Is Freedom and Reason Being Shadow Banned?

As we approach the end of the 2022, I wanted to check to see how the Freedom and Reason blog is doing and found that views (and visitors) are down sharply after steady growth in viewership. Freedom and Reason when from almost 10,000 views in 2021 to around 7,500 in 2022. The year is not over, but the trend is clear. The blog cannot make up the number of views it needs to approximate the last two years. Here are the stats provided by WordPress:

I began to suspect something was wrong when searching my past blog entries over the last year in Google (the overwhelming choice of the world public for search engine). There I found that my blogs on the pandemic, deep state machinations with respect to the 2020 election and its aftermath, the color revolution, etc., were not returned (whereas DuckDuckGo was returning them). Even using the advanced search function in Google did not return information on blogs that in fact exist.

When I search Google for information critical of these matters independent of my site url using terms specifically intended to generate criticism of the dominant political and scientistic narrative the search engine returns pages upon pages of sources toeing the line obviously desired by elites. Again, even using Goggle’s advanced search function does not return information and opinion critical of the corporate state line. I have to go directly to websites I know provide that content to find it.

Here’s the problem: there remain many more critical websites I don’t know about because the Google algorithm shadow bans them. If this is true for those other sites, then it must be true for mine, as well. Potential readers across the world will never know that Freedom and Reason exists because Google’s search engine will never provide the url to them. It appears Google got on to me sometimes last year and found my commentary too contrary to the corporate state narrative.

As you may know, Google is the parent company of YouTube. I reported recently that YouTube removed a podcast from Freedom and Reason that concerned the FBI-Twitter cabal that censored Hunter Biden’s laptop and de-platformed users reporting on it. Although this was not the first time YouTube censored my content, in the latest case the content said nothing about the subject matter that YouTube claimed it was censoring the podcast. Even after my appeal was heard staff or algorithm used the same justification. I reposted the podcast on Rumble. However, searching Google for that content does not return the link.

If YouTube is removing content critical of powerful corporate and state actors, then it seems certain that Google is shadow banning websites critical of those forces.

There is an attempt to make those who suspect being stealth banned out to be paranoid. Elaine Moore of the Financial Times writes that “social media influencers are at the mercy of algorithms. This makes them perfect fodder for conspiracy theories. It also makes sense that influencers would be baffled by any sudden decrease in engagement and spooked by changes that might jeopardise the brand deals they sign. Instead of believing that their own popularity is waning, some cling to the idea that shadowbans are a disciplinary measure that is used against creators who do not warrant an outright ban from a platform.”

But media gaslighting and the use of thought-stopping devices like “conspiracy theory” does not explain patterns that become obvious when examining the type of content that is not return by Google’s search engine. It’s obvious that Google’s algorithm is designed to restrict information critical of corporate state agendas.

So do me a favor. If you are familiar with Freedom and Reason or stumble upon this entry, push out my content.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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