views dropped even more.

Again, these number don’t speak to the TOTAL number of views I was getting (that number has fluctuated), merely the proportion of them that the algorithm was responsible for.

View image on Twitter

Lauren Chen

@TheLaurenChen

As it stands, channel like mine are in YouTube purgatory.

Our channels aren’t deleted, but we’re not growing since our content isn’t being offered to new viewers.

YouTube is filtering what it recommends through an ideological bias.

This is NOT how “platforms” behave.

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Scott Adams called Google “the Gatekeepers to reality” and that they weren’t credible.

Embedded video

James O’Keefe@JamesOKeefeIII

Check out @ScottAdamsSays Reaction to today’s @Project_Veritas Google insider and undercover report. “The gatekeepers to reality are not credible.” MORE insiders can contact us: http://www.projectveritas.com/brave 

1,731 people are talking about this

Finally, the whistleblower said that US Senator Josh Hawley is currently fighting to strip social media platforms like YouTube of their Section 230 protections.

The insider said that Google violates “letter of the law” and “spirit of the law” on Section 230

“With Section 230, tech companies get a sweetheart deal that no other industry enjoys: complete exemption from traditional publisher liability in exchange for providing a forum free of political censorship.

There’s a growing list of evidence that shows big tech companies making editorial decisions to censor viewpoints they disagree with.

Even worse, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy because these companies refuse to make their protocols public. This legislation simply states that if the tech giants want to keep their government-granted immunity, they must bring transparency and accountability to their editorial processes and prove that they don’t discriminate.”

If that decision is made, big tech companies and their platforms, such as YouTube, Google, Twitter, etc. will have the ability to earn immunity, instead of receiving it automatically under Section 230. They would have to prove to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by “clear and convincing evidence” that their algorithms and content-removal practices are politically neutral. Nonetheless, even if this formal decision is made, it does not mean that the situation will become different because there are multiple options to censor independent point ofviews for companies like Google.

While the Google whistleblower quoted by Project Veritas speaks mostly about “Trump Situation”, there is little new in scripted censorship of independent points of views on plantforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Since the very start of the conflict in Ukraine, Google has been increasing pressure on independent media organizations limiting their views and censoring the most popular videos. For example, SouthFront has repeatedly faced blatant censorship attempts on YouTube and overcome them thanks to your support. Nonetheless, the technical measures employed by YouTube has drastically limited SouthFront videos’ views on the platform.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

How Google Wipes Palestine Off the Map

Astute News

Like the other Silicon Valley monopolies, Google habitually takes the side of Israeli occupation and war crimes in Palestine – the very term Palestine is not used by their highly influential maps app.

A new report by a Palestinian human rights group last month exposed the depths of Google’s dedication to the Israeli occupation.

With a known history documented back more than 3,200 years, the name “Palestine” is the only term continuously used for the entire territory of the country lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Palestine is the most historically accurate term. But since 1948, when Zionist militias expelled the majority of the Palestinian population from the country by force, a new state, “Israel”, was established.

That state has never declared its borders.

Consequentially, when speaking about “Israel” it is unclear exactly what territory is being referred to. But Zionists of both the right…

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