This is exciting news.
It looks like Google has just applied some sort of penalty to NaturalNews.com, effectively removing them from the Google Search results. With the increased pressure on companies like Google and Facebook to fight Fake News and misinformation, there is some reason to suspect that this penalty is directly related to Natural News’ habit of sharing debunked, dangerous misinformation. Google have previously dabbled in using accuracy of information to influence their algorithm after all. At this stage though, I can’t confirm that that is what has happened to Natural News.
Regardless of exactly what has happened though, this is incredibly exciting news. Now we get to see first hand exactly what happens when a web giant suppresses access to a large and popular website!
First of all, I am no fan of Natural News. If you have ever seen any of my rbutr presentations, you will probably already know that rbutr exists because of a Natural News article that friend shared. Natural News spreads misinformation with reckless abandon and the world will be better off without it. That is how I feel.
But, I have also always argued that any effort to censor opinions, beliefs, or communities, by any of the web giants is only going to backfire on them and push people away from their services. The users will decry the move as authoritarian and lose trust in the organisation. From their position it looks like the powerful company is suppressing “true” information from the public.
Imagine how you would react if Google decided to suppress all articles which reported on the current bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. You would be outraged, and rightly so. Any company which refuses to report factual information immediately appears suspect, and likely driven by some ulterior motive. You would rationally suspect that there is a conspiracy afoot. So when the already heavily conspiratorial Natural News community finds out that Google is suppressing them, what else do you think they will conclude? Obviously the illuminati (or globalists, or whoever it is now that is running the show) are trying to suppress the truths that Natural News is publishing.
The backlash has already begun
I didn’t even have to go looking for evidence that people are retaliating against Google for this. The first link I found when I started looking into this was on the /r/Conspiracy subreddit, and the top comment was already saying that they wanted to stop using Google because of this, even though they personally don’t like Natural News.
Of course, Natural News’ own report of the move didn’t hold back, calling Google “Fake Search” and warning their readers to prepare for “total war on humanity.” Apparently this whole thing is a globalist driven attack on Mike Adams and his reputation for supporting Trump and fighting the globalists. Of course.
At least one blogger supporting Natural News has joined the mix, calling this an attack on Natural News. The more level-headed and reasonable perspective of Orac, over on Science Blogs has focussed on the fact that we really have no idea why Natural News was delisted, and could very well be relisted in a day or two after a small mistake is corrected. If that happens, I’m sure Mike Adams will take back everything he has written and apologise for jumping to massive globalist conspiratorial conclusions.