Our Christmas present to the world on December 24, 2015 was a two-parter called “Our Online Freedom Stripped Away: Films and News that Prove It.” In the articles, we discussed some documentaries and news that have covered the cavalcade of censorship unleashed in recent years and months. These cautionary blog posts not only came on the Eve of Christmas, but on the date of the much-hyped, controversial, and possibly false-flag–related release of the Interview.
Yet you would never know the proper title of our article from your standard Google search results. You would only know that if you were using Yahoo. But who does that? Well, knowing what I’m about to tell you, you might consider making the switch, if you believe in the online rights (or “net neutrality” used in a proper connotation) of independent bloggers.
Let me explain. When you use WordPress, you get a few fun options for what they call Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You get to have the long-form article title, which might be a little bit too long or descriptive, as well as an SEO title that is more appropriate for the Google Search Results page.
For instance, for the article title in question, “Our Online Freedom Stripped Away: Films and News that Prove It,” a good SEO title would probably be the one we chose: “Our Online Freedom Stripped Away.”
And we did just that. However, if you search something like, “modern life online freedom stripped,” our article is the first hit, but the title shown is “Films and News that Prove It.”
Yahoo, however, has not manipulated the title of our article. Perhaps because they’re not burgeoning despots like Google?
We made this discovery recently, actually, while writing our last article, which just so happened to be about the latest move by the FCC to classify ISPs as Title II (or basically as a utility). It’s happening, it happened, it happens. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but most likely, there will be a slow move to edge out independent bloggers like myself, especially those who advocate freedom and criticize government in collusion with corporations. I can’t be sure of this, and it probably won’t be very obvious, because they can curtail our impact by putting traffic to our page in the “slow lane” and prioritizing mainstream news sites that have more of the story the FCC wants to be told. Ironically, this is the very thing that “net neutrality” is trying to protect independent bloggers from, as they claim that Netflix and Fox News are getting too much preference.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, the FCC’s 313 pages of regulations (reminiscent of the impenetrable ObamaCare documentation) have been published. A mainstream news source, New York Times, discussed what has already been occurring that they’re trying to prevent: “President Obama called for the banning of ‘fast lanes’ on the Internet. That practice is formally called ‘paid prioritization,’ and here the commission is banning it.” More about fast lanes from another article before the thing was rolled out: “…deals similar to the recent agreement that allows Netflix to connect directly to Comcast’s system to avoid network congestion.”
Now I’m no expert, but I don’t think anyone was complaining about getting a little bit less lag time on their Netflix. And I swear to you, before I started hearing about these regulations, I was pretty comfortable with the treatment I was getting. Most “preference” that may have been occurring sounded mostly like it was a means of fulfilling customer needs. I swear, I hear more about that Netflix thing, which hurt no one, than anything else. However, now that the government has stepped into it more invasively under FCC title II and there is introduced a source of “case-by-case” interpretation of what preferences in bandwidth use are allowed to be given in what situations, all bets are off. They could shut down my site just because I don’t cater to the blind/deaf, and most people would never be the wiser, as I cannot afford the legal fees to fight their interpretation. In any case, the motivation for allowance of manipulation of bandwidth (which will undoubtedly continue), under a governmental agency’s watch, will probably branch out far beyond consumer needs, and into the territory of edging out political dissent, criticism, and fringe ideas, including those discrepancies so often found in alternative health/nutrition.
However, if this net neutrality thing is legit, then this confusion about my SEO title might be the perfect litmus test to see if they’re looking out for the little guy. I know this more has to do with content provision at what speed and priority or whatever, but you’d think they’d crack down on Google’s manipulation and edging out of websites from search engines. In fact, if this is really here to protect our rights, even though like I said they were already pretty well protected under the Federal Trade Commission and under the more lenient FCC category of Title I, then they should be actively preventing Google’s plan to rank sites/articles by the amount of “truth” they purvey.
It all comes down to who the arbiter is of truth. True net neutrality is about allowing different sources to provide their own take on truth—you know, in true, free speech, First Amendment form. Once you’ve introduced a governmental agency bias, there is too much opportunity for corruption and suppression of ideas that are inconvenient to the government/corporations, who have so much more money than independent bloggers. Yes, it is bad for websites to lie and spread disinformation on purpose, but lies and disinformation can very easily be spread by the mainstream news as well. The net, ironically, in its already existent and inherent neutrality, is already a new kind of enlightenment. It has become a platform where the user has to determine the validity of a source based on the site’s credentials and the user’s own determination of real truth.
In the meantime, we’re filing this complaint with Google. You can’t actually file a support ticket or call them (that I know of), but you can go on this crappy help forum and hope they address your concern. Here’s what our puny protest looks like so far:
So, we’ll definitely keep you updated on this, every step of the way. I am quite convinced that Google did not like our proper article title and thought they could get away with censoring the first part. It’s their search engine after all, isn’t it? NO. It’s the people’s search engine now. At least it’s the customer’s. Yes, they’re a corporation, and they have a right to not serve who they don’t wish to serve, but a household name like Google should be built on integrity that we’ve now proven they have a lack of. I won’t give up this battle until they recognize that they were wrong (or lie and say that it happened by accident.)
It would be really great to talk to the guy who goes through and actually finds these offensive article titles, then truncates them to make them more “acceptable” or “palatable” for the Google audience. It’s probably partially automated for certain key terms like “tyranny” and “freedom,” but there has to be someone who makes a final truncation that will most likely go unnoticed by the blogger. So that’s the guy I’d really like to talk to. That will probably never happen, I’m afraid, but one can dream… And we should—dream, hope, and pray for a better world, where America’s principles of Freedom of Speech and Liberty are maintained, even in a complete Google/Microsoft/Apple/Facebook cyber-tyranny where information manipulation becomes rampant and commonplace.
Header image source: Anti-Google Grafitti in NYC Isn’t Your Normal Google Doodle