Google is about to take one giant step into directly shaping the prevailing media narrative.
One month after Google made news by banning ads on websites - such as this one - for violating its terms of service when it comes to "derogatory" material (a purposefully amorphous concept), the world's leading search engine and internet advertising monopoly which controls 70% of online ad spending, will take an even more aggressive step. According to CNBC, starting on August 18, Google will "ban publishers from using its ad platform next to content that promotes conspiracy theories about Covid-19." Additionally, "in cases where a particular site publishes a certain threshold of material that violates these policies, it will ban the entire site from using its ad platforms."
In short, anyone who deviates from the conventionally accepted narrative, or as CNBC puts it challenges the "authoritative scientific consensus" on the coronavirus pandemic will be promptly demonetized.
What constitutes "authoritative scientific consensus"? According to CNBC "banned claims would include conspiracy theories like vaccines being attempts to genetically modify the population, that Bill Gates created Covid-19 or that the disease was a bioweapon created in a Chinese lab." Which is especially troubling since the claim of whether or not the virus was created in the Wuhan Institute of Virology has not only been challenged by other "authoritative" sources, but as we reported in April, none other than the Five Eyes intelligence agencies of Australia, Canada, NZ, UK and US, are "looking closely at the work of a senior scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Peng Zhou, as they examine whether COVID-19 originated from a wet market or whether the naturally-occurring virus may have been released from the level four laboratory in Wuhan that was studying deadly coronavirus pathogens from bats."
One wonders how much of an influence China has in shaping what is the "authoritative scientific consensus?" As just one example of the egregious conflicts of interest in determining what is and is not "truth" we remind readers that a "Facebook 'Fact Checker' Worked At Wuhan Biolab; Ruled Out Virus-Leak While 'Debunking' Articles."
One also wonders if Fox News will be demonetized for publishing this story: "Chinese virologist accuses Beijing of coronavirus cover-up, flees Hong Kong: 'I know how they treat whistleblowers'"
Finally, will Google also be censoring the (un)scientific opinion of 1200 "experts' that the virus is able to pick moral and immoral hosts and that BLM protests are necessary and permitted but any other large social grouping are dangerous and should be banned, including the funerals of family members?
According to CNBC, "Google will begin enforcing the change on August 18, and can remove ads from single articles or, in some cases, entire sites. When it comes to removing ads from an entire site, the company said for most of its policies it has a percentage threshold for policy violations before it will fully demonetize a website. (The violation of some policies, like one preventing child sex abuse material, is considered by the company to be so egregious that they result in immediate site-level action)."
And so, whatever emerges as the prevailing narrative aka the "authoritative scientific consensus", which as we have clearly seen over the past 6 months comes in the context of a specific political agenda, will be sacrosanct and anyone who dares to challenges said narrative will be promptly demonetized by Google; and since that traditionally means a death sentence for that website, only outlets that publish stories that Google "blesses" will be allowed to exist.
Needless to say, this is merely the latest indication any outlets that challenges conventional orthodoxy will have no choice but to turn to a subscription model if they wish to survive, because once Google emerging first as an arbiter of what is "allowed" in the context of Black Lives Matter, and now the ongoing Covid pandemic, it is only a matter of time before Google aggressively demonetizes anyone who strays from whatever is the accepted orthodoxy by a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires.
Finally, it is hardly a surprise that all this emerges just months before the presidential election.