Whatcha gonna do when your well runs dry? — and you know who’s draining it

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Various are the survival strategies — for when you go months without the local aqueduct bringing you water, AND for a medium that’s squeezed by tech monopolies. It helps when you see your little publication as a cause rather than a cash cow. Archive photo by Eric Jackson, from the time when his house and his neighbors’ houses went eight months without water.

Google and Facebook, attacked from several directions, move to silence their critics

by Eric Jackson

Want to be NOT listed by Google as a news website? One of the easiest ways to do that is to neglect the insertion of code into your medium that makes it easier for Google to strip out maximum information about those who read it.

Want to have your website’s Facebook page downgraded so that many fewer people see it? Take political stands in favor of those Democrats who would apply existing anti-monopoly laws to the tech monopolies, or better yet, advocate that some of the very useful but incorrigibly abusive ones get bought out by eminent domain and devolved to a democratic public authority that’s not engaged in surveillance capitalism.

It’s easy to see why Vladimir Putin went ballistic with his interference in the 2016 US elections, more than just the usual propaganda against Russia’s old rival the United States. Sponsor an anti-Russian coup in a country on Russia’s borders, and an intervention in Syria that would take away the Russian navy’s Mediterranean base in Tartus and ANY Russian leader, gangster or good guy, has to react like a vengeful strongman or he’ll be ousted as leader of Russia.

AMERICANS — individuals or corporations or business associations — that do the bidding of the likes of Vladimir Putin are held to different standards. There are old practices like how Russians caught spying in the USA and Americans caught spying in Russia eventually get swapped back to their home countries, while Americans spying on the USA or Russians spying on Russia tend to be locked up under harsh conditions.

You don’t have to be some retro-hawk Cold Warrior to say that the hefty fines that Facebook paid for hosting a massive Russian troll and bot invasion aimed at electing Donald Trump in 2016 were not enough. You don’t have to be a history nerd to demand accountability for Google having set its search engine algorithms to direct those who looked up the Holocaust to neo-Nazi pages that said that it never happened.

It’s not just a US problem. Other jurisdictions like the European Union and Australia are looking askance at the practices of these US-based tech multinationals.

Meanwhile, though, the tech monopolies shifted gears for the 2020 elections, primarily by throttling or downgrading or otherwise trying to bury online media that favor US politicians who say they will move to curb their abuses. Primarily, those which support Democrats who are neither dependent on Silicon Valley funding nor supportive of the blank checks that monopolies have enjoyed in recent years.

The complaint that Common Dreams lodges is not unique to that news service. It also applies to The Panama News, many other websites, Democratic-leaning Facebook pages and groups and public interest muckrakers. Immediate survival may be the present agendas of the monopolies’ diverse foes, but huge fights in the US Congress and elsewhere are brewing.

Count The Panama News in.

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Mr. Weinberg is the founder of the DuckDuckGo search engine.                     

 

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Leave it to Senator Warren, who taught that sort of law at Harvard, to lead the antitrust battle against the tech monopolies. Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Smash Facebook Could Work—and Boy, Do We Need It To.
 

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