Folha de São Paulo reports that the YouTube algorithm has found to be giving prominence to videos in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in its recommendations. The findings were published by NetLab, a special unit at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). According to opinion polls, Bolsonaro is on course to lose the coming election, after a catastrophic first term, and the far-right president and his military dominated government has attempted to cast doubt on the electoral process itself, as a means to remain in power. The UFRG study finds he is being aided in this by YouTube, owned by US tech giant Google. It is not the first time the company has faced criticism for apparent political interference in Brazil.
The US government employs many strategies to try to justify its intervention in the internal affairs and violation of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Chief among these deceptive tactics is Washington’s weaponization of accusations that its adversaries violate the freedom of expression. This is quite ironic, given that the United States is the world’s leading violator of press freedoms, according to any consistent definition of the term. And unlike the countries that Washington claims supposedly repress the freedom of expression within their borders, US government censorship of independent media outlets and suppression of alternative voices is global, hurting people across the planet. The Joe Biden administration has in particular gone to great lengths to depict itself as a defender of civil liberties.
The entire archive of On Contact, the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube. Gone is the interview with Nathaniel Philbrick on his book about George Washington. Gone is the discussion with Kai Bird on his biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Gone is my exploration with Professor Sam Slote from Trinity College Dublin of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Gone is the show with Benjamin Moser on his biography of Susan Sontag. Gone is the show with Stephen Kinzer on his book on John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. Gone are the interviews with the social critics Cornel West, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Gerald Horne, Wendy Brown, Paul Street, Gabriel Rockwell, Naomi Wolff and Slavoj Zizek.
The Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube has demonetized numerous independent media accounts, a jarring escalation in the steadily intensifying campaign against alternative news outlets online. Progressive commentators Graham Elwood, The Progressive Soapbox, The Convo Couch, Franc Analysis, Hannah Reloaded and Cyberdemon531 have all received notifications from YouTube that their videos are no longer permitted to earn money through the platform’s various monetization features, as has Ford Fischer, a respected freelancer who films U.S. political demonstrations. No explanation has been offered for this decision beyond the vague claim that “your channel is not in line with our YouTube Partner Program policies” due to “harmful content.”
Social media giant YouTube announced yesterday a host of new measures it says are aimed at preventing any interference in the upcoming presidential elections. Chief among the list it wrote on its blog, is “removing content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.” An example it gives would-be deleting “videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate.” It also promised to “raise up authoritative voices” when it comes to current events and politics by changing its algorithm to show users more credible channels and “reduce the spread of harmful misinformation and borderline content.” Example channels that produce authoritative content, it tells readers, includes Fox News and CNN. It also noted it would expand information panels underneath videos.
An online media company is suing social media giant Facebook for falsely smearing it as a Russian state-controlled propaganda outlet. Maffick, the owner of In The Now, Soapbox and Waste-Ed, has filed a lawsuit against Facebook in a Northern California district court for defamation, intentional interference and violating section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, unjustly causing them economic and reputational harm, claiming that Facebook’s actions represent unfair competitive practices. Go to any of the Maffick-owned Facebook pages, including In The Now ...