Clickbait President

I’ve been thinking about Al Franken. He disappeared when he resigned from the Senate last December. I recall him saying, in his resignation speech, that we’d be seeing him around. Well, I haven’t seen him since. So, this morning, I searched on Google (a habit I am very seriously considering stopping #FUCKGOOGLE) to see what he’s been up to, and couldn’t find anything…right away.

I did see vague articles pondering a “comeback”. Then, there was a recent left-wing op-ed justifying Franken’s party, and progressive allies, turning on him as the least-worst solution at the time (BULLSHIT!). There was also a Page Six story, from a week ago, pulling Sarah Silverman quotes from GQ. She was making her case for Louis CK and Franken’s return to public life.

[LONG TANGENT ALERT!!!]

I really don’t like lumping Franken in with CK. CK committed serious sex crimes (from what I recall, it was public masturbation…That will get you in deep trouble, so I’ve heard. And CK deserves any trouble he’s in).

To the best of my knowledge, Franken always kept his trousers up. He was accused of forced or unwanted (prank?) kissing (no joke, a troubling accusation). And also touching or grasping women, without asking permission, typically when posing for photos (I think most men are guilty of this second crime, especially the “puppy dog” type…the WORST OFFENDERS!…By the by, I’m a VICTIM, TOO!!! Soon, I will tell my SHOCKING, TRUE story of how, for YEARS, I was ABUSED in this very same way! BY MY PARENTS!!! Stay tuned!).

With this touching-in-photos thing, and even the admittedly more serious unwanted-kissing thing, I’m willing to forgive the guy, so long as he is honest and contrite, which I believe he was.

I think it would have been a healthy exercise to have run this through the Senate Ethics Committee and road test the whole review process there, in a public and transparent manner, which I know Franken would have insisted on. In this way, we, the American citizens/voters, would have gotten to see whether or not it is a review system worth keeping or reforming (in light of the cultural shifts brought on by the #MeToo movement). The Senate didn’t want to do that…Go figure.

Bottom line, since December 2017, I’ve been waiting for the proverbial “other shoe” to drop on Franken’s story. One that exposes that he, at some point, really did cross a significant line (in my pig eyes) in the abuse of women. Yet I’ve seen nary a Ked, a Naturalizer, or even a Birkenstock fall. And until that Louis Vuitton (?) plummets from the heavens, I’m with Franken. And if that day comes, and I’m proven wrong, I will drop Franken faster than you can say “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me”.

[END OF TANGENT.]

I had to dig deep (in the search results I mentioned prior to that brutally long tangent) to find an announcement, from April, publicizing that Franken would be making his first public appearance on May 1st at the Privacy Xchange Forum 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, to present a speech titled “Lies and Lying Liars in 2018: Privacy, Competition and Russian Election Meddling”. I dug deeper and found that the speech was live streamed on YouTube. As of today, one full month later, it has a WHOPPING 4,554 views! THAT’S 150 VEIWS A DAY!!!! WOW!!!!!!!

I highly suggest watching this video. It addresses, and bolsters, many of the points I raised in my last post regarding Google’s monopoly and unchecked power. I hate to sound like a conspiracist (too late), but it is funny how buried and unwatched the video of this speech is. Could this speech be (dun-dun-DUN!) Algorithmically Incorrect?

Jokes aside, I just want you to watch this video and remember just a small slice of what this man was fighting for as a Senator and what a pin-headed mistake it was to send him away.

So yeah, my post title is a little obtuse. Check the speech to tune into what I’m getting at. It’s not direct, but it’s in there…buried.

P.S. The loss of net neutrality is a very serious issue. It will negatively affect free speech. Don’t fool yourself.

P.P.S. Fuck Google.

P.P.P.S. no…really #FUCKGOOGLE

Algorithmically Incorrect

So Google, we love Google. They give us everything that isn’t covered by Apple, Facebook and Amazon (am I missing anyone…Netflix?!…close enough…SOOO many options!). They gave us Gmail. That was sooo sweet of them, sooo generous. They told us, back in the day, that their motto was, “Don’t be evil”…very cute. I mean, that motto sets an extremely low bar. But we bought it, and, back then, it was all fun and games (Adobe Flash games!). A halcyon summer.

So, yeah, they loved all the data they mined out of your “free” Gmail account over all these years (and, in so, our love was reciprocated). Even to the point where if you were, let’s say, a web designer and you sent a confidential, hidden, non-indexable URL to a client to review work prior to publication…and that email just happened to travel over a Gmail server, you would inexplicably find that link (the one you did not want published) indexed in Google Search (Surprise!). Yup, they mine your Gmail message data and will load it right into Google Search whenever they want to. FUN! I mean, they don’t do it personally…their algorithm bots do it, impersonally…the non-evil way.

And that is the least of what they’ll do with your data. Your Google/Gmail profile, experiences, communications (inexorably linked to your Google Search and YouTube watch history) are crawled, tracked and pimped out.

They ran that game on you and the rest of the world, they “parlayed”, and (bingo-bango-bongo) now they own a MONOPOLY on online search and search advertising.

So now this relationship becomes a little lopsided. We start to feel a little like a “sex worker”. But our pimp loves us, he has “Don’t be evil” tattooed on his knuckles. He only hits me when I’m bad! You don’t understand him!

Googlebourg or Googlenstien

And now Google (along with their big-tech cousins) are turning the greater San Jose area into Googlebourg or Googlenstien, a gated county…a country. This kingdom takes our American advertising dollars, but avoids paying its American corporate taxes (preferring to use tax shelter loopholes to rest their tax obligations with other countries, ya know, the ones that don’t collect taxes), even though Google seems to enjoy having its “campuses” located on American soil, I mean Googlebourg soil. And that isn’t at all fucked up. Not at all! “Catch me outside” if you wanna talk smack about my pimp. Bitch, I’ll pull your weave!

And here I am, I know all this shit, but I still use Google Search. I’m their bitch. No doubt.

But here’s where the plot turns for me, because I was personally affected. And unless I am personally affected, I don’t give a fuck (like any good American citizen).

Google Suppresses My Blog!

NO, this is not the story of a man who has a paranoid delusion that Google has any idea who he is. My blog is a micro-flea, on a flea, on the dog’s ass that is Google Search. Google doesn’t know me, and I’m fine with that. If the Google powers-that-be knew me, they would probably think I was innocuous and silly. And they would be right. But like I said, I am not on their radar. I am random “Kid Kilobyte” 10538 data set. My mortal remains cast into the “Almighty Algorithm”.

So how can I say “Google Suppresses my Blog!”? Well their current super-tuned-up-to-fight-#FAKENEWS search algorithm is not loving my blog. It’s hiding my blog. Why? Because my blog is “Algorithmically Incorrect”.

Algorithmically Incorrect

What is “Algorithmically Incorrect”? Why it’s the digital world’s new “Politically Incorrect”. Now, instead of the next generation telling you your ideas are outdated and backwards right to your face (the way God intended), bots and spiders will predetermine, by algorithm, if what you have to say is too “troublesome” to share and/or not advertiser friendly/related enough to be worth sharing. To quote an ancient Zen kōan,

“If your Google Search  doesn’t result in a click through to an advertiser’s site, does it really exist?”

Ya see, my site has too many controversial keywords mixed with too many curse words. Plus, I am not a media giant that pays for “clicks” or “impressions”. As such, my site has no business being found on the pure-as-snow Google Search site where you find porn.

Somewhere down the road, a switch flipped at Google to push advertiser friendliness over organic search, even in the non-paid, “organic” areas of the search results.

As the internet became the predominant commercial media of our time, it has also became entrapped in the traditional major media practice of “whitewashing” its content (i.e., hiding “unpleasant” things…unless it’s porn).

YouTube Adpocalypse

We saw Google’s move toward whitewashing go into overdrive in response to the (Google owned) YouTube Adpocalypse controversy of 2017. A huge block of major corporate sponsors walked away from YouTube (taking hundreds of millions of dollars with them, adding up to countless billions in lost future revenues) because corporate ads were running before videos that included controversial or hateful content. This hateful content was causing boycott/PR complications for the corporate advertisers. Likewise, the controversial and/or hateful content creators were receiving money from YouTube for their views/watch time. This occurred because, bottom line, there is just too much YouTube content to realistically police. This got into a very sticky situation for YouTube’s bottom line. YouTube, of course, overreacted and, today, any videos that have a whiff of controversy about them, as determined by bots and algorithms, are by default “demonetized” and adversely affected in organic search (i.e., dinged) .  The ultimate effect, YouTube’s creator community is now beleaguered, “censored” and compromised.

Adpocalypse’s Fallout Irradiating Google Search

So is it so hard to see the writing on the wall? Google obviously has witnessed and paid a price for the kind of backlash and bad press that controversial content juxtaposed with corporate logos and ads creates. To protect their bottom line going forward, they grabbed that roller and a bucket of whitewash. They just had to add a couple of lines of code to the algorithm and “wham-o” the problem disappears.

Ken Powers disappears.

Yahoo!, Bing, Duck Duck Go (Who the fuck is “Duck Duck Go”?)…any of these search engines, search “ken powers”, I am page one, number one. Now search “ken powers” on Google, I’m not in the first hundred…

Ken Powers disappears.

So why care?

I don’t know. I’m just putting this info and commentary out there like I do. Internet search has evolved. It has had to evolve, because of the “Keyword Spammers of the Wild West”. Search can’t be totally pure because it gets abused. I accept that.

But we have a monopoly situation going on here, where 95% of mobile internet search goes through Google’s filter. Search visibility affects reality, creates reality. Google is playing with the paddles of 21st Century free speech with no overseers, no oversight. If we look at this situation closely we may discover we’ve traded too much away for a free email account and some cloud space. We may see that Google is just a little too cozy with our, often corruptible, Federal Government on many, let’s call them, Orwellian levels. Because let’s face it, the government should have grabbed it’s trust-breaking-hatchet on this whole deal a looong time ago and no one is talking about it today, no one.

Google, through automation, is turning down the volume on free speech (filtering speech) that its algorithms determine does not match up with their beloved advertisers’ agendas.

Remember this equation (it’s in the algorithm):

Advertisers > Free Speech

It’s fucked up and if they push it too far (which they might have already done) they may just find themselves in a position they can not predict, even with all their monopolistic power and algorithms.

People might just turn their backs on Google when they get “woke” to what’s going on. The walls of Googlebourg just might come tumblin’ down.

Then again, if Google just adds a few lines of code…the problem disappears.