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Leaked Documents From Google, Pinterest Reveal Censorship of Alternative Media

Newly leaked documents from Pinterest and Google reveal ongoing efforts to censor independent media, Christian websites, and unpopular opinions. 

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Newly leaked documents from Google and Pinterest reveal ongoing efforts to censor independent media, Christian websites, and unpopular opinions.

(TMU) — As more and more Americans question the practices of tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the topic of censorship on social media and in search results continues to be a hotly debated topic. Do these companies essentially act as publishers, and if so, should they be regulated as such? Should the government make efforts to break up the tech giants? These questions and more need answering as the public grapples with the reality that “Big Tech” is gaining more control over what we see, hear, and read while surfing the internet.

Now, more fuel has been added to the fire as the controversial conservative investigative outlet Project Veritas has released leaked documents which show Pinterest blocking links of alternative media websites and search terms related to Christianity and abortion. The apparent blacklist is part of a “porn domain block list” designed to keep the social media platform free of sexually explicit content. Veritas published the internal documents and reportedly interviewed a company insider who claimed Pinterest directly and indirectly censors content related to pro-life and Christian themes, as well as alternative health sites, and several independent news websites known for challenging the U.S. government narrative on a range of topics, including the War on Terror. These sites include ZeroHedge, The Anti-Media, NewsWars (operated by Alex Jones’ Infowars), The PedoGate, Tracking Vaccinations, and Organic Healthy Tips.

Other documents leaked to Project Veritas include a large text file titled “Sensitive Terms List” containing search terms that Pinterest considers “sensitive.” A user searching one of these “sensitive” terms will received modified search results per Pinterest internal policy. The documents note that search terms are assigned an “abusive,” “sensitive,” and “brand unsafe” value. Pinterest employees have the option to either block auto-complete results in the search bar, show the user a warning, or remove the term from recommended or trending feeds. The so-called “Sensitive Terms List” reveals that Christianity-related terms like “christian easter” and “bible verses” were marked as “brand unsafe.”

This is not the first time Pinterest made the news for censoring certain material. In February, the platform also blocked searches related to “anti-vaccination” material.

However, the company is not alone in their efforts to remove unpopular opinions and alternative media from their platforms. One day after Project Veritas‘ report, the Daily Caller reported that a whistleblower within Google leaked screenshots of two apparent blacklists of websites which are being scrubbed from the search engine’s results. The Daily Caller reviewed documents and found that employees are instructed to add the line “# REMOVE url” to ensure that a “fringe” website is removed from Google’s “featured snippets” search results. The “featured snippets” feature is responsible for finishing users sentences when they type questions into Google’s search box. The document suggests that the removal of certain websites from featured snippets is being conducted manually by a human employee rather than the result of a mistake by an algorithm or artificial intelligence.

The Caller also reports that a second blacklist, called “all_fringe_domains,” is designed to block websites labeled “fringe.” Some of the websites being blocked include “the American Spectator, Breitbart, Breaking911, the website of pastor Brian Jones, the website of Bring Your Bible to School Day, Consortium News (published by Robert Parry), St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, speakerryan.com, The Franklin Society (a cryptocurrency blog), Free Thought Project, The Gateway Pundit, and The Gorka Briefing”.

The leaked documents reported on by the Daily Caller and Project Veritas raise a number of questions regarding how much control and influence the Big Tech giants have over public discourse. Even more worrisome is the fact that websites like the Free Thought Project, the Anti-Media, and ZeroHedge have been facing waves of censorship for over a year, with both the Anti-Media and the Free Thought Project being purged from Facebook in October 2018.

By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings

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People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.

However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.

In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.

“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”

The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.

In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.

Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.

The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.

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Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone

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A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.

Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.

Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.

“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.

As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.

“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.

Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.

Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.

“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.

From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.

The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.

“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.

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