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The German election is a disaster for France’s Macron: Here’s why

Germany now certain to reject Macron plan for EU reform

Alexander Mercouris

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The election in Germany, which has left Merkel looking mortally wounded and has shattered the German consensus of unconditional support for Germany’s Atlanticist foreign policy and for the EU, is a political earthquake.  One person buried under the rubble is France’s new President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron fought the Presidential election in France at a time of growing disillusion in France with the EU.  He nonetheless fought and won the campaign on a counter-intuitive platform of “more Europe”.  This admitted that EU institutions are dysfunctional and that the eurozone is working against French economic interests.  However it argued that the solution to this problem was not to take France out of the eurozone or the EU but to reform the EU institutions and the eurozone in order to rebalance them in France’s national interest.

To this end Macron during the election proposed some very ambitious changes to the way the eurozone and the EU are run, though the details remain vague.  Here is how Reuters summarises them

Macron has said he would make proposals on about 10 issues including strengthening the economic and monetary union, deepening European defence, reinforcing migration policy and strengthening social and fiscal convergence in the bloc.

Of these the most important obviously is “strengthening the economic and monetary union”, with it widely supposed that what Macron is aiming for is the setting up of a central EU finance ministry and treasury department to complement the European Central Bank on the fiscal front.

That of course is not just a policy of “more Europe”.  It is a clearcut expression of an intention to integrate the EU further, making it still more into a ‘super state’.

Macron has always understood that this very ambitious programme requires German support, and since becoming French President he has pursued policies in France intended to gain that support.  Specifically he has sought to impress Germany’s fiscal conservatives by acting to slash France’s budget deficit, and he has also sought to introduce labour market reforms on German lines intended to make the French workforce, like the German workforce, more flexible.

These policies have come at a high political cost in France where Macron’s popularity has plunged at a faster rate than that of any French President since the creation of the Fifth Republic.

Beyond the predictable unpopularity of the labour market reforms with much of the French workforce, there is also expert criticism that Macron’s emphasis on reducing the budget deficit is delaying essential tax reforms which are of greater importance to the French economy.  Moreover some of these same experts are warning that Macron’s emphasis on budget cutting and labour market reform will at least in the short term reduce the economy’s growth rate, and might aggravate a future recession, causing France’s already high level of unemployment to shoot up.

From Macron’s point of view these risks are worthwhile if on the strength of his domestic reforms he can persuade the Germans to agree to the reforms of the EU’s institutions and of the eurozone that he wants.  As pithily explained in an article in Politico written on 17th September 2017 – ie. before the German election

……Macron’s priority is to help Merkel help him. The French president knows his proposals to deepen eurozone integration can only advance if the German public is convinced Merkel is dealing with a serious partner who knows how to manage his own budget.

This entire strategy however rested on the assumption that Merkel would convincingly win the German election on Sunday.

That of course was an assumption that was widely made.  The well nigh universal neoliberal belief across Europe and North America before the German election was that Germany’s economic success and the weight of German history would make it impossible for a party like the AfD to make significant inroads, and that the only issue in the German election was the size of Merkel’s majority.

Macron’s confidence in this outcome is shown by his decision to roll out his proposed reforms of the EU and of the eurozone in a speech on 26th September 2017, two days after what he undoubtedly expected would be Merkel’s triumphant re-election.  Obviously he hoped to catch Merkel on a roll, so that he could move forward quickly with her after the election to agree the reforms to the EU institutions and to the eurozone that he wanted.

This was always a bad strategy.  Like Tsipras of Greece Macron was in my opinion making the mistake of treating Merkel’s emollient language about his ideas as an indicator that she would eventually agree to them.  In reality Merkel has always acted to block all change to the eurozone or to the EU’s institutions which did not serve narrow German interests or which might be controversial with the conservative part of the German electorate which votes for her.

The fundamental issue is that of fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone.  Conservative German opinion has always strongly opposed this, and so as a result has Merkel.

In practice fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone have been taking place covertly for some time in the form of the bailouts of the eurozone’s weaker members (first and foremost Greece) and of the European Central Bank’s bond buying and quantitative easing programme.

These transfers have already been controversial in Germany (the Greek bailouts led directly to the creation of the AfD), but they have been grudgingly accepted as the price to pay for keeping the eurozone going and because they have been carried out in an informal and unacknowledged way.  By contrast the reforms Macron is proposing – involving the creation of an EU finance ministry and a treasury department – threaten to make fiscal transfers not only formal but institutional.  As such conservative opinion in Germany was always in my opinion bound to oppose them, as ultimately Merkel would have done.

The question is now anyway academic because in her present severely weakened state following the election Merkel would be in no position to agree to the sort of reforms Macron is calling for even she wanted to.  The AfD, which was created to oppose the bailouts, would of course vehemently object, as apparently does Merkel’s likely coalition partner the FDP, whose leader Christian Lindner has already poured scorn on Macron’s proposals and made clear that fiscal transfers are for his party a “line in the sand”.

Over and above the objections from the AfD and from the FDP, it beggars belief that many of the conservative members of the CDU and the CSU would now agree to institutionalised fiscal transfers, which would expose them to further challenge by the AfD.

Though Macron will no doubt go ahead and pronounce his proposals tomorrow, there is now no possibility that they will ever be implemented, at least in the form he wants.

Needless to say that calls into question the whole logic of Macron’s reform programme at home, and indeed of his victory in the Presidential election on the promise of “more Europe”.  Since that is not going to happen – at least in the way he wants – it is difficult now to see the point of him.

The French system makes it all but impossible to dethrone a French President during his term and Macron will no doubt continue to the end of his term, though bereft of point or purpose.  However it is now looking extremely unlikely that he will be re-elected.

In the meantime France looks like it must live with yet another failed Presidency coming after those of Sarkozy and Hollande, and a further period of drift.

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seby
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seby

Let’s hope Jean-Luc Mélenchon doesnt do a Syriza and sell out working people. What’s happened to Marine Le Pen? She only do electioneering, but not the real everyday politics?

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Marine gave up politics to raise her children.

seby
Guest
seby

Really? I thought it was her beautiful niece Marion who did so.

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Dear Seby, Thank you for correcting me.

seby
Guest
seby

Looking more into this, I came across an article that Philippot, her right hand man and one of the best has quit. Very sad reason. The French political scene is more fucked up than I thought. Almost as pathetic as the USA.
http://www.euronews.com/2017/09/21/marine-le-pen-s-future-unclear-after-right-hand-man-philippot-quits

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

She’s a woman ! She got bamboozled ??
Women are easily bamboozled ?? Doubt it ?? Then tell me, how many unmarried mothers, single mum that you know ??

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Is this a census?

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Quote: Let’s hope Jean-Luc Mélenchon doesn’t do a Syriza ??
seby , We in France have a saying ?? “Hope ?? Is the mother of the imbecile”??
Tell me ? In how many politicians,did you had hopes ?? & how many didn’t disappointed your hope ??

seby
Guest
seby

Well I am not sure if I care for the wisdom of a nation with an electoral system that put a rothschild puppet in power. Have a nice croissant.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Humm…You believe in the electoral system ?? A gopher for the dung beetle bloodline, unknown to the majority, without a party, win the election with a score of over 66& ?? When even De Gaulle at the top of his popularity, with a backing of his own party, managed to get a bit over 65% ?? ROFLOL …
BTW Croissants originated from Vienna ??

seby
Guest
seby

I suggest you eat healthier. It’s clear you have too many stress hormones in your body and have a problem listening to what people say. Au revoir.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Shalom !

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Croissant is originated from Vienna, that is correct.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

French is a beautiful language.
Love the French interpretation of the so “important politics”.
Well formulated. Compliment.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

You’re welcome ..

Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

I do think that there will be those in Washington who are quite pleased with this humbling of Mutti Merkel and hobbling of Macron. As we know the neo-con project for global dominance/ exceptional unilateralism coupled with the whole US first, second the third political agenda of Agent Orange, plays straight into the wrecking of the EU or at least having its parts in its pockets, so to speak… There is no evidence that the US deep state has anything but contempt for Europe and its institutions. Clearly Frau Merkel has had her arms twisted on more that one occasion… Read more »

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Europe is moribund, devoid of ideas, a ship with sails in irons. Since WWII it has found direction, and generally success, following the policies of the US. However, this is no longer possible due to the increasingly and obviously deranged nature of US policy. While this is impossible for Macron, if I were in his shoes, I would do whatever I could to form strong trading alliances with Russia and China while distancing myself from NATO and the Atlantic Alliance, while not forsaking the EU. This would, of course, upset everyone, but from my perspective, this is the direction France… Read more »

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Europe was subjected to the full assault of CIA media manipulation and social engineering even earlier than the USA was – starting in 1945. Europeans are just Americans now speaking funny languages.

PhoebeDHarry
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PhoebeDHarry

Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
!sz105d:
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samo war
Guest
samo war

&

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

BYW .. Maqueraux message to France, apply as well to Germany ???
http://pauvrefrance.p.a.pic.centerblog.net/Affiche-macron.jpg

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Manny Macaroni is a disgrace to manhood and good governance.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

AAahhh, we have to wait a while it that is true.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Assuming that it is well known that the boy president of France Mr. Macron has been put on that throne by the Banksters, the French Rotschild Banksters. Macron is nothing more than a hot air puppet who is just following orders. There is no difference between US Inc. and Europe/Paris and Freestate Berlin.

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News.

The Duran

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Via Breitbart


In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”

The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.

In the leaked discussion thread, a Google site reliability engineer hinted at the existence of more search blacklists, according to the source.

“We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”

Others were more concerned about the presence of the blacklist. According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”

The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.

“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”

The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reported that these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as “dangerous misinformation.”

Since the Slate journalist’s inquiry and Google’s subsequent intervention, the top search results now feature pro-abortion content from left-wing sources like BuzzFeed, Vice, CNN, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In her report, the Slate journalist acknowledged that the search results changed shortly after she contacted Google.

The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”

A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”

One of the posts in the discussion also noted that the blacklist had previously been edited to include the search term “Maxine Waters” after a single Google employee complained the top YouTube search result for Maxine Waters was “very low quality.”

Google’s alleged intervention on behalf of a Democratic congresswoman would be further evidence of the tech giant using its resources to prop up the left. Breitbart News previously reported on leaked emails revealing the company targeted pro-Democrat demographics in its get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016.

According to the source, a software engineer in the thread also noted that “a bunch of terms related to the abortion referendum in Ireland” had been added to the blacklist – another change with potentially dramatic consequences on the national policies of a western democracy.

youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

At least one post in the discussion thread revealed the existence of a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” which contains a list of YouTube search terms that Google manually curates. In addition to the terms “abortion,” “abortions,” “Maxine Waters,” and search terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, a Google software engineer noted that the blacklist includes search terms related to terrorist attacks. (the posts specifically mentions that the “Strasbourg terrorist attack” as being on the list).

“If you look at the other entries recently added to the youtube_controversial_query_blacklist(e.g., entries related to the Strasbourg terrorist attack), the addition of abortion seems…out-of-place,” wrote the software engineer, according to the source.

After learning of the existence of the blacklist, Breitbart News obtained a partial screenshot of the full blacklist file from a source within Google. It reveals that the blacklist includes search terms related to both mass shootings and the progressive anti-second amendment activist David Hogg.

This suggests Google has followed the lead of Democrat politicians, who have repeatedly pushed tech companies to censor content related to the Parkland school shooting and the Parkland anti-gun activists. It’s part of a popular new line of thought in the political-media establishment, which views the public as too stupid to question conspiracy theories for themselves.

Here is the partial blacklist leaked to Breitbart:

2117 plane crash Russian

2118 plane crash

2119 an-148

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

2121 florida shooting crisis actors

2122 florida conspiracy

2123 florida false flag shooting

2124 florida false flag

2125 fake florida school shooting

2126 david hogg hoax

2127 david hogg fake

2128 david hogg crisis actor

2129 david hogg forgets lines

2130 david hogg forgets his lines

2131 david hogg cant remember his lines

2132 david hogg actor

2133 david hogg cant remember

2134 david hogg conspiracy

2135 david hogg exposed

2136 david hogg lines

2137 david hogg rehearsing

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

The full internal filepath of the blacklist, according to another source, is:

//depot/google3/googledata/superroot/youtube/youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

Contradictions

Responding to a request for comment, a YouTube spokeswoman said the company wants to promote “authoritative” sources in its search results, but maintained that YouTube is a “platform for free speech” that “allow[s]” both pro-life and pro-abortion content.

YouTube’s full comment:

YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions. Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sources across our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.

In the case of the “abortion” search results, YouTube’s intervention to insert “authoritative” content resulted in the downranking of pro-life videos and the elevation of pro-abortion ones.

A Google spokesperson took a tougher line than its YouTube subsidiary, stating that “Google has never manipulated or modified the search results or content in any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.”

However, in the leaked discussion thread, a member of Google’s “trust & safety” team, Daniel Aaronson, admitted that the company maintains “huge teams” that work to adjust search results for subjects that are “prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content” – all subjective terms that are frequently used to suppress right-leaning sources.

He also admitted that the interventions weren’t confined to YouTube – they included search results delivered via Google Assistant, Google Home, and in rare cases Google ’s organic search results.

In the thread, Aaronson attempted to explain how search blacklisting worked. He claimed that highly specific searches would generate non-blacklisted results, even controversial ones. But the inclusion of highly specific terms in the YouTube blacklist, like “David Hogg cant remember his lines” – the name of an actual viral video – seems to contradict this.

Aaronson’s full post is copied below:

I work in Trust and Safety and while I have no particular input as to exactly what’s happening for YT I can try to explain why you’d have this kind of list and why people are finding lists like these on Code Search.

When dealing with abuse/controversial content on various mediums you have several levers to deal with problems. Two prominent levers are “Proactive” and “Reactive”:

  • Proactive: Usually refers to some type of algorithm/scalable solution to a general problem
    • E.g.: We don’t allow straight up porn on YouTube so we create a classifier that detects porn and automatically remove or flag for review the videos the porn classifier is most certain of
  • Reactive: Usually refers to a manual fix to something that has been brought to our attention that our proactive solutions don’t/didn’t work on and something that is clearly in the realm of bad enough to warrant a quick targeted solution (determined by pages and pages of policies worked on over many years and many teams to be fair and cover necessary scope)
    • E,g.: A website that used to be a good blog had it’s domain expire and was purchased/repurposed to spam Search results with autogenerated pages full of gibberish text, scraped images, and links to boost traffic to other spammy sites. It is manually actioned for violating policy

These Organic Search policies and the consequences to violating them are public

Manually reacting to things is not very scalable, and is not an ideal solution to most problems, so the proactive lever is really the one we all like to lean on. Ideally, our classifiers/algorithm are good at providing useful and rich results to our users while ignoring things at are not useful or not relevant. But we all know, this isn’t exactly the case all the time (especially on YouTube).

From a user perspective, there are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content. Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay. E.g. a video of a puppy playing with a toy is probably okay in almost every culture or context, even if it’s not relevant to the query. But a video of someone committing suicide and begging others to follow in his/her footsteps is probably on the other side of the line for many folks.

While my second example is technically relevant to the generic query of “suicide”, that doesn’t mean that this is a very useful or good video to promote on the top of results for that query. So imagine a classifier that says, for any queries on a particular text file, let’s pull videos using signals that we historically understand to be strong indicators of quality (I won’t go into specifics here, but those signals do exist). We’re not manually curating these results, we’re just saying “hey, be extra careful with results for this query because many times really bad stuff can appear and lead to a bad experience for most users”. Ideally the proactive lever did this for us, but in extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary. And also keep in mind, that this is different for every product. The bar for changing classifiers or manual actions on span in organic search is extremely high. However, the bar for things we let our Google Assistant say out loud might be a lot lower. If I search for “Jews run the banks” – I’ll likely find anti-semitic stuff in organic search. As a Jew, I might find some of these results offensive, but they are there for people to research and view, and I understand that this is not a reflection of Google feels about this issue. But if I ask Google assistant “Why do Jews run the banks” we wouldn’t be similarly accepting if it repeated and promoted conspiracy theories that likely pop up in organic search in her smoothing voice.

Whether we agree or not, user perception of our responses, results, and answers of different products and mediums can change. And I think many people are used to the fact that organic search is a place where content should be accessible no matter how offensive it might be, however, the expectation is very different on a Google Home, a Knowledge Panel, or even YouTube.

These lines are very difficult and can be very blurry, we are all well aware of this. So we’ve got huge teams that stay cognizant of these facts when we’re crafting policies considering classifier changes, or reacting with manual actions – these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but admittedly are also not made in a highly public forum like TGIF or IndustryInfo (as you can imagine, decisions/agreement would be hard to get in such a wide list – image if all your CL’s were reviewed by every engineer across Google all the time). I hope that answers some questions and gives a better layer of transparency without going into details about our “Pepsi formula”.

Best,

Daniel

The fact that Google manually curates politically contentious search results fits in with a wider pattern of political activity on the part of the tech giant.

In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published a leaked video from the company that showed senior management in dismay at Trump’s election victory, and pledging to use the company’s power to make his populist movement a “hiccup” in history.

Breitbart also leaked “The Good Censor,” an internal research document from Google that admits the tech giant is engaged in the censorship of its own products, partly in response to political events.

Another leak revealed that employees within the company, including Google’s current director of Trust and Safety, tried to kick Breitbart News off Google’s market-dominating online ad platforms.

Yet another showed Google engaged in targeted turnout operations aimed to boost voter participation in pro-Democrat demographics in “key states” ahead of the 2016 election. The effort was dubbed a “silent donation” by a top Google employee.

Evidence for Google’s partisan activities is now overwhelming. President Trump has previously warned Google, as well as other Silicon Valley giants, not to engage in censorship or partisan activities. Google continues to defy him.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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