Advanced Online Media Use

Google: why censorship is important (January 2022)

Updated: May 2022
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Ten recommendations for the advanced use of online media.

1. Use a range of different media

Different media outlets may have very different views on the same topic. Use the SPR Media Navigator to compare media outlets with different political and geopolitical positions.

SPR tip: On important topics, check the sources yourself.

2. Access paywalled media content

Important media content is increasingly being placed behind paywalls. To disable online paywalls, use the “Bypass Paywalls” browser extension (Chrome version).

SPR tip: Support high-quality, independent journalism within the scope of your means.

3. Use an advertising and tracking blocker

To avoid getting tracked and profiled while browsing, use an ad and tracking blocker on all devices. Disable it only on websites that you want to support by letting them display ads.

SPR tip: Do not use the internet without an ad and tracking blocker. To disable anti-adblock systems, use an anti-adblock blocker extension.

4. Use alternatives to Google Search

The search results and search suggestions of Google Search are heavily manipulated. Therefore, replace Google Search with an alternative search engine on all devices (including mobiles).

Search engines that use their own search index include Microsoft Bing, Russian Yandex, British Mojeek, American Brave Search, and Chinese Petal Search (Huawei). Most other search engines – including DuckDuckGo and Qwant – rely on results provided by Microsoft Bing.

In addition, Swiss meta-search engine eTools combines results from Google, Bing, Yandex, Brave, Mojeek and other providers in a transparent and configurable way.

Update: In March 2022, Google, Microsoft Bing, and DuckDuckGo announced that they would remove or down-rank several websites “linked to Russia” from their search results.

5. Use alternatives to YouTube

The Google-owned video platform YouTube and its search function are also heavily manipulated and censored. Therefore, check independent video platforms as well.

To search for “controversial” videos on YouTube (if not already deleted), use a search engine other than YouTube and Google and add “site:youtube.com” to your search.

SPR tip: To bypass YouTube age-restrictions (often used to censor videos), use Simple YouTube Age Restriction Bypass. To download (restricted) videos, use 9xbuddy.com.

6. Use alternatives to Facebook and Twitter

Facebook and Twitter are heavily censored and manipulated on political and geopolitical issues. Therefore, consider independent social media platforms.

The notifications and “timelines” of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are also often heavily manipulated. Follow your preferred authors, channels and blogs directly via RSS instead.

SPR tip: To avoid limitations on Twitter, use the open-source Twitter front-end Nitter. On Youtube, you can subscribe to channels directly via RSS (no Youtube login required).

7. Caution with Wikipedia

Wikipedia is heavily manipulated by political and commercial interest groups. Thus, when researching “controversial topics”, Wikipedia should be used only with great caution.

For instance, always check the sources, history and discussion page of Wikipedia articles.

SPR tip: To see who edited what on Wikipedia, use the WikiWho browser extension.

8. Web browser, email, and internet access

Avoid the common but intrusive Google Chrome browser and instead use an independent browser that doesn’t track you when you use the internet and online media.

Use a VPN service to protect yourself from internet censorship and monitoring. Also, use a privacy-friendly email provider instead of Gmail or similar corporate providers.

SPR tip: Use a VPN service to access internet content blocked in your country.

9. Access books and scientific papers

To easily access books online, use Library Genesis, or Z-Library, or archive.org.

To access paywalled scientific papers, use Sci-Hub or a Sci-Hub browser extension.

SPR: Support independent authors within the scope of your means.

10. Access deleted web content

To easily access deleted or removed web content, use the Web Archives browser extension, which provides easy access to archive.org, archive.is, and other web archives.

SPR tip: To locate the source of an image, use TinEye reverse image search.

Inform friends and family

Inform friends and family about online manipulation and censorship and recommend alternatives.

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Annex

A) Google search engine market share

The US search engine market in 2019 (SparkToro)

B) Google vs. Bing

Coronavirus: a “planned pandemic” (Bing) or “planning tools” (Google)?

Coronavirus: Google vs. Bing (12/2021)

C) Google vs. Yandex

Pfizer vaccine: “booster” (Google) or “deaths” (Yandex)?

“Pfizer vaccine”: Yandex vs. Google (12/2021)

D) Wikipedia: Who is editing what?

Wikipedia: open encyclopedia or covert manipulation? (more)

WikiWho / WhoColor

E) Further reading

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See also


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