Shadow Banning is in the news this week, with Silicon Valley tech giants Google (YouTube), Facebook, LinkedIn, and Apple all kicking Alex Jones off their platforms in a simultaneous multi-platform purge. Predictably, the Streisand Effect kicked in, sending Alex Jones’s InfoWars app trending to #3 on the download list at the App Store.
Twitter kept Jones on and CEO (and Burner?) Jack Dorsey went on Fox News’ Hannity talkshow, where he claimed they do not shadow ban accounts or target conservatives. If they don’t shadow ban accounts, then why is there this site shadowban.eu where you can type in your Twitter handle to test if you are shadow banned?
Google are good guys, aren’t they? Don’t be evil? They would never abuse their monopoly power to arbitrarily punish sites. They’re Burners, and used the Burning Man logo to promote their company to the tech industry. So they must love freedom, freedom of speech, and radical self expression, right? The goal of their search engine is to put you in touch with the best information…isn’t it?
Well maybe their vast powers of Artificial Intelligence can give me an explanation for what’s going on.
Burners.Me is by far the largest blog about Burning Man on the Internet, with almost 2000 stories written by 30 different people over 6.5 years. We have 270,000+ followers on Facebook, 15,000+ on Twitter, and tens of thousands more who subscribe to every post on email. We’ve been quoted by the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Guardian, VICE, and many other mainstream media outlets. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other sites that link in to our articles.
We have been the #1 blog and #1 post on WordPress multiple times; and frequently in Top 100. This is not just about Burning Man, this is out of all blogs in the world. WordPress powers 27% of the Internet, 75 million blogs
So you would think that a search for “Burning Man blog” would bring this site up pretty quickly, yeah? For most of Burners.Me’s life, we were on page 1 of the search results for this. Now, it’s on the bottom of page 5, behind many smaller and abandoned blogs and some totally unrelated content.
What about a search for “Burning Man“? We have thousands and thousands of pages about every aspect of the event.
Bottom of page 11.
Hmmm. What about “burning man drugs” – we have scores of harm reduction posts by Terry Gotham. We have the actual data about drugs found at Burning Man and drug-related arrests from the Pershing County Sheriff’s office, as far as I know the only location on the Internet with that.
Funnily enough, if you search “Terry Gotham” Burners.Me is on page 1.
Use a proper search engine, duckduckgo.com, we come up 3rd for “Burning Man blog”. As it should be. Accurate search results, not Deep Mind controlled propaganda narratives.
This blog’s a hobby for me. My art project. I started it to share my opinion, not to get an audience. So the consequences of this particular search result manipulation are pretty minor. But think about what it means in context: someone from the Burning Man Project went to someone from Google – possibly direct to the Billionaire Burner founders – and said “do us a favor, mute this voice”? And they did it? No trial, no opportunity to mount a defense, no notification that anything at all had even happened. Not even the courtesy of a label like the “Fake News” people get. All you can see (if you pay attention to such things) is your web traffic go way down, for no apparent reason.
How many times a day does this happen to people that “They” don’t like, and how many messages and voices are getting invisibly tuned out of The Matrix like this? Do they do the same thing to me personally, to my friends, to my companies?
Is it right that corporations should have that kind of power? Is it right that a festival should? One that purports to be all about making the world a better place?
Perhaps there is a genuine explanation for why smaller blogs with less content rank higher. I’m all ears, Google.
What she said: