Friday, October 14, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Google's "Fact Check" is a pathetic effort to distort the news

Today, Google News started to use a new label under some articles, "Fact Check", see articles about this new "feature".

Some websites helpfully, frankly, and realistically explain that this "feature" was introduced in order to label Donald Trump a liar and to help to spread the "progressive" ideology. Google claims to believe to be able to decide which articles are true and trustworthy. And the company must think that the users of Google are buying that.

Can you design an algorithm that determines whether a newly constructed sentence describing the recent events (or latest scientific research, for example) is true or false? Well, the world and the scientific research would be easy if it were so. You would write an article saying that the dark matter is made of axions, applied your algorithm on the article, and you would know whether dark matter is composed of axions.

But it's obviously not the case. No finite rules of this kind can be trusted. Ad hominem arguments don't work. Claims of "verification" by loud people or rich people or papers sold to many consumers don't significantly increase the probability that the proposition is true, either. Verification by several (similar) people or websites doesn't achieve it, either, because they're routinely doing similar mistakes or tricks.

At most, this policy may strengthen the ego of self-invited "owners of the truth" and "fact checkers". Needless to say, there are many more such people among the "progressives", so to trust their "claims of having fact-checked things" means nothing else than to make the "progressive" articles look more reliable than the others.

And I am confident that most Westerners may actually see through these cheap tricks.

There are examples of the self-appointed fact-checkers' mistakes all the time. In fact, the self-confident self-appointed fact checkers are as frequently wrong as the people whom they criticize – if not more so. I could offer you lots of examples from science and politics as well as lots of recent political examples.

Just one funny example. Gary Johnson, a left-wing candidate for the Libertarian Party, didn't know what Aleppo was during an interview at MSNBC. The people – The New York Times – making fun out of him and pretending to be 3 categories above Johnson should know better. But The New York Times actually wrote:

“What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the Syrian city that is the de facto capital of the Islamic State.
That's embarrassing because Aleppo isn't a de facto capital of the Islamic State. The de facto capital of the Islamic State is (Al-)Raqqah (the only terrorist where I find the "Al" appropriate is Al Gore) which is (or was) in Syria. The main Iraqi city of ISIS is Mosul.

This serious untruth spread by The New York Times is arguably worse than the ignorance of Gary Johnson because Gary Johnson at least wasn't pretending that he was well-informed about Syrian issues. The New York Times did want to make this (ludicrous) claim.

And the claim that these New York Times writers have a clue about Syria is ludicrous, indeed. When they were notified that the "ISIS capital" claim is complete rubbish, they softened the formulation and edited the sentence above:
“What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the Syrian city that is a stronghold of the Islamic State.
When a famous newspaper edits such a thing, the new version of the sentence must be really reliable and careful, right?

The only problem is that even this "fixed" version is still complete rubbish. Aleppo isn't a stronghold of the Islamic State, either. Aleppo is a city whose majority is held by the Syrian government. Mainly the Eastern part of the city is controlled by Al-Nusra and some anti-government rebel groups (unreasonably) called moderate by some people. The ISIS isn't a major player in Aleppo at all.

Claims about "ISIS controlling Aleppo" could very well be labeled as "fact-checked" because they were emitted by self-confident but ignorant people who wanted to boast that they know much more about Syria than Gary Johnson – even though they know approximately the same. So the "Fact Check" label would be both likely and harmful here. A support from The New York Times isn't really increasing the probability that the claim is accurate, at least not significantly. Many people have very good reasons why they use different sources of information about many issues than The New York Times.

A Czech article about the new Fact Check Google feature has mentioned that is one of the major websites that claims to "own the truth". The first example is quite representative. An Obama's statement about "refugees" is labeled as superhappily green, true. But this statement is really a pile of crap.

First, when used in a given context, the statement is almost certainly a serious demagogy because it talks about "refugees" but the people whom the statement is actually being applied in real contexts are not refugees but rather mostly economic migrants. The deceitful presentation of the economic migrants as "refugees" corrupts the political discussions and is one of the reasons of some very bad immigration policy decisions made by the Western countries in recent years.

Second, it's ludicrous that these migrants' or refugees' screening is much better than for tourists or that they pose a smaller threat. People who have been given at least the basic data know that. Hillary Clinton is one of them so she wrote that vetting every refugee is impossible. You must be crazy to believe otherwise – especially if you believe such a thing in Germany that has absorbed a million of migrants in 2015.

And what about the dangerous diseases that tourists or refugees may bring to the U.S.? If you're really gullible and ready to abandon all common sense, you may believe that an average Dutch tourist is more dangerous than an average immigrant from the Muslim world. But people who follow news e.g. in Minnesota know better. 296 mostly Somali refugees to Minnesota since 2010 suffer from active tuberculosis, to mention a clear example. Can you show me a similar group of 296 Dutch tourists in Wisconsin who suffer from TB?

I could continue with lots of examples when "fact-checkers" were totally wrong – or lying. At the end, what matters are the percentages. Is the "fact-checked" label positively correlated with the reliability of the information inside the article? Well, I am not sure. The correlation may exist. But the systematic distortion that this kind of a policy causes is surely much worse than the slightly increased reliability of the fact-checked articles.

At the end, the "Fact Check" label is a recipe or preparation for the censorship done by someone else. Some users of the Google News service are encouraged to only pick the officially "Fact-Checked" news. So from the viewpoint of those parties' readers, the non-Fact-Checked or negatively Fact-Checked articles are being censored. Is that really a good idea? Are you really sure that they can't convey an important idea or information that the people should be exposed to? Can't you see that due to the systematic collective bias of the self-appointed fact checkers, news being filtered in this way are becoming distorted as well?

It often looks to me that the left-wing media and their ideological soulmates are trying to restore the regime of the "only allowed opinion" that we have known in the totalitarian countries. But what these leftards are missing is that people in totalitarian societies were forced to behave as if they believed all the cr*p by aggressive sanctions, firing from jobs, and even prisons (and uranium mines).

Hillary's aßlickers, Google, and others: You just haven't conquered the full control over the citizens to the same extent to which the totalitarian machineries have done it. So you simply shouldn't expect that the result will be the same "unity of opinions" that was present in the totalitarian societies. Instead, Google may at most downgrade itself from a company that invented a great impartial algorithm to rate and order pages in the search pages to another company composed of activist leftards.

And that would be a truly sad case of degeneration because Google has done some great things.

Please, don't try to harm a particular candidate in the elections by these tricks and stop collaborating with all those whose self-evident goal is to do so. They're not honest, they're not impartial, they're not really more careful than others, they're not nice, and they are crippling your business. Thanks for your understanding, Google.

Add to Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (0) :