David North, chairperson of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, calls the new search protocol politically motivated and says it is dramatically affecting organic search results.
“While a significant percentage of our readers enter the WSWS directly, many web users access the site through search engines, of which Google is the most widely used. There is no innocent explanation for the extraordinarily sharp fall in readers, virtually overnight, coming from Google searches.
“Google’s claim that it is protecting readers from ‘fake news’ is a politically motivated lie. Google, a massive monopoly, with the closest ties to the state and intelligence agencies, is blocking access to the WSWS and other left and progressive web sites through a system of rigged searches.”
Meanwhile, many activists on the right feel their free speech rights have been restricted, as well. Shortly after the election, the right-wing website Breitbart claimed both Google and Facebook were attempting to defund conservative sites by altering Google Adsense and Facebook Audience Network.
A report from Gizmodo found that Facebook had taken “steps to suppress fake news earlier this year,” even while knowing the moves “disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds.”
While political partisanship often colors one’s point of view on this issue, what is becoming clear is that censorship is no longer relegated to Big Brother or the federal government but may now be outsourced to those who control online information. The gatekeepers of the Internet may not be concerned as much with censoring or favoring right or left-wing news sources as they are with allowing corporate MSM goliaths to control the narrative and safeguard the establishment.
While fringe elements of the left and right may be able to agree in principle about stopping military interventions, ending the Drug War, protecting whistleblowers, etc., it seems the issue most fanning the flames right now is the specter of censorship by an increasingly consolidated corporatocracy that sees the government and giant corporations in a sometimes acrimonious but mutually beneficial marriage.