Google has been utilizing a new algorithm since June. The algorithm is designed to weed out “fake news”, and focus more on “authoritative” sources. Many Left-leaning websites assumed that this would mean Right-leaning sites would be hit the hardest and that Google and social media networks like Facebook would finally crack down on Conservative news sources for “fake news”. Well, it turns out that Google is cracking down on everyone, including websites that take on Social Justice Warrior stances by skewing the way the news is portrayed.
The website AlterNet is the latest anti-Trump, Left-leaning, “Progressive” website to complain about losing half their traffic since the implementation of the algorithm back in June. On September 28th, 2017 the editor-in-chief, Don Hazen, explained…
“It may be hard to imagine anything scarier than Donald Trump’s presidency. But this problem is actually bigger than Trump, and it is a situation that certainly helps him. This story affects you too, in ways you may not fully be aware of—in fact, it affects our whole media system and the future of democracy.
“The story is about monopoly on steroids. It is about the extreme and unconstrained power of Google and Facebook, and how they are affecting what you read, hear and see. It is about how these two companies are undermining progressive news sources, including AlterNet. […]
“But little did we know that Google had decided, perhaps with bad advice or wrong-headed thinking, that media like AlterNet—dedicated to fighting white supremacy, misogyny, racism, Donald Trump, and fake news—would be clobbered by Google in its clumsy attempt to address hate speech and fake news.”
The article goes on to explain how they used to average 2.7 million unique visitors a month, and after the implementation of the algorithm, they’ve lost an average of 1.2 million every month.
They even included a brief chart to show the decline.
AlterNet took the opportunity to beg readers for support for donations since they’ve lost so much traffic in such a short amount of time.
The comment section of the site is absolutely relentless in taking them to task. A majority of their commenters point out that AlterNet brought the decline on themselves by peddling the Russian conspiracy narrative and being so unabashedly anti-Trump.
AlterNet joins other left-leaning Social Justice Warrior sites such as WSWS who have also seen major drop-off in hits due to the new algorithm. This indicates that no site is safe and just about all alternative media across the board have been affected, seeing major drop-offs in hits and suppression of search engine results from organizations like Google and Facebook.
And yes, even we’ve seen a major drop-off in hits that coincide with the switch in the algorithm.
We saw the biggest dip (as indicated in the chart above) on July 2nd, where almost no traffic was getting through to the site. The domain host had no answers and we troubleshooted the problem over the course of a couple of weeks but couldn’t come up with an answer as to what was causing the problem. We eventually surmised it as “traffic throttling”.
Except, it’s a rather odd occurrence in our case because on average between Saturday and Tuesday the traffic is nominal, but between Wednesday and Friday there’s a major drop-off. The fluctuations pop up in various charts, with the inclines being the stats from Saturday to Tuesday, and the drop-offs being between Wednesday and Friday.
While it might be easy to assume that due to demographic fluctuations it’s just young people viewing more content on the weekend (and Monday and Tuesdays), the day-to-day real-time stats show that various articles just aren’t getting hits at all. This ties into what the other websites have been reporting about some pieces being suppressed on the engine or redirected so that the website simply does not see any traffic at all.
Google actually does reveal what content they have been removing from searches in the webmaster tools, and it synchs up perfectly with the real-time analytics on the site. In our case, majority of the content being removed from the feeds are the sociopolitical topics that used to be quite popular on the search engine but are being purposefully suppressed.
A quick example of articles removed from the Google News feed during September and end of August are below, along with the reasons for the removal.
Have you noticed the pattern in the articles removed from the feed? If not, it’s quite simple: The pattern centers around SJWs, censorship, or #GamerGate.
The other information-only articles we produce don’t appear to be affected, and anything non-political appears to be indexed without suppression.
In fact, our walkthroughs still appear to be indexed and even available in the news feed without any problems, such as FIFA 18, despite the fact that it’s about four times as long as the articles that Google removed for being “too long”. A perfect example is the Bungie Kekistan article, which is only 417 words.
Of course, we wouldn’t feel the hammer of Google’s social justice quite as hard as politically motivated websites because politically-oriented topics only pop up on this site infrequently, and they aren’t the main bread and butter of our pageviews. For sites like AlterNet, the issue is a lot more severe and readily pronounced since they rely on politically motivated content, and thus they are seeing major drop-offs in pageviews due to suppression just like WSWS.
Both Google and Facebook have mentioned in the past that they would be cracking down on fake news and “hate speech”, and we’re certainly beginning to see the results of that. Many, however, suspect that this could be Google and Facebook’s way of weeding out alternative news sources and helping keep established, mainstream media outlets front and center.