If you are a blogger who has blogged for some time and has reached a certain level of audience, you will notice that, every now and then, your pageviews get a bad hammering overnight.
This is, I am told, due to Google. Whenever Google operates a readjustment of its search criteria that is relevant to your content, you might have been “downgraded” by the new criteria, becoming less visible to the Net and therefore less clicked.
Normally, you will notice that in a matter of very few weeks things “normalise” and go back to the original figures. This is because Google search criteria are, so to speak, “self healing”, and get to recognise the “relevance” of your blog, making it more visible for a wider range of key words used by end consumers.
Now, if this is true – and I think it is, after browsing the Internet – then it is also rather scary. It means, in simple words, that Google can actively steer the “relevance” of the content, and permanently “downgrade” those contents they don't like. Which means that they can subtly but effectively steer the public perception of the reality around them, for example leading them to believe that traditional Catholicism, or opposition to institutionalised sexual perversion, are the pastime of a tiny fringe of basket cases rather than, say, a constant presence in the Catholic world and an extremely well-spread phenomenon.
Of course, Google doesn't monopolise the market; but they dominate it, to the extent that when they change their algorithms, you notice it. Nor can it be said that others, like Bing, are to be trusted more. The only ones who really care seem to be smaller providers like DuckDuckGo and Ixquick.
I am, therefore, more than slightly worried that in the next years we will assist to subtle forms of under-the-radar censorship, the more pernicious because not openly practiced. If you want an example of such subtle censorship look simply at Apple, who last time I looked considered the Manhattan Declaration too Christian for perverts like Tim Cook, and did not even allow the release of the app with the Missale Romanum.
In a world where information travels in many different ways and is not limited to newspapers, magazine and TV channels, censorship can be put in place simply by controlling the access to this atomised information universe.
Yes, if Google begins to, say, slowly push Catholic blogs at the margin of the search results there will always be a number of people searching with other products, or searching with Google in such a precise, insisted and patient way that the information will have to come out. But the mainstream will always be duped, without even knowing they are being manipulated. If, say, Google put articles in defence of perversion in preference to those against by search words like “gay”, “homo” or “faggot”, this will change the way millions of simple and non inquiring minds are going to perceive the reality around them.
We see this happening already in places like Wikipedia, who are a clear example of subtle and, more often, not-so-subtle liberal propaganda; and again we see that whilst their intolerable liberal insolence gave rise to initiatives like Conservapedia, they are and remain the dominant shop, and the go-to site for the great mass of dumb cows and oxes who, in the end, shape our Democracies.
In times of atomised information, there is still a limited amount of channels through which this information can be assessed; virtual bottlenecks, or virtual gates, through which those seeking for information go. Those who held the keys of these virtual gates have an immense power; a power up to now limited by a more or less strong feeling of freedom of access to information, but that will be in future increasingly challenged by the ever-increasing demand for political correctness, with Apple the perfect example of this illiberal, intolerant, repressive behaviour under the mask of openness and tolerance.
Beware of the Key Masters. They can do you a lot of harm without you even noticing.