Updated: Feb 7
Anyone know the exact date we put Google in charge of everything?
The day we threw away a thousand years of natural justice and rehabilitation?
Why on earth would Google, or anyone for that matter, leave fake news live or index anyone or anything not entirely fact checked, or protected under law? Why would they allow someone innocent to have a bad online reputation, through their engines and tools?
It seems we’re now largely split into two camps. Two sects, controlled by two corporations. The Androids and the Apples.
The Gogglers and the Googled.
Using either handset will mean, ultimately, you have given away your right to privacy, choice and in many cases, a fair trial.
With Google (Android) even more so than Apple it seems.
Apple doesn’t control the worlds largest search engine built right into a device tracking your every move.
As a device user, especially one who uses “free” apps, search engines, picture libraries and online storage, YOU are the product. Your data is harvested like cheap corn and sold to the highest bidder.
Your phone map tells you what food to get on the way home, pop ups scream “special offer” based on location, or beg you to review a shop you just left. All this tech driven by paid advertisers and sites that need “views”. Sadly, the same now seems to apply to news and the way we connect to the wider world.
Studies show that up to 85% of adults now find their daily news on a mobile device.
The same device designed largely to harvest your data for profit. This “news” is often little more than tabloid or sensational headlines designed to get you clicking.
With the flick of a thumb, you can search for an old-school friend, only to see them covered in bad press. Click a link and Google gets paid. Again and again and again. Click away, they love it. Why not comment on the misfortune - or better yet, share it?
Don't worry, when you’re tired of clicking all these search links, they’ll give you more free stuff to keep you hooked.
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn… All ways to “connect” and form these new “communities” online.
What happens though when it all goes horribly wrong?
Tragically, one recent example is a human rights lawyer from Northern Ireland who lost everything at the hands of trolls online - even her life.
Simone Burns was jailed for “drunken abuse of airline staff” for 6 months.
Many would argue this to be a severe enough penalty for a woman with an unblemished record and solid career as a human rights lawyer, but sadly that was only the start of her problem.
You see, her actions on that flight, or at least a few seconds of them, were filmed and quickly became viral.
She became depressed and trapped in her own home due to online harassment. She became a target for severe hate and the trolls did their worst.
Just 13 days after her release from prison, having “paid her debt to society”, she was found dead.
Out of the 6-8 news stories about her on google, only one link showed sadness at the outcome and says “It’s truly a sad testament of how one mistake can ruin our life. But even if she “got what she deserved” concerning the internet trolls who so viciously mocked her, let’s all use this as case study reminder that words can hurt tremendously.”
People used to be able to make a mistake, take the punishment (in her case 6 months in prison) and then move on with their lives. With Google those days seem to be behind us.
The abuse Simone suffered online was so bad, she felt she had to take her own life. The airline attendant who was her “victim” on the other hand, arguably, just had a bad day at the office.
Clearly she felt nothing could be done to help. Google made its ruling and she would have to live with the vile nonsense online forever, as ultimately, her case was real. If not exaggerated.
Imagine now though it’s YOU on the receiving end.
When YOUR mistake gets shared thousands of times for the entertainment or instant (and imagined) moral outrage of the people YOU thought were “friends”.
And what if you’re actually innocent. Wrongly Accused? It happens all the time. Trial by troll.
Does Google hold-off publishing or indexing blog posts at least, fake websites or news links until you are found guilty as charged? Or even charged at all?
Nope. Click bait. The more outrage, moral or not, the better.
The worse the headline, the better. Click away. Pictures are great too, video is fantastic. Your family and friends all tagged. Forever. That’s now how the world now sees you. A headline.
True or false? It's irrelevant; no-one reads the fine print anyway.
The power’s in our hands though they say. What power? What are we doing with all this power?
Think Google and Apple. A super computer in the pocket, with one aim - click bait.
Google, Facebook, (and subsidiaries like YouTube and Instagram) all NEED you to follow the links, read the articles and click on something.
Become an “impression” so they can sell you to the highest bidder.
When it’s all over; when you’ve paid the lawyers, faced the jury, been acquitted. Or not. Then what? Click bait. It’s not in Google's interest to take anything down, ever. Nor the newspapers or bloggers - It’s Google's life sentence.
Viral. I think the word says it all.
We get that it often feels pointless like nothing can be done, and this stuff will be there forever, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chatter at least or even completely erase these links from being shown on search engines, If you know how, or who.
There are still people out there that feel everyone deserves a second chance. People like the team here at YESpbm. Its our guiding principle. Our passion.
To help for now, we’ve put together a simple guide: 5 steps for removing negative content from google.
Further, the rising number of cases of internet trolling and online abuse have finally triggered the government to launch an anti-trolling website to help victims.
The Stop Online Abuse site, does however mainly aim at women, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people though as it’s claimed they suffer the most severe online abuse. It also offers to help those facing general harassment, hate speech, revenge porn, and sexual harassment.
The site provides useful legal advice and practical tips on how to respond to abusive comments online.
When all's said and done I guess, if you don’t yet have a Google Death Sentence yourself, or know someone who does;
Can we still rest safe in the knowledge it only happens to other people?
Like car accidents, or burglaries?