“YouTube is modifying its search algorithms to prevent conspiracy theories and fake news videos from making it to the top of its search results, following outrage over the high visibility of videos spreading misinformation about the Las Vegas mass shooting, the Wall Street Journal reports.”
We know that Google seems to be doing this kind of thing, altering algorithms to push to the bottom of the search results anything that conflicts with The Narrative. I find this whenever I do web searches, even when using alternative search engines like duckduckgo or Startpage or Ixquick. They evidently use Google results but supposedly refrain from tracking the user or collecting and storing data about the user. And YouTube/Google have proven to be, in effect, just another arm of the government, enforcing ‘political correctness, attempting to stifle anything that questions the official Narrative.
There is still a large segment of the right, or should I say the ‘right’, that strongly oppose anything they deem a ‘conspiracy theory’, and generally it’s just good sense to exercise discernment when we come across speculations from people on the Internet or IRL. As the saying goes, “don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out,” but on the other hand, it is wrong for the Powers That Be to ‘protect’ us from conspiracy theories or other speculations about ‘what really happened’ in events like the Vegas shooting.
The Vegas shooting? Some out there would say that there was no such event; it was all a staged ‘psy-op’ involving ‘crisis actors’ and lots of fake blood and false testimonies from phony ‘witnesses’. We’ve heard this about any number of other shocking events.
If this is the case, are we likely to ever find incontrovertible proof of such fakery? Would TPTB be so careless as to fail to cover their tracks? I think that at the very least it is a dead end to speculate about such events being staged.
Nevertheless I don’t like anybody, YouTube or anyone else trying to suppress speculations which conflict with the official narrative.
There are many people who dismiss conspiracy theories per se, regardless of their merits or lack thereof. There is a tendency on the part of these people to go into knee-jerk mode when anyone even hints at a mystery regarding some event. It’s easy to scoff without even hearing the other side, a tendency to shut out anything that would raise questions or suspicions. Some people can’t stand a mystery and would prefer to close their eyes and ears. And the media have fostered this attitude in many cases. The media’s function seems to be to put across the ‘correct’ scenario, and in doing this, they are quick to ridicule anyone who differs with the official line.
Those in power do not like conspiracy theories or conspiracy theorists, though they concede, as in this paper, that some conspiracies do happen and have happened. Sunstein and Vermeule in the linked paper say that some conspiracy theories pose ‘risks’ and should be ‘dispelled’ or ‘rebutted’, and one of the means suggested was infiltration:
“Some conspiracy theories create serious risks. They do not merely undermine democratic debate; in extreme cases, they create or fuel violence. If government can dispel such theories, it should do so. One problem is that its efforts might be counterproductive, because efforts to rebut conspiracy theories also legitimate them.
We have suggested, however, that government can minimize this effect by rebutting more rather than fewer theories, by enlisting independent groups to supply rebuttals, and by cognitive infiltration designed to break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracy- minded groups and informationally isolated social networks.”
With the Internet being the main source of many such ‘risky’ theories, it would seem the Internet — blogs, YouTube, forums, social media — would be a target for infiltration. We know that there are paid operatives on the Internet; other countries employ them, and certainly ours has done. Spreading disinformation and sowing discord and confusion amongst various dissident-leaning groups is something that has been discussed.
“One promising tactic is cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. By this we do not mean 1960s-style infiltration with a view to surveillance and collecting information, possibly for use in future prosecutions. Rather, we mean that government efforts might succeed in weakening or even breaking up the ideological and epistemological complexes that constitute these networks and groups.
How might this tactic work? Recall that extremist networks and groups, including the groups that purvey conspiracy theories, typically suffer from a kind of crippled epistemology. Hearing only conspiratorial accounts of government behavior, their members become ever more prone to believe and generate such accounts. Informational and reputational cascades, group polarization, and selection effects suggest that the generation of ever-more-extreme views within these groups can be dampened or reversed by the introduction of cognitive diversity. We suggest a role for government efforts, and agents, in introducing such diversity. Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”
So, some of those spreading bizarre theories may be these operatives, and anybody who stirs up discord and division, pitting one group against another is not trustworthy in my opinion. There are blogs where certain individuals specialize in expressing over-the-top ideas and causing divisions that way; some stir up animosity based on region, ethnicity, sex, or age group. I’ve noticed some blogs which seem rife with this kind of thing and it is demoralizing. Whether the people who stir things up are paid operatives acting according to plan, or whether they are ‘genuine’, yet polarizing and divisive naturally, the effect they have is toxic; they may as well be paid political operatives or provocateurs, for all intents and purposes.
I disagree with banning conspiracy theories, even though I find some of them bizarre and unhelpful. Opposing such discussion usually leads to more conspiracy theorizing, because it has the feel of the heavy hand of the Powers That Be, and it fuels more suspicion and cynicism.
However the proliferation, in recent years, of theories about how these traumatic events ‘never happened’ leads to a great deal of confusion; these theories could, in some cases, actually be part of a disinformation campaign, meant to confuse and gaslight us, and once we no longer rely on common sense, or trust anyone, or believe our eyes, the likely result is resignation and a feeling of helplessness and passivity. If we can’t know, how can we act? All that is left is to withdraw into our entertainment and distractions, and disengage from any kind of participation in the larger world. I am certain that this is just what our overlords would like for us to do.