• Internet giant seeks control of information.
By Ronald L. Ray —
“Net Neutrality” is not the only danger threatening the free flow of information in cyberspace. Lurking in the background, Internet giant Google has been developing new search engine methodologies, which threaten foundational principles of the World Wide Web and could turn it into an Orwellian wasteland of doublespeak controlled by the Ministry of Truth, as portrayed in the novel 1984.
According to the UK’s weekly international science magazine New Scientist, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links.” And while that sounds noble, it is anything but. Make no mistake. Google’s efforts are aimed ultimately at controlling what and how much information can be found on the Internet.
The present ranking system for websites is based fundamentally on their popularity. That is, the more incoming links to a web page, the higher it climbs in search engine rankings. New Scientist calls this approach a “proxy for quality.” And obviously, it is problematic.
All kinds of computer programs and individuals spend much time goosing the system through “search engine optimization”—basically, using house rules to beat the casino, like counting cards in blackjack. What happens is that many good sites languish, while others of possibly dubious quality shoot to the top of the list. That’s where Google’s new algorithms, which are reportedly not yet operational, come into play.
The concept is to rank websites not by “reputation” as measured by links, but by “trustworthiness” of what is presented as fact. Google already has built a massive database, called its “Knowledge Vault,” which archives billions of items of information it considers reliable “facts.” The new ranking system under development would build on that beginning and take it to a revolutionary level.
But Google’s efforts contain fundamental flaws which are either intentional—in which case, evil—or capable of exploitation like the present system—in which case, just plain stupid and even dangerous.
First, the methodology appears to employ circular logic, which it cannot truly overcome, in its attempt to quantify quality. Google researchers state, “[W]e believe a source is accurate if its facts are correct, and we believe the facts are correct if they are extracted from an accurate source.” It’s like a gerbil running forever on one of those little wheels—a self-perpetuating error.
Second, and more important, is the question of who decides what is “true” or what is a “fact.” This is the disturbing heart of the matter. Judging by discussion of this issue, and similar propaganda efforts already online, such as Emergent and FactCheck.org, only certain opinions of controversial issues will be deemed “factual” enough to rate high on Google. And what gets through will be either mundane or deliberately deceptive by way of half-truths.
Truly factual reports about the dangers of vaccinations or the Keystone XL oil pipeline, doubts about “global warming” or alternative views of the alleged Jewish “holocaust,” along with investigative reports about controversial events like 9-11, would end up buried, while Big Government and Big Business would have a monopoly on available information. Google’s new algorithms would even be able to refashion history in a dynamic way, based on current prejudices. This is due to the deliberate ideological biases built into Google’s existing knowledge base, which promote New World Order totalitarianism to the benefit of piratical plutocrats.
Google’s new ranking system is the infrastructure of the memory hole.
For the moment, there are still alternatives, like Yandex and DuckDuckGo. And, most importantly, one can subscribe to AMERICAN FREE PRESS, America’s Last Real Newspaper. We promise to bring you the truth. Always.
Ronald L. Ray is a freelance author and an assistant editor of THE BARNES REVIEW. He is a descendant of several patriots of the American War for Independence.
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