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The End of the Virtual Land of the Free

Humphrey Bogart

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Well, I believe I am one of the users that Google is targeting with their new algorithm that blocks content in order to comply with C18.

Over the past few weeks, the Google News Search engine has basically become useless to me and I can't find anything on it. If I search something, it will only link me to a very specific set of pages, most of which are Government.

I typed in "Ottawa" which would usually provide me with a large number of news articles related to what's happening in Ottawa. This was the result:

Screenshot_20230314_073217_Chrome.jpg

Top News from Ottawa: Entirely Links Sports Articles

The Other Links Provided further down the page:

Screenshot_20230314_073229_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_073249_Chrome.jpg

A mix of Government and Official City of Ottawa pages. It didn't matter how far I clicked forward, it was pages of sports articles and official Government pages.

I decided to try typing in some other key terms and typed "Ukraine War" in the News search bar. This was the result:

Screenshot_20230314_073917_Chrome.jpg

Screenshot_20230314_073932_Chrome.jpg

Exactly 2 pages of News, 90% of the articles were from Sky News and ABC and I could click no further. It provided no additional information and was basically useless.



In order to access news and cast a wide net, I am forced to use Twitter, Reddit, and Apps such as All Sides and Digg.

I don't think what to think about this other than to say, this law will have far-reaching consequences and that we are potentially entering an era of unprecedented censorship.
 
As a comparison this is what I get for the same two searches, here in Ireland. Broader results for Ottawa and nearly the same results for the Ukraine War. Make of that what you will.

51543F06-3F94-40A7-AEA0-13F0055AFD60.png41DE395D-6600-4DF0-942B-A593E44FE684.png
 
Interesting. Does it happen if you use a VPN?
The answer is No

I just experimented with it and it's radically different.

Screenshot_20230314_075344_IPVanish.jpg

When I type in Google.ca, here is what I get:

Screenshot_20230314_075751_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_075759_Chrome.jpg

I first need to prove "I'm not a robot" then it allows me to access Google.ca as an "American User". These are the search results I get when I type in "Ottawa":

Screenshot_20230314_075519_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_075527_Chrome.jpg

Screenshot_20230314_075535_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_075549_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_075605_Chrome.jpg



I get pages and pages of actual articles, analytics, live social media feeds, etc.

I don't know what else to call this other than censorship.
 


Well, I believe I am one of the users that Google is targeting with their new algorithm that blocks content in order to comply with C18.

Over the past few weeks, the Google News Search engine has basically become useless to me and I can't find anything on it. If I search something, it will only link me to a very specific set of pages, most of which are Government.

I typed in "Ottawa" which would usually provide me with a large number of news articles related to what's happening in Ottawa. This was the result:

View attachment 76771

Top News from Ottawa: Entirely Links Sports Articles

The Other Links Provided further down the page:

View attachment 76772
View attachment 76773

A mix of Government and Official City of Ottawa pages. It didn't matter how far I clicked forward, it was pages of sports articles and official Government pages.

I decided to try typing in some other key terms and typed "Ukraine War" in the News search bar. This was the result:

View attachment 76774

View attachment 76775

Exactly 2 pages of News, 90% of the articles were from Sky News and ABC and I could click no further. It provided no additional information and was basically useless.



In order to access news and cast a wide net, I am forced to use Twitter, Reddit, and Apps such as All Sides and Digg.

I don't think what to think about this other than to say, this law will have far-reaching consequences and that we are potentially entering an era of unprecedented censorship.


You're welcome. Google is for the sheep.
 
I typed Ukraine War using my VPN, here are the results:

Screenshot_20230314_080951_Chrome.jpg

Screenshot_20230314_081006_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20230314_081017_Chrome.jpg

Screenshot_20230314_081158_Chrome.jpg

I didn't post all the screenshots but you'll note my last one says "Page 7" all from a the past day.


You're welcome. Google is for the sheep.

I use a number of other sources as well 😉

But here is the issue: Most people are sheep.

There appears to be, from what I can see, a concerted campaign to control narratives on the Internet perpetuated by our own Government.
 

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There appears to be, from what I can see, a concerted campaign to control narratives on the Internet perpetuated by our own Government.
Don't get conflate this google spat against C-18 with C-10 and censorship- this is Alphabet flexing to push back on having to pay for content. In their eyes content is supposed to pay them.

Not defending C-18, just saying this Google test is a very thinly veiled threat against the government, not the government objective
 
Don't get conflate this google spat against C-18 with C-10 and censorship- this is Alphabet flexing to push back on having to pay for content. In their eyes content is supposed to pay them.
They're both garbage bills but my point is to emphasize how the largest source of News for people is now filtering the content to a trickle as a direct result of Government intervention.

The result is a form of "Prohibition" so to speak.

The people that participate in this forum are generally more inquiring than the average person and more tech savvy.
 
They're both garbage bills but my point is to emphasize how the largest source of News for people is now filtering the content to a trickle as a direct result of Government intervention.
But that's not "a concerted campaign to control narratives on the Internet perpetuated by our own Government." It's a massively powerful corporation openly opposing the government for their own ends by deliberately creating malicious unintended consequences. C-18 may be ill thought out, but Alphabet is not opposing it for the benefit of Canadians. Whether this (or any hypothetical government intervention) is good for Canadians, bad, or something in between, the very existence of this "test" and the power of Alphabet/Meta over our access to information should be a(nother) massive wakeup call
 
"There appears to be, from what I can see, a concerted campaign to control narratives on the Internet perpetuated by our own Government."

Correct. That's whole point of the thing.

The Bill gets google/Meta to pay money to the governments favoured media companies. Its just one step removed from the government giving another cash subsidy.
 
Interesting. I typed in "Ottawa" to Google (no VPN) and I got all sorts of news articles.
 
Interesting. I typed in "Ottawa" to Google (no VPN) and I got all sorts of news articles.
So you're part of the 96% Google isn't testing their filter on. I tested my connection, and I also have full normal new access.

I get Google's position, they provide clicks(advertising dollars) to the media for free, why should they have to pay the media for the privilege of giving the media clicks?
 
Is it safe to say that Bill C-18 is literally nothing but a pain in the ass for everybody?

Does it genuinely benefit a particular party/government/group??

What's wrong with the way our access to internet is now? Why change it?



(If the government would take a day off from being the complete f**king morons that they are...)
 
Interesting. I typed in "Ottawa" to Google (no VPN) and I got all sorts of news articles.
You'll note that Google isn't doing this to everyone. Apparently I am one of the lucky contestants.
 
You'll note that Google isn't doing this to everyone. Apparently I am one of the lucky contestants.

That's because

Jimmy Fallon Laughing GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
 
Is it safe to say that Bill C-18 is literally nothing but a pain in the ass for everybody?

Does it genuinely benefit a particular party/government/group??

What's wrong with the way our access to internet is now? Why change it?



(If the government would take a day off from being the complete f**king morons that they are...)
Have you read about the bill and what it aims to do?

It basically creates a framework by which large "News Intermediaries" (META, Google, etc) will be forced to negotiate contracts with news creators (news papers, broadcasters, etc) where fair compensation for their news will be determines.

Basically, Google and META are getting rich off of the add revenues that come from the traffic generated by people viewing/sharing news created by other companies (Canadian News Media). Basically the government is saying "You're getting rich off of news created by Canadian news companies, but you aren't paying those news companies a cent for their products, that needs to change".

Of note, this won't apply to ALL companies; it will only apply "if there is a significant power imbalance between the news intermediary and the news creator". I don't know where the line is, but basically it means that if you're a big tough news company (which I think would mean something like Post Media), the government is saying you're strong enough to fight Google and you're own, but if you're the "The Pincher Creek Echo", then Bill C-18 would force Google to bargain with your fairly for your content.... but I wouldn't be surprised if the, since Google and Meta are so huge, they consider all Canadian companies eligible (I'm looking at you CBC).
 
I have read over Bill C-18, but honestly it’s not a space I really understand all that well.

Thank You for explaining it in layman’s terms, I think I have a much better grasp of it now.


My question still stands though .. is this bill creating a whole lot of headaches for everybody involved? Is it really needed? Do other countries have something similar in place?
 
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