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UCOMM gets Censored by Google

Our very popular "Trump plays the Trades like a Fiddle" story gets rejected and this should infuriate you

Kris LaGrange's picture
Apr 11, 2017

Over the last few years, Google and Facebook have become two of the largest purveyors of news. As the reach of Facebook and Google grow, less and less people go to specific news sites to get their news. Instead they just go on Facebook or check Google News to see what news the companies are delivering to you.  While this has created an eco-chamber of news, it also has turned Google and Facebook into a clearinghouse, a short-cut and/or a quick and easy way to get your news.

With the rise of fake news, Facebook and Google have taken up the task of deciding what is real news and what is so called fake news.  This allows two companies that are driven by business and political motives to decide the news that you see and don’t see and what’s allowed to go out within their network. Let’s be honest, it is their network, they invented it, they built it and they found a way to make money feeding ads to their users. According to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich in his book Saving Capitalism:

By 2014, for example, Google and Facebook were the first stops for most Americans seeking news, while Internet traffic to many of the nation’s preeminent news organizations-national newspapers, network television, news-gathering agencies- has fallen well below 50%. The newer the media company, such as BuzzFeed, the more likely it was to rely on Google’s or Facebook’s platforms to attract viewers or readers.  All this has given Google and Facebook unprecedented economic and political power over these critical networks.

As Facebook has come under attack for pushing “fake news” in the 2016 election and Google has seen advertisers leave due to their ads being run on controversial sites and videos, the companies have really clamped down on censoring stories and ads.

After a recent piece on UCOMM Blog that covered Trump speaking at the North American Building Trades Legislative Conference in Washington DC - UCOMM sought to push the story through the Facebook and Google ads network.  This is one way that we are able to expand our readership. While the story was accepted and successfully run on Facebook, Google for some strange reason had some problems with it. According to our digital advertising department, Google flagged the ad as misleading? The image of his popular story is below, as you can see the title is fine, it reads: Trump plays the Building Trades. Like a fiddle, Trump told these men what they wanted to hear, thankfully not everyone bought the con.

This reads like a typical UCOMM headline, nothing misleading at all because the entire piece gave examples of how he did just what the headline suggested; Trump gave a song and dance and offered nothing at the meeting. So the issues we have with Google now raise huge censorship questions.  With Facebook and Google in charge of the largest ad networks, smaller websites are limited in growing to the business and political whims of the nerds at Google and Facebook.  While Google decided that this was a misleading title, thousands of readers disagreed, just go check our Facebook page of union leaders who were at the goddamn Building Trades Convention. Where the F do you think we got the story and headline idea from in the first place?  Further, the article accurately portrayed what went on at the speech and then added personal commentary.  By blocking the ad, Google essentially told UCOMM that our opinion is wrong and misleading and that our readers are stupid. What the fcuk.

As more and more content providers merge together, these issues become bigger and bigger.  For most of the past century, we relied on three TV News Networks and a few newspapers to broadcast the news and we generally believed that it was trustworthy.  With the advent of silly talking head cable news and the internet, news has become more accessible and anyone with a smartphone or webcam can play Anchorman. Stay classy San Diego.

So now that anyone with an opinion or a camera could suddenly become a journalist, these practices by Google and Facebook are putting the power to decide what is and isn’t news back in the hands of a few who don’t work in newsrooms or cover these events. It is no longer journalists or newsmakers deciding what is news but rather lawyers, computer programmers, the cast from Big Bang Theory and algorithms that decide if you should see a piece of news or not. With this harsh reality, the main decider is the company’s bottom line, not the ethics of reporting real news and over time this issue will get bigger and bigger.

So what is it that we’re asking or suggesting here? To all our readers and the many labor leaders who value the work we do is to truly understand this issue. Remember that you read about how “Too Big to Fail” online ad serv providers can hurt working people and that you read it here first. When the time comes, join us in becoming a vocal online and in-person advocate of new Anti-Trust Laws that will keep companies like Google, Facebook, AOL and Verizon honest.

Remember, Trump is “President” because of uneducated people believing the headlines of untrue news outlets that they read on their mobile devices; never forget who delivered them that news. 

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