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
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
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.
6. Use alternatives to Facebook and Twitter
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.
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.
SPR tip: Use a VPN service to access internet content blocked in your country.
9. Access books and scientific papers
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.
A) Google search engine market share
B) Google vs. Bing
Coronavirus: a “planned pandemic” (Bing) or “planning tools” (Google)?
C) Google vs. Yandex
Pfizer vaccine: “booster” (Google) or “deaths” (Yandex)?
D) Wikipedia: Who is editing what?
Wikipedia: open encyclopedia or covert manipulation? (more)
E) Further reading
- The new mind control (Dr. Robert Epstein, Aeon, 2016)
- How the CIA made Google (Nafeez Ahmed, Medium, 2015)
- Google is not what it seems (Julian Assange, Wikileaks, 2014)
- The Military Origins of Facebook (Whitney Webb, Unlimited Hangout, 2021)
- Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet (Yasha Levine, 2018)