By Aaron Kesel
YouTube said Friday it will stop recommending conspiracy videos such as those claiming the Earth is flat, or promoting alternative theories about the September 11, 2001 attacks.
We’ll continue that work this year, including taking a closer look at how we can reduce the spread of content that comes close to—but doesn’t quite cross the line of—violating our Community Guidelines. To that end, we’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.
While this shift will apply to less than one percent of the content on YouTube, we believe that limiting the recommendation of these types of videos will mean a better experience for the YouTube community. To be clear, this will only affect recommendations of what videos to watch, not whether a video is available on YouTube. As always, people can still access all videos that comply with our Community Guidelines and, when relevant, these videos may appear in recommendations for channel subscribers and in search results. We think this change strikes a balance between maintaining a platform for free speech and living up to our responsibility to users.
This change relies on a combination of machine learning and real people. We work with human evaluators and experts from all over the United States to help train the machine learning systems that generate recommendations. These evaluators are trained using public guidelines and provide critical input on the quality of a video.
While the former is a psyop — the Earth obviously isn’t flat and is a spheroid — the latter is the more worrying contention, since to this day there are still valid questions about 9/11. For information on 9/11 that doesn’t quite add up, you only need to watch two of James Corbett’s YouTube documentary films: 9/11 War Games and 9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money.
This also follows the news that a NYC Federal Grand Jury has been empaneled to investigate the claims made by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which will look into the evidence of the World Trade Towers being a controlled demolition operation with thermite.
This YouTube algorithm and policy change further comes as a mysterious group The Dark Overlord (TDO) has claimed to hack “the truth behind 9/11,” by breaching numerous different insurers and legal firms, claiming specifically that it hacked Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties. While not much has come out of the hack, there was one curious document alluding to military intervention in Flight 93, which if you remember was said to have been civilians who brought down the plane in a heroic move, not military intervention.
Activist Post previously reported that YouTube was planning to combat conspiracy-driven videos by introducing informative debunking boxes linking back to Wikipedia and other sources. Although it seems that’s not enough, and now they have to remove “conspiracy videos” from suggested videos as well.
We also reported that since Google was heading towards targeting critical thinkers — demonized as “Conspiracy Theorists” — who ask the difficult questions in its rating guidelines, YouTube wouldn’t be too long to follow those actions. It seems we were right!
Considering that the origination of the word “Conspiracy Theorist” comes from the CIA, I would say using a derogatory word to discuss those who think is dangerous. More modernized, in fact, it is also straight out of the JTIRG playbook that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.
Misinformation is plaguing the Internet, but who is to decide what is and isn’t misinformation? The readers themselves need to, because policing thought and opinion opens a door to the avenue of a Truth Council and information oversight where admins (the purveyors of truth) decide what is and isn’t fact. What happens when one of these people doesn’t dig deep enough and just dismisses something without looking at the evidence, due to lack of information or understanding? Censorship of not only ideas but also people as a whole who are effectively removed from the discussion.
As discussed in this reporter’s last article entitled “YouTube Purge: The End Of Freedom Of Expression Or The Great Awakening For Alternatives?” – questioning is healthy; and as writer Naomi Wolf exposed, you should think before it’s illegal to do so. “It’s no longer crazy to assess news events to see if they are real or not real,” she stated in the video below. As history has shown through declassified documents (overthrow of Mossadegh), leaked diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, and reporting by murdered journalist Michael Hastings who exposed propaganda used against the Senate and Congress, “all over the world, it’s well-established, the State Department intelligence agencies engage in theatre, and it’s what they do, it’s spycraft, to create spectacles and events that people may not realize are spectacles and events…,” Naomi says.
Hastings exposed the use of propaganda to get into Afghanistan in his report entitled: “The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read.” The article was surrounding a leaked unclassified Pentagon report. The report took the shroud off the U.S. military’s psyops operation command revealing several techniques the group uses in psychological warfare to manipulate the public, including but not limited to fake intelligence information, lack of information and social media manipulation, according to Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. The kicker is that not only were those tactics used against the American people but the tactics were used against Senators.
It is an extremely worrying fact that the Military Industrial Complex would manipulate elected officials with fake news, especially considering that propaganda wasn’t legalized in America again until 2012. Previous legislation had been passed to protect citizens during the Church Committee hearings as part of a series of investigations into intelligence abuses during the mid-1970s, amended by the Smith-Mundt Act. Smith-Mundt was repealed in 2012 under Obama, as Business Insider reported, “The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public.”
As Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright stated, VOA, Radio Free Europe, and many others “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”
This is extremely dangerous; one perspective might see things in a different way because one person has acquired information, while the other lacks that information. For example, the U.S. government (specifically the CIA) used documented propaganda on the public and uses foreign propaganda against other countries. It’s not just the CIA, other nations’ intelligence services do it too.
While one person might feel that is insane, (and it quite literally is) the other person might know of the previous existence of Operation Mockingbird, which used CIA-employed journalists to produce fake stories during the Cold War-era 1950s through 1970s. They also funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as front organizations. This CIA operation became known as Operation Mockingbird and was mentioned in the infamous CIA Family Jewels collection.
The U.K. smaller equivalent to Operation Mockingbird was known as Operation Mass Appeal. It was allegedly run by MI6 during 1997–98 and exaggerated Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, according to former U.N. chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter. That claim was further exaggerated just a few years later in 2003 when the U.K. government Downing St. produced a fake Iraq war memo that was exposed as being based on academic papers. It is a claim that would never have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for a doctor named David Kelly, one of the lead scientists who called the Iraq dossier a sham. Kelly was later found in the woods, and his death remains a mystery to this day.
Another example is how the media as a whole portrayed a video that was claimed to be from Syria (known as the “Syrian boy hero”) as real but was later revealed by Norwegian filmmakers to have been faked. As a result, the media had to backpedal their story issuing retractions.
Years later, in an unrelated incident, five people were arrested for using children in staged Aleppo videos, showing how dangerous it is to report any information out of Syria, as well as how important it is to have independent free thinkers.
Now, a UN panel (with little media attention) has revealed that the infamous White Helmets in Syria, the subjects of an Oscar-winning documentary, were engaged in criminal activity including but not limited to organ theft, staging rescues, and stealing from civilians. As a further fun fact, the leader of the White Helmets, Raed Salah, was denied entry into the U.S. at Washington’s Dulles International Airport and deported, due to “extremist connections” while on his way to receive a humanitarian relief award at a gala dinner hosted by USAID.
Really none of this should come as a surprise since White Helmets are connected to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which in turn is connected to AlQaeda and Al-Nusra.
Perhaps a better example, and one that doesn’t involve propaganda, which more people can relate to is the situation in Flint, Michigan where water was poisoned due to negligence that was attempted to be covered up by the local government. YouTube as a medium allowed those citizens to have a voice and show the carelessness by their government officials. Further, the government even removed the citizens’ power to sue the state of Michigan over the lead contamination of its water supply.
For a moment imagine that this was called fake; these people would have been ignored far more than they were by the national mainstream media. Policing information is outright reckless and could endanger lives.
Then there is the spraying of carcinogenic chemicals on unknowing residents in the U.S. and Canada by the Army under Operation DEW and Operation Large Area Coverage (LAC) during the Cold War in testing linked to weaponry involving radioactive ingredients meant to attack the Soviet Union. Which, if I am being frank, sounds absolutely bonkers; but if you study history, you will see that this is the least that was done during that time frame, i.e. the infamous program known as Project MKUltra. During that covert program, people all over the place were tested with various experiments, many times against their own will.
So to say that YouTube will link to one source that can be edited by anyone and claim it as the moral high ground of “truth” is crazy, but to then introduce a recommendation block on “conspiratorial information” is outright insanity, which suppresses research efforts.
It doesn’t matter what your views are or what you think about a particular subject YouTube is aiming to censor the free flow of information, and this could be dangerous for a democratic society. This means that channels promoting free thinking and questioning of news events will now face further demoting within YouTube’s algorithms. These actions endanger a free and open society; no one should be able to decide what a user can and can’t search for no individual platform should be able to decide what is and isn’t the truth for their users. While in the same respect no one should be able to decide who does and doesn’t have a voice. (That’s the silencing of freedom of opinion and expression.)
YouTube is walking us straight into George Orwell’s nightmare 1984 through its proposed actions to silence free thinkers deemed “conspiracy theorists.” I will be the first one to tell you some theories are bat shit crazy such as the theory of flat Earth. But that doesn’t mean I want to censor the content. As another example, the rise of an anonymous insider who has been wrong more times then I can count on two hands: Q. However, again I don’t want YouTube as a corporate giant to have the ability to censor anyone who speaks about the Quidiot conspiracy. Because if you give them an inch they will take a mile and begin censoring other topics or even individuals as they already have including Activist Post‘s own YouTube channel.
If someone wants to promote a ridiculous theory they should be free to do so. After all, it’s their own credibility at stake. A democratic society is free and open and full of debates; and while YouTube wants to promote that theories about 9/11 are ludicrous, there are far more dots that don’t add up than they or the general public care to see or admit. (I won’t go into the topic as it would take far too long to dive into, but I’ll make a few quick suggestions of names and events to research – Michael Riconisciuto, John Patrick O’Neill, Bill Cooper, Able Danger, dancing Israelis, WTC7, bombs on George Washington bridge, et al.)
See my article: “The Official Narrative Of 911 A Bigger Conspiracy Theory” for just some of the various evidence against the official story.
It’s particularly worrying that they single out theories of 9/11 — one of the worst tragedies in American history shrouded in mystery — in the blog post. Since, again, there is more that doesn’t add up than makes sense in regards to 9/11. There are several holes such as the various war game drills that James Corbett goes into in detail within his documentary War Games. We may never know what happened on 9/11, but there is way more to it than the official government narrative, and we the people have a right to know or at the very least seek out potential answers.
While YouTube wants you to think the governments of the world aren’t involved in any sort of corruption, “conspiratorial plots,” or cover-ups, history has proven quite the opposite. All of this information now risks being censored under YouTube’s policy and algorithm changes a scary and worrying prospect. It seems as though they want to protect the establishment rather than allow people to freely think for themselves. This is about the human right not to be indoctrinated with information, but rather to make up our own minds. Even if we are wrong about a particular subject (such as those of you who think the Earth is flat), this allows for healthy debate among individuals and the stopping of tyranny or tyrannical rule by dictatorships
For now, at the very least, we can be thankful that YouTube is stating that it will not outright ban all content it designates as a conspiracy theory (yet), despite the recent purge of dozens upon dozens of accounts that are connected to free speech and free thought. There are also always alternatives such as DTube, BitChute, and many others for uploading content. We need to ask ourselves is the YouTube purge the end of freedom of expression or the great awakening for alternatives?
YouTube’s moves against free thinkers could backfire for the company quite severely, because truth is stranger than fiction. Although this writer can agree with YouTube that the world is a spheroid, definitely not flat or completely round for that matter, it is important to have free independent thought and speech. Even if that means I have to share the planet with flat-Earthers or people who believe every crazed murder spree is a false flag attack (granted some might be because Operation Northwoods against Cuba and a memo suggested a false flag attack against Russia during the Cold War using civilians as cannon fodder, so it’s not that insane to suggest.)
The rapid changes we are witnessing with the main drivers of Internet perception has even drawn the attention of one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He noted in an open letter that “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms.” Do we really want those dominant platforms telling us their exclusive version of the truth?
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.