Stories
Microsoft About to Filter Out USA Really’s Website and “Wrong News” All Across the US
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.

Close

Microsoft About to Filter Out USA Really’s Website and “Wrong News” All Across the US

14797

NEW YORK, NY – December 30, 2018

According to a Big Island Now report, the Microsoft Corporation, through its Defending Democracy Program, is sponsoring the installation of a special browser extension on computers in schools, universities, and libraries across the country. This “extension” basically filters websites by checking them against a “black list” of news websites and tagging them with so-called “Nutrition Labels” and the “NewsGuard Red badge.”

NewsGuard supplies browser plug-in versions of the software for free to news literacy groups, school and university systems, and individual consumers so that NewsGuard’s ratings and “Nutrition Labels” can appear as part of the searches they conduct or news alerts they receive, as it claimed.

“We are proud to sponsor NewsGuard’s new browser extension, which can be downloaded free of charge starting today from the Microsoft Store. Moreover, our Defending Democracy Program will continue to build partnerships and explore technology solutions that can help defend against foreign influence operations,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust says proudly in his blog post.

Last week, the Microsoft-sponsored NewsGuard started installing the browser plug-in across the US. The first state participating in the program is Hawaii. NewsGuard has installed the extension on 700 of computers at 51 branches of the Hawaii State Public Library System on six islands, in order “to spread news literacy to library patrons state-wide.”

The company now works with library systems representing public libraries across the country, and is also partnering with middle schools, high schools, universities, and educational organizations to support their “news literacy efforts.” NewsGuard’s amazing browser extension works with Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Safari, and moreover, an extension works with search engines like Google and  DuckDuckGo and social media feeds, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing, and LinkedIn.

So, what’s wrong with this “new browser extension,” one may ask.

USA Really was one of the first news websites to receive a “black mark” from this new “Ministry of Truth.”

A month before that, USA Really received an e-mail from NewsGuard that reads: “We are in the process of evaluating USAReally.com, and we have several questions about the site. Your answers will be considered on the record and will be used in our final determination.

Who owns USAreally.com? We could not find any indication of ownership on the site. Is it disclosed anywhere? Is the site part of a Kremlin-backed propaganda effort? Does the site conduct any original reporting? Does the site disclose its writers and editors anywhere on the site? Most stories seem to just be attributed to "USA Really." Why not list the names of authors? The site seems to label stories "Exclusive" which are not based on original reporting. How do you define "Exclusive"? We believe this falls under our criteria of running misleading headlines. Can you comment?” and so on.

The main reason we hadn’t previously provided any comment on the email is that the questions were asked in such a rude manner and it was clear that NewsGuard’s “analyst” hadn’t spent a minute examining USA Really’s website. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have missed our Opinion section, where he could find our exclusive articles and USA Really’s writers and many other interesting things, or our Video section. Moreover, USA Really’s Editor-in-Chief Alexander Malkevich has given hours of interviews to NYT, the Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, AP, Bloomberg, and many other media outlets, explaining who is he, what USA Really is, who our writers are, who’s funding us, and all other possible questions.

But, as expected, our open and honest position did not protect us from phony accusations, MSM and troll attacks, and the removal of our accounts from social media. Earlier in November, another of “the most comprehensive media bias resources on the internet” Mediabiasfactcheck.com, named USA Really as “a questionable source” that “exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information, and/or is fake news.”

However, the results of their own voting poll show that the second most popular answer is that USA Really is a “credible source.”

Microsoft About to Filter Out USA Really’s Website and “Wrong News” All Across the US

Of course, USA Really was not alone. RT has also received a “Red flag” from NewsGuard.

And of course, Voice of America got the Green “Approval” badge.

RT, which is a global news channel with a reach of over 700 million people, or over 25% of all cable subscribers worldwide, having over 3 million subscribers and billions of YouTube views, was considered by “trained journalists” as a fake news organization and “not meeting basic professional standards,” according to NewsGuard’s report.

But who are these “trained journalists” and “experts” wearing tinfoil hats? According to a press release, NewsGuard is a startup that was launched on March 5, 2018 with over $6 million invested. It was founded by Steven Brill, who made Court TV and Gordon Crovitz, who was the publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

“We rate all news and information sites among the approximately 4,500 sites responsible for 98% of the online engagement in English in the United States,” NewsGuard’s website says.

Microsoft About to Filter Out USA Really’s Website and “Wrong News” All Across the US

What is really interesting, in their press release they say something different:

“Longtime journalists and media entrepreneurs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz today announced that they have raised $6 million to launch NewsGuard, which will address the fake news crisis by hiring dozens of trained journalists as analysts to review the 7,500 news and information websites most accessed and shared in the United States, in time for the mid-term elections in November.

These sites account for 98% of the news articles read and shared in the English language online in the United States. These reliability ratings, along with ‘nutrition label’ write-ups of each of the 7,500 news sources, will be licensed to social media platforms and online search companies, as well as provided to interested consumers directly.”

Microsoft About to Filter Out USA Really’s Website and “Wrong News” All Across the US

Well, how sweet – the service that reviews online news sites and labels them “Green” (or, in other, words, approved) or “Red” (“fake news,” obviously) badge, would fail by its own criteria for “fake news” by providing incorrect or controversial information. 7,500 and 4,500 is quite a big difference, isn’t it?

“We have dozens of reporters who serve as our analysts, editors, fact checkers, and senior editors, including Steve and me, reviewing each write-up,” Crovitz said.

These thousands of sites are supposed to be checked by only two dozens of “trained journalists,” naming themselves “analysts,” including “interns, contributing analysts and… 1 staff fact-checker” and the whole world should trust them, of course.

Next, Microsoft and NewsGuard are probably coming to your state or town to install the “truth checking” plugin on users’ browsers, preventing Americans from reading “harmful and divisive” news from USA Really or RT. And it’s only the beginning. The plugin’s filters are updated automatically, adding more and more “not approved” websites to its “black list.”

“When NewsGuard releases a new rating of a site, the rating automatically spreads to all computers that have its browser plugin installed,” the press release says.

“We applaud the approach NewsGuard is taking and have confidence in the quality of the professional journalistic analysis NewsGuard will be providing to the public,” Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President Tom Burt said.

Author: USA Really