Billionaires get a tax deduction for funding sites spreading disinfo! Google promotes the sites in search rankings getting them more exposure. What gives? Follow the money.
“Right-wing operatives deploy massive network of fake local news sites to weaponize CRT” – Popular Information
“The Metric Media network runs more than 1,200 local news sites. Here are some of the non-profits funding them.” – Columbia Journalism Review
“A nationwide operation of 1,300 local sites publishes coverage that is ordered up by Republican groups” – NY Times
This relationship map connects the dots to see how billionaires used dark money to spread right wing disinformation and get a tax deduction at the same time? How are these articles mass-produced and churned out masquerading as news without disclosing their source of funding nor their hidden agenda? How does such blatant manipulation evade Google’s so-called sophisticated algorithms to stop disinformation? Remember Google’s original but now discontinued motto “Do No Evil”.
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How Google Fights Disinfo (in their own words)
“People come to Google looking for information they can trust. What is disinformation? As we’ve all experienced over the past few years, the words “misinformation”, “disinformation”, and “fake news” mean different things to different people and can become politically charged when they are used to characterize the propagators of a specific ideology or to undermine political adversaries.
However, there is something objectively problematic and harmful to our users when malicious actors attempt to deceive them. It is one thing to be wrong about an issue. It is another to purposefully disseminate information one knows to be inaccurate with the hope that others believe it is true or to create discord in society.
We refer to these deliberate efforts to deceive and mislead using the speed, scale, and technologies of the open web as “disinformation”. The entities that engage in disinformation have a diverse set of goals.
Some are financially motivated, engaging in disinformation activities for the purpose of turning a profit. Others are politically motivated, engaging in disinformation to foster specific viewpoints among a population, to exert influence over political processes, or for the sole purpose of polarizing and fracturing societies.
We have an important responsibility to our users and to the societies in which we operate to curb the efforts of those who aim to propagate false information on our platforms.
That’s why our policies across Google Search, Google News, YouTube, and our advertising products clearly outline behaviors that are prohibited – such as misrepresentation of one’s ownership or primary purpose on Google News and our advertising products, or impersonation of other channels or individuals on YouTube.” Google
Metric Media Network
“Metric Media LLC lacks transparency as they do not have an about page that describes their conservative agenda, nor discloses funding and ownership.” – Media Bias Fact Check
“There are five companies that make up the core of the network: Metric Media LLC, Newsinator (that, according to Iowa state records, has the alternative name Franklin Archer), Local Government Information Services (LGIS), Pipeline Media, and Locality Labs. At least one of these companies has changed its name: Locality Labs was previously known as Journatic and Blockshopper, and reporting by Deseret News says Pipeline Media is the new name for the same entity.
There are two main stakeholders behind this network: Bradley Cameron and Brian Timpone. Cameron, Metric Media LLC’s general manager and president, says he is “currently retained by private investors to develop a national media enterprise,” with no additional information about the identities of these private investors. Cameron is also the founder and CEO of the management consultancy, Situation Management Group (SMG).
Timpone, who describes his business as “software and data,” has long focused on creating low-cost automated journalism, and a This American Life investigation found his previous venture Journatic faked bylines and quotes, outsourced reporting, and plagiarized content. Whilst Timpone denied these allegations in 2012, saying “alias bylines” were limited to real-estate news briefs, a further investigation by Poynter found that this was not true.” – Columbia Journalism Review
TakeAway: Should billionaires get tax deductions for funding sites spreading disinformation? How can Google live up to its own values of fighting disinformation?
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