Stealth Censorship

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke10/23/18
Is “Statistics Shadowbanning” the Latest Big-Tech Salvo Against Conservatives?  •  With perhaps the most significant midterm election in decades nigh, big tech’s censorship of conservatives has kicked into high gear. And while Facebook’s recent purge of right-leaning pages is obvious and has made news, perhaps just as destructive is the stealth censorship. A good example may be the report of WordPress’ “statistics shadowbanning” of Whatfinger News.

Whatfinger is an increasingly popular news aggregator that is run by military veterans; it’s like a non-establishment version of Drudge, only more comprehensive, more conservative, and more interesting.

And assuredly more targeted for destruction.

According to Whatfinger, the blog Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM) and other sites that have contacted Whatfinger, WordPress is now hiding referrals from the aggregator, a strategy that could alienate sites from Whatfinger by making them think it sends them no traffic. This would be a type of shadowbanning, which is “the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned,” as Wikipedia correctly puts it.

And what is the variation “statistics shadowbanning”? Put simply, let’s say a site is sending you 1000 hits a day. Instead of recording and presenting this to you, your statistics service tells you that you have far fewer visits from the site — or none at all.

This is precisely what WordPress, a popular open-source website-creation company, is doing to Whatfinger, reports the aggregator and FOTM. As the latter wrote Oct. 13, “Each day, we get hundreds and often thousands of referrals from Whatfinger, for which FOTM is most grateful. Beginning yesterday, I noticed something odd: There were no referrals from Whatfinger!”

It doesn’t seem that this was a mere glitch, as FOTM reports that WordPress stats were still presenting hits from other entities — just not Whatfinger. Moreover, it’s not just FOTM reporting this odd phenomenon, either. As Whatfinger wrote in a statement:

Many sites have now sent screenshots, sites that we send thousands of people to daily who are all noticing WordPress ‘shadowbanning of stats’ – we all now need to know the truth. Are all conservative sites targets? Will they blame some algorithm as Facebook likes to do? Can’t be just Whatfinger, since we are new and nowhere near the size of other sites just yet.

As for FOTM’s situation, its administrator provides more detail, writing:

…I went to FOTM‘s stats page, only to discover that WordPress had changed the referrals of the day before, Oct. 11, to remove all referrals from Whatfinger! The problem is, a day before, I had seen thousands of referrals from Whatfiinger [sic], which now had vanished, retroactively expunged by WordPress.

I then clicked on the referrals for September 29, 2018 — a day when FOTM had a record 35,438 unique views. I remember seeing there were thousands of referrals from Whatfinger that day, which WordPress now has retroactively expunged….

This matters because traffic is websites’ lifeblood — and your apparent traffic level will determine your marketability. Why would people advertise on your site, for instance, if they believe you offer little exposure? No advertising means no revenue, and this means a restricted capacity to spread your message.

Of course, this is precisely what left-wing Big Tech wants to do to conservative sites: wither them on the vine. GoogTwitFace (and WordPress can now be thrown in) also wants to control public opinion and thus defeat the GOP in November, as it seeks to establish leftist hegemony.

Big Tech also no doubt has a very immediate aim, too. The Republicans may be moving toward taking antitrust action against GoogTwitFace. So Big Tech is racing to forestall this: If it can help the Democrats flip the House of Representatives, guess what?

That antitrust threat goes bye-bye.

Then Big Tech can continue suppressing Truth, facilitating tyranny (e.g., Google’s aiding of the Chinese government) and making money via its near monopoly. It’s one dark, malevolent hand washing the other, as the Democrats provide protection in exchange for continual de facto campaign contributions in the form of propaganda favoring their cause and the suppression of any truth contradicting it.

To put this in perspective, imagine living under a tyrannical government that indoctrinates people with an approved ideology and won’t let others even hear your ideas. Under a worst-case scenario, such censorship is essentially what Big Tech could visit upon us, as it now controls the public square. Sure, these would be private-sector machinations and thus wouldn’t violate the First Amendment.

But the practical effect is the same.

You can’t win political power unless you can win the political debate, and you can’t win the political debate if you’re removed from it. A mouth muzzled — whether by big gov. or Big Tech — utters precisely the same thing: nothing.

And that’s all Big Tech wants to hear from traditionalists. Voice of Europe reports that in “the past[,] the account of Whatfinger was already shadow banned by Facebook, Reddit and other sites, according to the owner[,] for supporting President Trump and criticising Islam.”

So that’s Big Tech, advancing little minds and big lies — and inviting big destruction.


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One Response to Stealth Censorship

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Right now, the best approach to this is probably charging fraud. All these sites claim to be objective, and it could be argued that this is a key selling point. When they engage in gross bias in order to censor unfavored viewpoints, they defraud their customers. This is especially explicit if they falsify the statistics as indicated here.

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