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As Democrats continue to scramble to explain Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, pundits are fingering “fake news.” Specifically, they claim Facebook and Google tarnished their candidate’s spotless record by propagating disinformation from less-than-reputable blogs across the internet. As result of the criticism, Facebook and Google are now looking to restrict the distribution of “fake news” sites, permitting only approved sources to be shared and found.

On the surface the idea sounds good. Only sources which offer “true” or factual stories could be shared and/or offered by search engines. The problem: who defines what is a “true” story? On what basis? There are good reasons not to trust Facebook or Google to make that call.

Not six months ago TTAG reported that Facebook was censoring firearms-related content on their network. Meanwhile, Facebook’s former employees revealed that the company routinely censored conservative news stories and ideas while promoting liberal news stories. Facebook was performing this process manually, employing people to watch the trending stories and alter their trajectory “appropriately.”

This was an early attempt to filter out “fake news” stories and inject “correct” news stories instead. With the downfall of Hillary Clinton and Facebook’s recent reaction to its critics, it seems clear that Mark Zuckerberg’s baby is planning to make this “filtration” process permanent.

Google is also getting into this censorship — for that is what is — business. According to Reuters, Google now plans to identify “fake news” sites and restrict them from their ad network — choking off their cash supply and driving them out of business. This follows their previously announced plan to identify “fake news” and lower its rank in the Google search algorithm.

Why does this matter for firearms enthusiasts? Facebook and Google “fake news” censorship could leave pro-gun rights web sites like The Truth About Guns out in the cold.

Take it from the editor of a gun blog that Google refuses to accept (and list) as a news source: our “facts” don’t agree with the anti-gun rights mainstream media’s “facts.” Even if the social media giant and the world’s largest internet search engine accepted pro-gun sites’ content as “authentic,” the new policy opens the door to dropping the ban hammer on a website for being “biased” or “extreme.”

By appointing themselves the final arbiters of truth and fiction, Facebook and Google are showing their disdain for the average Americans’ intelligence. They’re propping-up the hugely biased mainstream media. They’re betraying the spirit of the First Amendment. And they’re endangering the right to keep and bear arms.

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76 Responses to Facebook, Google Threaten Gun Rights By Blocking “Fake News” Sites

    • When I heard what Fb was doing to gun publications, I stopped using it completely. I get everything through Newsify now. So much better. Plus, now I don’t have to suffer through pics of someone’s super-relevant craft beer.

    • +1. I long ago stopped using FakeBook, and NitWitter, which I tried for watching over my teens shoulder online.

      There is a new alternative to NitWitter- called GAB.
      https://gab.ai/

      I have no idea why anyone needs FakeBook, except for ego stroking.

    • I left facebook this summer. Deleted all of my posts with a script going back to 2006. It was a catharsis.

      I keep in touch with only one person from that platform that I wasn’t already in regular contact with.

      Life is better.

  1. And Barbara Boxer is introducing legislation to do away with the Electoral College, which would virtually assure the Democrats of a win in every presidential election due to the popular vote being so easily won in the large metropolitan centers, the bastions of liberal asshattery. So much for accepting the results of the election, what a bunch of cry baby whining libtard hypocritical looting turds. Stay strong, TTAG, the shooting public respects all that you do!

    • Agreed, much respect and appreciation for the content they create.

      I only wish we could get a advertising partner that is a true neutral AND not have crazy/gross/malware adverts.

      A guy can dream eh?

    • Legislation? Doesn’t that require an amendment? And beside that, does the stupid broad think anyone is listening to what she calls for? She should resign in protest.

        • You bring up a point I had just not considered because of consuming focus on American politics this month…treaties, and “agreements”. The SC ruled some time ago that an “agreement” between countries that the US implemented as if it were a treaty, is a treaty. Treaties are not hampered by the US Constitution. An “agreement”, or a fully ratified treaty that puts any kind of limit on any enumerated or derived constitutional right is superior. In the extreme, the entire constitution could be voided in operation via treaty (presuming, in the extreme, such a treaty were ratified by the US Senate.

          No matter our internal political voting, all our rights are under threat of destruction through treaties. Just to name one instance, some existing trade treaties require disputes be settled outside US courts.

        • Bull nothing trumps the Constitution or Bill of Right. As the Constitution is the mechanism that ALLOWS treaties a treaty can not change what created the treaty. More demtard BS but they have you believing their BS. They get their ass handed to them in an election and they claim it gives them a mandate to govern.

        • For neiowa – Actually, if you read what our Constitution says about treaties, they DO trump the Constitution wherever they conflict. Aside from avoiding being a party to such treaties, the best you can hope for would be that a new administration would vote to back out of such treaties. But while a treaty is in effect, it DOES trump the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

      • I read the news stories about it. It’s a proposed amendment. It has zero chance of passing even the first bar, which would be a a vote requiring a two thirds super-majority. No way that happens.

      • As I understand it, what’s she introduced is a proposed amendment. It would have to be approved by 3/4s of the state legislatures to be ratified into the Constitution. Given trends in Republican control of governorships and state legislatures, this appears to be a meaningless gesture. Although few if any of her base will understand that.

      • I tend to think Harris will be just as unhinged, but I’m also not from California and admittedly don’t pay very close attention to the politics there.

    • Babs Boxer is just leaving a parting shot. Republicans are in control and her proposed bill will die a quiet death. It’s a death rattle.

    • Wait a sec. It is not a sure thing the dems would win. If Trump had campaigned in all those states there is no telling how many more people would have come out. I don’t want it to change, but I am not sure it would be a slam dunk for a party that has lost touch with real people if it did change.

  2. Old news. Google has has been using search results for some time to insure searches only return certain results, helping push whatever agenda our masters have planned. FB…who cares.

        • “I’ll pay cash.”

          Shame on you. TTAG’s integrity is NOT for sale!

          Uh, how much cash are we talking about?

        • I don’t think TTAG’s integrity is for sale, sh_t I couldn’t afford to RENT it anyhurl.

          If I type something stupid [ya], or if I type something and my fingers don’t hit all the keys hard enough, than I want a redo/immediate action drill mulligan. If not I have to post again right after. : G

          It’s asking a lot, I know, but c’mon, do it for the kids.

        • I was getting more of the Lovecraft flavor, myself. The stars are aligning once more and the great old ones are rising.

  3. News coming from any of the popular social-media sites have the same value to me as news from The Onion. Same with Google, NYT, WaPo, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

    Meh.

  4. For a partisan group so concerned with “true news” they’re certainly spending a hella lot of time repeating the Breitbart = Nazi nonsense.

    Let those who fear shoulder things that go up and think an Internet meme is a symbol of a grand white supremacist movement decide what qualifies as “fake” news. They can manufacture and define out of thin air more “alt-right” boogeymen. As many as they need.

    Yup. Real good idea.

    • G E T

      T H E

      U N

      O U T

      O F

      T H E

      U. S.

      Chase the “sustainability” crowd to Siberia, where they will be eaten this winter.

      • As much as I would like to tell the UN to take a hike, realistically, being in it is a “safer” (relatively) position. I liken it to the bull riding event in a rodeo without the spectator stands. The safest place to be is on the bull. It is an uncomfortable and bone jarring ride but at least the bull can’t gore or trample you while you are there. Plus the dismount can get a little tricky.

        • Yeah, that’s the moment when a smart cowboy takes out his gun and shoots the bull to death.

          We don’t just want to leave the UN, we want it destroyed. Fortunately because we are the primary financial contributor just leaving will destroy the UN

        • Let’s see them do the UN someplace else for a year. Between the f_<king spies, and their sh_t little criminal kids with diplomatic immunity committing crimes and running up parking tickets, I give the UN a year before it eats its own a_ _. Plus the world uses the UN to try to look dignified, let's see them pull it off in Panama, or Cameroon. Make it sweaty, make it dangerous, and the POS f_<kers won't have any of their citizens wantbto come play anymore at twelve times the pay.
          FTW

  5. I think the main differentiator is Editorializing/Opinion sources putting themselves forward as News sources.
    The Daily Show and The Washington Post don’t deserve equal billing. Many of those I’ve seen listed in recent days are inarguably editorializing with clear agendas. Of course one can argue that MSNBC and FOX and many other MSM sources do their own fair share of editorializing. Ideally the difference would be the source clearly identifying what’s verifiable fact and what’s opinion. Whether you agree with a piece’s perspective or disagree, it’s usually pretty easy to identify frequent use of inflammatory or derogatory terms (antis / gun nuts) and other opponent slams as something beyond straight news, even straight news with a slant.
    I’m a huge fan of TTAG and get most of my firearms related news here but it is much more a source of editorial content than news. That’s ok though, well articulated opinions are important too… especially when they’re opinions on verifiable facts.
    Let’s face it. Lots of Americans have a hard time telling when they’re being hoodwinked— whether by people on their own side or the other. Oh I know, you’re the exception, you always know when you’re being hoodwinked. This is entirely about the other guy, don’t you worry about a thing!

  6. There are a lot of ‘news’ sites that should be blocked. I’m not talking about sites taking an editorial stance- I’m talking about sites that list themselves as things like “NBCNEWS” but then use a dot-com-dot-co etc address to purposefully obscure their origin. Others that, in small letters on one section of their website list the disclaimer “News stories are parody and not factual” but then never present that warning on the actual ‘articles’ which purport to be real in every way (and don’t even attempt to be funny- just clickbait).

    And people still spread the stuff without checking it, thereby dumbing down humanity further.

    The best way for facebook to address this would be to allow the posts but to put a disclaimer in bold above it saying that FB has identified the site as a hoax. People can still click through if they want.

    • This is what I think the real target is. The real issue with fake news sites is that they’re often foreign based, hosted on sites like GoDaddy, and are simply there for click-based revenue, and often closely imitate “legit” news sites by scraping them and rehosting it. This is far different from sites like TTAG, TFB, etc., or even MSM sites like CNN. TTAG doesn’t publish hoax articles intended to bait people into clicking through (a recent example would be an “article” claiming that a Shillary staffer was found in a suspicious murder/suicide just days before the election… the “article” quoted a made-up sheriff of a made-up town about the completely fabricated event).
      Now, if you were making the case that Facebook is engaging in social manipulation by suppressing free speech/opinions by sites such as yours, heck yes I would completely expect that type of behavior from them. Without a doubt. What’s being discussed here though, is not that.

  7. It’s hard to say.

    I’m a digital marketer by trade at this point in time and I’ve got a huge insight on how google and SEO works, and I can tell you that what is more likely to appear are ads more than anything, as ad revenue is what Google cares about the most.

    I see no actual evidence that they are actively suppressing and push “facts” from the MSM about guns. Instead, I see them pushing sales for gunshops / websites that spend to advertise with Google 😛

    Edit: Granted, this is all subjective and probably requires more research to look into to get an active idea of what keywords and search term triggers everything, but I’m not being paid enough to look into that xD

    • So WHO actually cliks on these BS popup ads and actually BUYS some/anything? No one?

      So how do “media marketers” con these wannabe hipster Corp types into blowing millions of $ on the nonsense? Google HAS no value. Dutch tulips.

  8. Only news they want us to see.

    How long before its used to “Protect us” and “Keep emotions calm” “Protect from libel”

  9. “Google is also getting into this censorship — for that is what is — business.”
    ” They’re betraying the spirit of the First Amendment.”
    “And they’re endangering the right to keep and bear arms.”

    Nope.
    Nope.
    And, Nope.

    A business that is refusing to print, report, blog, broadcast, or publish is well within the First Amendment. In fact, freely exercising the First Amendment by NOT speaking certain things. A business cannot threaten your rights under the Second Amendment, either. Your “rights” are constitutionally protected from interference by government. Do we really need to go into explaining all this to TTAG?

    Really?

  10. I wouldn’t mind seeing them blocking sites that completely make up plausible-sounding news stories under the guise of “satire” because those are piss-annoying and stupid, but you just know their idea of fake news translates to “any news reporting or news aggregate website that disrupts, interferes or contradicts our approved social & economic justice narratives.”

  11. TTAG is not a news site IMO — it’s a gun blog. You report some news, but always (usually) link to an actual news website for the story as well. You share opinions about guns – that’s not really “news”. There are fake news sites out there, that purport to be real news, but in turn it is fake and mostly (or entirely) made up. It’s called click-bait – and it is annoying. At least when CNN reports something, you know going in it will have a left spin on it as part of their conditioning US citizens process (alone with FB, etc.) but the basis of the story is real (probably).

  12. By the way – my adblocker blocked 44 ads simply responding to this single post above. Get it under control TTAG! It is by far the worse site on the web for ads of all the sites that I frequent. Quit spamming all of your visitors. I stopped coming here altogether until I got adblocker. Now at least I can read without all that spam and click-bait!

  13. Once money is more valuable to the institutions, businesses, and corporations than the credibility and accuracy of the content, well then it should be stated upfront that institution is no longer based on facts.

  14. So if Facebook and/or Google decide a website is “fake” and the site has proveable sources and citations can that site sue for libel since they are effectively branding those sites, their reporters and owners liars?

  15. The big under the radar move recently was the big change over at youtube. By “under the radar” I mean that people did not identify it as a form of censorship – it was in fact a big deal. Now, monetized content can be de-monitized for any and no reason at all and youtube is being anything but transparent about the hows and whys. The excuse of a violation of “terms of service” is the trojan horse whereby they can level the ax on any and everything the great “they” do not like. So much for “you” tube. It should be renamed to “our” tube.

  16. Wow the system was rigged BEFORE the latest election-and the Hildebeast still lost. Looking to FB for support is insane. Implied in this “crackdown” is the unwashed masses are too stupid and gullible to differentiate real and fake. And they may be right(Idiocracy)😄

  17. The only fake news I saw during this election cycle came from mainstream media and pollsters with NYTs, MSNBC & CNN at the head of the list.

  18. Neither Google nor Facebook – or Twitter or Snapchat, for that matter – are news sources.

    They are entertainment (and with Google, some search thrown in) venues. They can provide news, but that’s a secondary business for them and they have every motive to be biased – it’s more profitable to tell most people what they want to hear, than what they’re not comfortable hearing.

    And, as non-government privately owned entities, they have the right to censor and otherwise control their content, even that provided by users. Just as TTAG does – and does, with a generally light touch imo.

    But expecting unbiased news from them? Nope. Not in the mandate. So it can happen but no reason to expect it.

    • Giggle, Fakebook, as ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/NYT/AP/etcetcetc, are Pravda of the demtards progressives with an attempt at self funding thru an attempt at faking capitalism. Today all exist to promote and advance and promoted the dem party. The funding piece has totally failed at the newspaper and largely at the broadcast TV. The Ponzi scheme appears to work for the internet fakers.

    • Google may be private but it has taken government money, and by doing so, should be tied against infringing on rights.

  19. Speaking of propaganda, what about the fact that Eric Schmidt, the guy who freaking runs Google, was working as a full-blown campaign-strategist-cum-intelligence-officer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Claiming in leaked emails to be actively using “corporate resources” to influence the voting patterns of every voter (so whatever profile info Google had on you was likely being secretly used to benefit Clinton). A veritable billion-dollar illegal in-kind donation that will never be disclosed. Deciding for the Beast very basic strategy items like the placement of campaign offices, and apparently heading up an entire parallel communications apparatus discrete from official oversight (there’s a reason all of Hillary’s and Obama’s inner circle used gmail addresses or private servers). The very same campaign actively aided by countless conflicts of interest with media persons and organizations.

    But I think the insider traders know exactly what’s up. That’s why tech stocks have been tanking ever since the election while the rest of the market is seeing the strongest upward moves in a year. They know the crypto-fascist relationship between Silicon Valley and the Democrats is either over, or will not be benefiting their industries for the time being.

    • If I were an investor in Google, sorry, Alphabet, I’d be rather upset about this regardless of whether I’m (D), (R), (I), (G), (L), or some other letter parenthesed letter.

  20. Just after Obama was elected in 2008, this was posted online:

    “It’s been almost a week since the election, and maybe you’re ready to throw off the sackcloth and ashes and get to work. Combining the anger, bargaining, and depression stages of grief can lead to powerful actions, and now is the time to channel that energy into specific activism that will serve as a barrier between you and whatever legislation and policies come down in the next four years.”

    Just kidding.

    That was posted 11/15/16.

    From: http://theslot.jezebel.com/how-to-effectively-lobby-your-congressperson-1788958124

    Had someone posted those words following Obama’s election, what would the reaction have been?

    The remainder of the article is nothing more than a manifesto about how to try to enact change via (basically) harassment. Had any Republican-leaning media outlet posted or published this if Hillary won the election, what would the reaction have been?

    This isn’t about real news or fake news – it’s which side is allowed their 1A rights. The MSM and online media outlets have decided which stories are “news” and what the narrative shall be while also doing a poor job of making any sort of critical examination of the (D) nominee. The online folks are just getting into the same business of filtering what people see. Sure you and the press have a right to free speech – as long as it fits the narrative.

  21. The Facebook approved news sources will all of course be the usual suspects (CNN, MSNBC, Huff Po etc etc), the doubling down of media spin & brainwashing has already begun.

    As to Google, I use Chrome for my browser, it has a feature that when you open a new browser tab, eight ‘thumbnails’ of your most visited websites appear. I am on TTAG a lot, and yet a TTAG thumbnail never appears yet there are thumbnails on there from very infrequently visited sites. It’s very strange to me and is perhaps some sort of Google ‘censorship’.

    Am putting the tin foil hat away now!

  22. I deactivated my Facebook account about 3 weeks before the election and I have been very glad about it since.
    You should try it!

  23. I’ve got an idea…..

    Let’s institute a background check system for news outlets. If you want to be a news reporter you have to fill out a form with some basic information, include in the form somewhere a line about agreeing not to slander or libel others and make lying on the form a criminal offense severe enough to lose your your right to news forever.

    If some states want to use some kind of R.O.I.D. (Reporter Orator IDentification) card/permit system where you can complete the check once and then use the card/permit for a number of years that could be acceptable too.

    You, of course, would have to keep the forms on file somewhere. And they would have to be kept for what is basically forever since there isn’t an age limit on who can report the news. Maybe a simple log book could be used to keep up the checks, something that includes who was checked, when, by whom, where, and if it was approved.

    Think of the benefits this would have! You could be assured that every reporter had been checked to make sure they aren’t mentally ill or verbally violent. You would know they aren’t suspected terrorists or have suspected terrorist ties. You could be assured they weren’t convicted felons who had their right to speech removed when they became felons. How nice it would make the evening news, how you wouldn’t have to worry aboutall the violence that shows up in today’s news feeds.

    Now we just need a victim of word violence to stand up and be the face of this idea. Someone we could name it after….

  24. Rupert Murdoch pretty decisively wrote the get rich quick recipe for media companies entering an arena where the competition is systematically biased…..

    Assuming the Google allegations are true, unless Brin and Page step in and overrule the idiots obviously running the show there now, their legacy will be tainted to the point where the NSA is considered less “evil” than they are. It’s a bloody tragedy.

    Facebook is different. Building an echo chamber for the bicoastals who, via the Fed, has been awarded all there is left of discretionary purchasing power in a decaying West, may well be their best bet, from a business perspective. Us gun guys are just annoying creeps, largely of an un-PC sex, crashing the sorority party. But Google needs to be trusted and seen as independent. Otherwise, they’re just another Pravda.

  25. What a strange situation we find ourselves in now.

    Do we trust market forces to solve the problem?

    Or do we push to subject platforms like Facebook to regulation as if it was a utility?

  26. There should be no censorship on the left or right. It is up to the people to do their own research and reach their own conclusions. Google and Facebook could very well block wikileaks because they were not “verified.” Or Breitbart news because of the wording of their title. There is no clear truth in any news anymore. It all lies in a gray area and one must search and research to reach the truths that they can. Suppressing fake news is a bad idea, because it is directly controlled by individuals who may be biased. Better to give everyone all the news and let them share what they want – and leave them to find the truth.

  27. This Reminds me of Google’s “Knowledge Vault” program to order results by “Truthfullness” rather than relevancy. This includes omitting or changing the results of searches for medical topics relating to side effects/efficacy of vaccines, health risks of abortion and other subjects. They have been doing this for a while. These “truthfulness” attacks on news and politics is their new politically correct pet-project that they are working with while they continue to mine your personal data. I really don’t know why anyone even trusts them anymore. There are other search engines, DuckDuckGo dot com, StartPage dot com, ixquick dot com etc. startpage even has a great private email service. As for facebook, they are just a loony, narcissistic joke.

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