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Inside the disinformation industry A government-sponsored agency is censoring journalism

Clare Melford is co-founder of the 'Global Disinformation Index' (Getty Images)

Clare Melford is co-founder of the 'Global Disinformation Index' (Getty Images)


April 17, 2024   7 mins

“Our team re-reviewed the domain, the rating will not change as it continues to have anti-LGBTQI+ narratives
 The site authors have been called out for being anti-trans. Kathleen Stock is acknowledged as a ‘prominent gender-critical’ feminist.”

This was part of an email sent to UnHerd at the start of January from an organisation called the Global Disinformation Index. It was their justification, handed down after a series of requests, for placing UnHerd on a so-called “dynamic exclusion list” of publications that supposedly promote “disinformation” and should therefore be boycotted by all advertisers.

They provided examples of the offending content: Kathleen Stock, whose columns are up for a National Press Award this week, Julie Bindel, a lifelong campaigner against violence against women, and Debbie Hayton, who is transgender. Apparently the GDI equates “gender-critical” beliefs, or maintaining that biological sex differences exist, with “disinformation” — despite the fact that those beliefs are specifically protected in British law and held by the majority of the population.

 

The verdicts of “ratings agencies” such as the GDI, within the complex machinery that serves online ads, are a little-understood mechanism for controlling the media conversation. In UnHerd’s case, the GDI verdict means that we only received between 2% and 6% of the ad revenue normally expected for an audience of our size. Meanwhile, neatly demonstrating the arbitrariness and subjectivity of these judgements, Newsguard, a rival ratings agency, gives UnHerd a 92.5% trust rating, just ahead of the New York Times at 87.5%.

So, what are these “ratings agencies” that could be the difference between life and death for a media company? How does their influence work? And who funds them? The answers are concerning and raise serious questions about the freedom of the press and the viability of a functioning democracy in the internet age.

***

Disinformation only really became a discussion point in response to the Trump victory in 2016, and was then supercharged during the Covid era: Google Trends data shows that worldwide searches for the term quadrupled between June and December 2016, and had increased by more than 30 times by 2022. In response to the supposed crisis, corporations, technology companies and governments all had to show they were taking some form of action. This created a marketplace for enterprising start-ups and not-for-profits to claim a specialism in detecting disinformation. Today, there are hundreds of organisations who make this claim, providing all sorts of “fact-checking” services, including powerful ratings agencies such as GDI and Newsguard. These companies act as invisible gatekeepers within the vast machinery of online advertising.

How this works is relatively straightforward: in UnHerd’s case, we contract with an advertising agency, which relies on a popular tech platform called “Grapeshot”, founded in the UK and since acquired by Larry Ellison’s Oracle, to automatically select appropriate websites for particular campaigns. Grapeshot in turn automatically uses the “Global Disinformation Index” to provide a feed of data about “brand safety” — and if GDI gives a website a poor score, very few ads will be served.

“These companies act as invisible gatekeepers within the vast machinery of online advertising.”

The Global Disinformation Index was founded in the UK in 2018, with the stated objective of disrupting the business model of online disinformation by starving offending publications of funding. Alongside George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, the GDI receives money from the UK government (via the FCDO), the European Union, the German Foreign Office and a body called Disinfo Cloud, which was created and funded by the US State Department.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, its two founders emerged from the upper echelons of “respectable” society. First, there is Clare Melford, whose biography published by the World Economic Forum states that she had previously “led the transition of the European Council on Foreign Relations from being part of George Soros’s Open Society Foundation to independent status”. She set up the GDI with Daniel Rogers, who worked “in the US intelligence community”, before founding a company called “Terbium Labs” that used AI and machine learning to scour the internet for illicit use of sensitive data and then sold it handsomely to Deloitte.

Together, they have spearheaded a carefully intellectualised definitional creep as to what counts as “disinformation”. Back when it was first set up in 2018, they defined the term on their website as “deliberately false content, designed to deceive”. Within these strict parameters, you can see how it might have appeared useful to have dedicated fact-checkers identifying the most egregious offenders and calling them out. But they have since broadened the definition to encompass anything that deploys an “adversarial narrative” — stories that may be factually true, but pit people against each other by attacking an individual, an institution or “the science”.

GDI founder Clare Melford explained in an interview at the LSE in 2021 how this expanded definition was more “useful”, as it allowed them to go beyond fact-checking to targeting anything on the internet that they deem “harmful” or “divisive”:

“A lot of disinformation is not just whether something is true or false — it escapes from the limits of fact-checking. Something can be factually accurate but still extremely harmful
 [GDI] leads you to a more useful definition of disinformation… It’s not saying something is or is not disinformation, but it is saying that content on this site or this particular article is content that is anti-immigrant, content that is anti-women, content that is antisemitic
”

Larger traffic websites are rated using humans, she explains, but most are rated using automated AI. “We actually instantiate our definition of disinformation — the adversarial narrative topics — within the technology,” explains Melford. “Each adversarial narrative is given its own machine-learning classifier, which then allows us to search for content that matches that narrative at scale
 misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-black content, climate change denial, etc.”

Melford’s team and algorithm are essentially trained to identify and defund any content she finds offensive, not disinformation. Her personal bugbears are somewhat predictable: content supporting the January 6 “insurrections”, the pernicious influence of “white men in Silicon Valley”, and anything that might undermine the global response to the “existential challenge of climate change”.

The difficulty, however, is that most of these issues are highly contentious and require robust, uncensored discussion to find solutions. Challenges to scientific orthodoxy are particularly important, as the multiple failures of the official response to Covid-19 amply demonstrated. Indeed, one of the examples of GDI’s work that Melford highlighted in her LSE talk was an article about the Delta variant of Covid-19. “This is a Spanish language site talking about how a third of deaths in the United Kingdom from the Delta variant are amongst those people who are vaccinated, which is clearly untrue,” says Melford. “It is Chipotle that has been caught next to this ad unwittingly, and unfortunately for them have funded this highly dangerous disinformation about vaccines.”

The statistic being reported comes from a June 2021 Public Health England report into Covid variants that sets out the 42 known deaths from the Delta variant from January to June: 23 were unvaccinated, 7 vaccinated with one shot and 12 fully vaccinated. In other words, 29% were fully vaccinated — around a third — and 17% partially vaccinated, making a total of 45% vaccinated. To further complicate the question, Melford misread the Spanish headline, and it actually referenced two thirds, or 66%, which is wrong again.

Examples like this are far from rare. The GDI still hosts an uncorrected 2020 blog about the “evolution of the Wuhan lab conspiracy theory” surrounding Covid-19’s origins, which concludes that “cutting off ads to these fringe sites and their outer networks is the first action needed”. This is despite the fact that Facebook and other tech companies long ago corrected similar policies and conceded that it was a legitimate hypothesis that should never have been censored.

***

In the US, a number of media organisations have started to take action against GDI’s partisan activism, prompted by a GDI report in 2022 that listed the 10 most dangerous sites in America. To many, it looked simply like a list of the country’s most-read conservative websites. It even included RealClearPolitics, a well-respected news aggregator whose polling numbers are among the most quoted in the country. The “least risk of disinformation” list was, predictably enough, populated by sites with a liberal inclination.

In recent months, a number of American websites have launched legal challenges against GDI’s labelling system, which they claim infringes upon their First Amendment rights. In December, The Daily Wire and The Federalist teamed up with the attorney general of Texas to sue the state department for funding GDI and Newsguard. A separate initiative to prevent the Defense Department from using any advertiser that uses Newsguard, GDI or similar entities has been successful, and is now part of federal law.

But GDI is a British company and, on this side of the Atlantic, the Conservative Government continues to fund it. A written question from MP Philip Davies last year revealed that £2.6 million was given in the period up to last year, and that there is still “frequent contact” between the GDI and the FCDO “Counter Disinformation and Media Development” unit.

***

Yesterday, I was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords Communication and Digital Committee during which I outlined the extent of the threat to the free media of self-appointed ratings agencies such as the Global Disinformation Index. The reality, as I told Parliament, is that GDI is merely the tip of the iceberg. At a time when the news media is so distrusted and faces a near-broken business model, the role of government should be to prevent, not encourage, and most certainly not fund, consolidations of monopoly power around certain ideological viewpoints.

But this isn’t simply a matter for the media. Both companies and those in the advertising sector also need to act: it cannot be good marketing for brands to target only half the population. Last year, Oracle announced it was cutting ties with GDI on free speech grounds, but as we discovered, it seems they are still collaborating via the Grapeshot plaform: is Larry Ellison aware of this?

At its heart, the disinformation panic is becoming a textbook example of how a “solution” can do more harm than the problem it is designed to address. Educated campaigners such as Clare Melford may think they are doing the world a service, but in fact they are acting as intensifying agents, lending legitimacy to a conspiratorial world view in which governments and corporations are in cahoots to censor political expression. Unless something is done to stop them, they will continue to sow paranoia and distrust — and hasten us towards an increasingly radicalised and divided society.

***

This article has been updated to reference the fact that Clare Melford misread the headline about deaths from the Delta variant, and it actually claimed 2/3 not 1/3.


Freddie Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
1 month ago

If the people cannot be trusted to discern truth from lies, then they cannot be trusted to participate in government and “democracy” is not only a sham but actively dangerous. Already there are assaults on the notion of the jury trial, where the individual citizen is trusted to sieve fact from opinion and which functions as the most fundamental way in which the citizen participates in government. Now the totalitarians wish to extend their control to the arena of public debate.
I’m reading Richard Pipes’s excellent history of the Russian Revolution, and while the passage is too long to quote in full, the relevant section is as follows:

A brilliant if little-known French historian, Augustin Cochin, first showed the peculiarly destructive intellectual atmosphere that had prevailed in France in the decades immediately preceding the Revolution. He began his inquiries with a study of Jacobinism. Seeking its antecedents, he was led to the social and cultural circles formed in France in the 1760s and 1770s to promote “advanced” ideas. These circles, which he called societes de pensee, were made up of literary associations, Masonic lodges, academies, as well as various “patriotic” and cultural clubs. According to Cochin, the societes de pensee insinuated themselves into a society in which the traditional estates were in the process of disintegration. To join them required severing connections with one’s social group and dissolving one’s class (estate) identity in a community bound exclusively by a commitment to common ideas. Jacobinism was a natural product of this phenomenon: in France, unlike England, the movement for change emanated not from parliamentary institutions but from literary and philosophical clubs.

These circles, in which the historian of Russia recognizes many of the features of the Russian intelligentsia of a century later, had as their main mission the forging of a consensus: they achieved cohesion not through shared interests but through shared ideas, ruthlessly imposed on their members and accompanied by vicious attacks on all who thought differently:

Prior to the bloody terror of ’93, there existed, between 1765 and 1780, a dry terror in the republic of letters, of which the Encyclopedia was the Committee of Public Safety and d’Alembert was Robespierre. It mowed down reputations as the other did heads: its guillotine was defamation…

For intellectuals of this kind, the criterion of truth was not life: they created their own reality, or rather, sur-reality, subject to verification only with reference to opinions of which they approved. Contradictory evidence was ignored: anyone inclined to heed such evidence was ruthlessly cast out.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
1 month ago

Our great misfortune is to live in a time when the stupidest, most ignorant, most arrogant, most narcissistic, least life-experienced, least useful and plain old nastiest of us also tend to be the loudest, most visible and most bullying of public conversations. Solely, I hasten to add, by virtue of shamelessly seizing the tribal talking stick and hogging the bloody thing. If one doesn’t flatter them by wearily rote-intoning the requisite entry platitudes of the moment, one simply doesn’t get a democratic say at all.
Thank you, Marshall McLuhan; thank you, Reggie Fessenden; than you, modern mass media technology. Helpfully over-amplifying bullies, grifters, snitches, narcissists, curtain-twitchers, predators, grubs, thugs, lemmings, loonies and general sociopathic f*ckwittery since 1900. This modern Priesthood: The People You See On The Telly.
One often fantasises of a sudden mass uprising of the invisible, un-broadcast sane and grounded multitudes. In which we all suddenly snap out of our mass media hypnosis-psychosis, and recognise both the ‘journalism’ and ‘celebrity culture’ it has given us as the monumental epistemic cons they are. Professional Talkers? The Undeserved Famous? If I were world dictator I would round up every last one and exile them to the moon. Elon and Jeff could duke it out to see who gets to be mummy and daddy of this intrepid new human tribe: the Stupid Loud W*nking Moon Media People.

McLovin
McLovin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Get it off your chest Jack!

Steve Simpson
Steve Simpson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Brilliant – I am using that phrase “moon media people “.
Thank you for this article, unherd – it’s an eye opener to me.

mike otter
mike otter
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Simpson

Maybe its a derivative of “moonbat” – use specifically to describe the ideologically confused Geo. Monbiot, it is a general term for ppl with wacko ideas – usually pseudo-scientific or just plain “out there” – So George – is Eichmann a God?

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Simpson

Me too. Who Knew?

mike otter
mike otter
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Just talking to a couple of old (80+) ppl on my dog walk this am – they seem disgusted with the “people on the telly” compared to their younger years. I agree but there’s a lot of humour there too. I doubt any but the most zany guardian-stalinist would want to kill or kidnap Richard Burton or Sue Lawley, but remember the probably fake “kidnap plot” of Holy Willerby? After a few days i expect the kidnappers would be offering the govt money to take her back!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

This is so delicious I copy/pasted it to myself! Well done!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Brilliant

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

“…the invisible, un-broadcast sane and grounded multitudes.”

Do you have persuasive evidence that this invisible multitude exists? It’s legitimate to wonder how a supposed ‘multitude’ can manage to keep this low a profile without non-existence as well.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Kennedy

The “grounded multitudes” tend not to want to make a noise because they’re not fanatical.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Beautiful!! So well said.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Go on Jack
. Bloody brilliant!

Edge Turns
Edge Turns
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

It would seem Walter Lippmann’s totalitarian vision of a Technocratic Elite ‘managing the world’ with Mass Media the vehicle for Curating Consensus and Managing Opinion… has come to pass. Dewey lost the argument.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
1 month ago
Reply to  Edge Turns

To paraphrase (the sadly mistranslated, in turns out) Zhou Enlai: too early to say. The looming of Trump II is nothing if not a wake-up call – a second one (more of a wake-up kick in the goolies) – to the thicker, smugger Lippmanites of the day. I’d have thought.
‘Journalism’ – that toxic, lying bast*rd hybrid of an ersatz epistemology – is, I think, already dead. (The corpse still groans, twitches and expels fetid pockets of air from time to time, but it’s just rigour mortis at work.) So Lippmann’s Tool of the Elites can hardly be said confidently to have ‘won’ anything much…save perhaps Humanity’s next cyclically-predictable little hiccup of information anarchy and thus material world regression, butchery and misery.
Good to be alive in interesting times, I suppose.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

PS: Being fair to Lippman, in the end he was a long way from being cheerful about his own theorising, I think. Very smart, prescient and I think decent chap, yes?

McLovin
McLovin
1 month ago

I love that phrase “forged a consensus”. What we are seeing at the moment in our society is an attempt to create what I call a compulsory consensus on certain issues (e.g. trans), which of course is not a consensus at all.

David B
David B
1 month ago
Reply to  McLovin

Hence the consensus is a forgery, no?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  McLovin

Always very suspicious of consensus. At best =fudge. With liberal sprinkling of dubious info 
.

Adam M
Adam M
1 month ago

Our modern culture of echo chambers surely has a worrying similarity to this. Nowadays society is divided into so many groups living in separate ideological realities. Dostoevsky’s ‘Demons’ should be required reading!

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam M

The irony of course is that some of the visitors here consider the bulk of the Unherd audience to be an almost overwhelming and impenetrable echo chamber, which is why unwelcome comments are constantly flagged and moderated, and often end up missing for the busiest phases of discussion.
A curious trend for advocates of free speech.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

While I don’t agree with many of your comments I certainly agree that the moderation system and flagging system undoubtedly distorts discussion here. I have frequently urged Freddie to publish an article on the moderation system that is so common to all publications that allow comment. Readers may be able to suggest improvements. Seeing up and down thumbs was suggested by a reader and has been an interesting adoption.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Although it was before i joined Unherd, i believe the original Comments mode included ‘up & down’ thumbs but was subsequently changed to a single net figure; only in the latest iteration has it been changed back. I agree, it’s very useful in the current mode.
It is curious – and i agree on this with Robbie K – that Unherd‘s editors can promote more open debate without being penalised via advertising revenue cut-off but at the same time restrict comment which to the vast majority causes no actual offence except being disagreed with.
This is unhealthy, and if Freddie Sayers is reading these comments he needs to act upon this issue alongside taking whatever steps necessary to promote democratically-vital debate without fear of being penalised.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Yes, it was – changed not long after I joined if memory serves (late 2021). I swear it was nothing to do with me.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

A ‘single net figure’ has the obvious disadvantage of obscuring just how much positive and negative reaction an article has attracted. There’s a big difference between a 0-0 tie and a 100-100 tie, and between a 5-0 score and a 128-123 score. A net figure subtracts pertinent information from the information commons.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The thumbs up and down was suggested by me numerous times. I was constantly complaining about the old way. Squeaky wheels worked.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There may well be a concensus in the UnHerd comments section which disagrees with your views on some subjects. But that’s not at all the same as you being actively censored or excluded.
UnHerd’s vetting of comments is incomprehensible and frustrating to all of us. It’s not obvious it isn’t random.
Fow what it’s worth, I disagree with your views most of the time (perhaps 90%). But sometimes might agree. A similar ratio to my reaction to Julie Bindel (though for quite different reasons !). But you both sometimes say things which are valuable and need to be heard – and should be heard.
It’s possible – in fact I think normal – to robustly disagree with someone and believe in free speech. In fact, that is the definition of free speech, isn’t it ?
Please stick around and stop UnHerd becoming an echo chamber !

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I have had completely innocuous comments disappear for seemingly no reason. I have had comments that are inline with consensus (below line) and ones that are not disappear.
I have, on numerous occasions, speculated that the comment system is automated and likely triggered by downvotes (among other things), which explain why certain commentators (such as CS, who is generally just trolling anyway) almost always disappear after a certain threshold but will reappear sometime later.
I think Unherd is using WordPress for the comments (at the very least) – a few years back the website had crashed and it contained a WordPress error message. WordPress is rather draconian, and I suspect that Unherd have limited capacity to configure the behaviour of the system – particularly since most of the comments that disappear do come back again, which suggests someone’s time is being wasted. Comments that should be removed (e.g. offensive, and not just in Scotland) are rare.
However, this is still my biggest gripe about Unherd, paying for a subscription grants the right to comment. Removal of comments is not just a waste of money but also time.
As such, I support all comments to remain (egregious breaches of etiquette aside).
Finally, if Unherd’s mission statement is to provide a diversity of opinion, surely the whole point is to have those opinions challenged? An idea that has been challenged and passes is a robust one.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I would draw the line at threats or incitement to violence. I wouldn’t draw the line at breaches of etiquette. Sticks and stones…..

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

Kind of my point with the use of egregious and attempt to avoid another bloated sentence. But yes, I agree.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I think you right that it is largely an IT issue. I tried to post a comment earlier much of which was congratulating Freddie on an excellent piece of journalism. It seemed an unlikely target for UH censorship but got vaporised none the less.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened to me. here. The NYP ( yes, I slum it but I like to think I’m eclectic) now zaps all my comments be they just saying the sky is blue. So it must be my name.

A D Kent
A D Kent
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I have to agree with this little portion of the thread. I find a lot of my comments disappearing for hours when they should have been at the top (I was recently in Nevada and on my laptop when many UnH posts were published).

FWIW the particular issues where I disagree with the “forged consensus” mostly relate to those that rely on the assumptions that all the West’s motives are saintly and any misadventures mere “mistakes” whilst all the actions of our official enemies (Russia, China, Iran etc) are driven by evil intent and always unprovoked. This would give me a bad rating on both NewsGuard and the CDI.

It’s a shame that the over-lap in the Venn diagram of ‘anti-Imperialist’, ‘Gender Critical’, ‘Lockdown sceptic’, ‘Brexiteer’ isn’t larger, but I’ll keep plugging away.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Thanks for your suggestion that WordPress is the supplier of the moderation system algorithm. I do think there should be proper transparency regarding the moderation system employed just as Freddie’s article draws back the veil on the sinister employment of this “fact checking” but in reality ideological gatekeeper organisation by advertisers.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yes. I actually just sanity checked myself and sure enough it does still have WordPress fingerprints in there.

It also draws us to how this is part of a larger complex as it provides the backbone of the media industry. In this case, WordPress’ implementation of automated moderation is built using WordPress’ sensibilities, not Unherd’s.
Of course, this is all obvious when we view Facebook or X, but the more worrying issue is the tech that provides the infrastructure that underpins the internet. Imagine a scenario where DNS servers or internet backbone servers can control packet priority based upon GDI? This would create a form of shadow banning on an enormous scale.
The NGOs would be the de-facto regulators of speech by the back door. And it wouldn’t matter if those servers are public domain or private, because both have decided to outsource this decision making to the NGOs.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

You make an important point that requires debate before debate becomes effectively banned by the hidden censors.

George Venning
George Venning
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Would it make sense for people to flag comments that were temporaily disappeared and then come back? You could just put a little parenthesis at the end. Something like
[This comment returned after a short stint with the mods]
I’m sure we’ve all had comments that we felt to be entirely innocuous disappear and it would be helpful to see what others are having picked up

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You clearly spend inordinate amounts of time offering critique on every article. But in fact it’s astounding that readers engage with you constantly bending over backwards to civilly interact and offer up thoughtful counterpoints.

Maybe instead of resenting that they don’t give you a trophy or your own articles, you should see what a open minded environment this is.

T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is too passive aggressive. Are you saying that because your opinions fall outside the “Consensus” of the typical Unherd Commentariat that you specifically have been isolated for censorship?

Everyone here has had innocuous comments suppressed. You are not being targeted for wrongthink.

Simon S
Simon S
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Yes – I find it hard to sympathise with Unherd on its own predicament both because it has done so little to support other, much more vulnerable and much more courageous expert voices that have been noisily deplatformed, demonetized and worse (mainly on Covid v’s and v’s generally) and because of the relentless abuse of its own platform by refusing to feature the “other perspective” on Palestine/Israel. First they came for… then they came for me…

Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for Unherd finally to realize quite how real a threat the US-led “Deep State” globalists actually are – and for how long that threat has been gestating (and of which several US presidents warned us)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

What do you consider “Unwelcome comments”. As a dissenting voice here most of the time I haven’t experienced being erased.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

For me as a German reader it seems the range of opinions both in the commentary section of UnHerd, as well as the featured articles, represent a significantly wider spectrum and leave more room for healthy controversy compared to leading German news and print media – these tend to be less open and rather cater to their respective bubbles. Censorship looms everywhere.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

Richard Pipes is excellent. I thoroughly recommend his “Property and Freedom” about Russia.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 month ago

Separating what is true from what is false has always been the single greatest of all challenges. We bothered with it mightily, on the assumption that nothing matters more than the truth. The person Freddie spoke of has thrown in the towel on all this. The truth, in her view, is not salvific, but ruinous; it will not set us free, but imprison us. The question is: What conclusion must one reach, to pick up a sword against the truth?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

I used to laugh at talk of small intellectual circles and secret societies guiding the policy of nations and other powerful organizations. I no longer do so. I no longer doubt the existence or intent of these cabals of behind the scenes actors actively trying to steer global public opinion and control large organizations. Not surprising to see the usual suspects come up in this article, Soros and his globalist ilk. The question to me is how many of them are actually committed to their ideology and how many of them are using it as the excuse to further their own wealth and power. The former are more dangerous as they will go to great lengths and cause significant suffering to accomplish their ideological goals. They will steer the ship true to their guiding principles even as it burns and falls to pieces around them. The latter group, the opportunists, can be relied upon to bail out and abandon the cause well before that point.
I remain skeptical of their ability to actually retain control for any significant period of time or accomplish much. I’m fairly sure the Jacobins never intended the Napoleonic Empire, nor did the Bolsheviks imagine the horrors of Stalin. That is, however, what they ultimately got. In the end, their basic nature fails them. The same commitment to ideals that drives them to enforce conformity and establish a consensus among themselves and enforce it from the top down also limits their intellectual breadth and their ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. They will find some problem that cannot be resolved within their dogmatic schema and will find themselves replaced by more pragmatic thinkers, probably a popular dictator if historical precedent holds.

Faszero
Faszero
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Behind most of today’s scandals and the reason why no-one is held accountable is the influence the secret societies have in all areas you only need to read the best seller the Brotherhood by Stephen Knight to understand the depth of their reach.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
1 month ago

I definitely agree with the conclusion and wrote something similar a while ago. Soviet and Russian examples invariably surface (including both in the video and in these comments) whenever misinformation and disinformation are discussed. This inevitably makes me think of my Russian mother-in-law, a comparison you never want to draw. 
People become more vulnerable to absurd ideas not only because they are ignorant about an issue, and thus easy to fool – but also when too many in authority deny an issue even exists. The more often your reality is dismissed as a fantasy world, the more comfortable you may feel reaching for something fantastical.
It also always baffles me how people who fight for their version of reality never seem to consider how the tools they establish could be used against them once people with a different perspective take charge.

Danny D
Danny D
1 month ago

It also always baffles me how people who fight for their version of reality never seem to consider how the tools they establish could be used against them once people with a different perspective take charge.

I always use this one when left wingers argue for anti-‚hate speech‘ legislation: What if the next government prohibits you from saying things that could hurt the feelings of religious people? Yeah, forget about your pro-abortion protests. If they have the least shred of imagination that shuts them up pretty quickly. But I‘ve also found that many on the left believe that since their ideas are ‚progressive‘, that means that the whole world is inevitably marching towards what they see as utopia in a straight line. They also tend to not know any history and in general are completely oblivious to how the world works, so they‘ll blissfully shovel their own graves by trying to reverse Enlightenment and other achievements of Western culture.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny D

They have nothing to fear because if the dominant narrative changes, they’ll just change their opinion. It’s the authoritarianism which appeals, not any particular view.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

The corollary is that, since they conform to the dominant narrative, ultimately they do not lead but follow events. GDI has yet to react to the shift in the debate on gender issues – possibly because its US clients have not yet shifted as much as the U.K. consensus – but it will in due course bend with the wind. UH may suffer commercially in the short term but, if it wins the battle of ideas, the likes of GDI will fall into line. UH may not be a purely commercially driven but most organisations are – even “non profits”. GDI may initially have been funded by governments but it now gets more than half its revenues from selling its index to businesses.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago

I also have an “interesting” mother in law, so believe me, I feel your pain.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

I wish we could do something to make the avg person understand how deeply entrenched the censorship industrial complex has become. Sadly, FS is preaching to the choir here. Although most conservatives and independents don’t trust the regime media, very few actively seek out alternative platforms. In the end, the GDI and others are actually accelerating the demise of the regime media. If the regime media is confined to the narrow band of stories approved by the GDI, it will further alienate consumers.

This is also another example of the pernicious and destructive influence of NGOs. These parasitic groups distort the political process by creating a false consensus on a wide range of issues.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I wish we could do something to make the avg person understand how deeply entrenched the censorship industrial complex has become.
There is a clear and existing mechanism to inform the general public about these trends: media outlets dedicated to free speech and unbiased analysis of the important issues in society. They now go by the name of The New Media and that includes Unherd and its many essays on the general theme of censorship.
Sadly, so far as I can see, most people aren’t interested and/or don’t care. They are interested in their job, their family, paying the bills and having some fun–life in general. There has been, for example, endless coverage (culminating in the Cass Report in the UK) of the harm being done to children by gender ideology and the teaching of that ideology in schools. A few brave parents have resisted the trans agenda in schools but, so far as I can see, most people do nothing.
What more does it take to motivate people to oppose the censors, the woke, the mutilators of children? At some point, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion most people just don’t pay attention or don’t care enough to act. And that is the real threat to Western culture.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

People have busy lives. It’s hard work reading a tweet and then looking for information to validate or prove the point as mis information. In the end I learn to trust someone and make the effort to read around the subject. Sometimes don’t understand the point. So I have to decide whether to invest time to understand what the person says.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Most people don’t have time to care. Large numbers of people seldom read anything let alone have time to analyse whether it is true or not. I suspect most readers and particularly posters here are people who are retired or otherwise have an unusual amount of time to spare and have acquired the taste for reading and discussion in earlier times. Unless a “popular opinion” offends against common sense – which many woke ideas do – most of us don’t have the time or inclination to question it.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The “censorship industrial complex” as you put it is indeed now deeply imbedded. This article is one of the most important articles to be published in Unherd in that it draws back the veil on the pernicious influence on public debate by “fact checkers” that are in reality simply ideological censors. It is disgraceful that such organisations are funded by a supposedly conservative government.

But the proliferation of independent organisations paid for by government and industry tasked with promoting various desirable ends that are then captured by ideologues intent on shutting down genuine debate has become a feature of public life. One that needs to be ended.

I have in the past called for Freddie to publish an article on the malign effects of the algorithms that Unherd subscribes to monitor our comments here. I have always been puzzled by Unherd’s reluctance to do so as the crude algorithms undoubtedly have a woke bias that is contrary to what Unherd stands for. But perhaps discussing such a subject would merely have exacerbated the hidden pressure on Unherd to censor opinions and articles that go against the views of the the hidden censors that have been revealed in this article. Perhaps it it only because the malignancy of the censors discussed in this article is so clear that Unherd have been prepared to draw the curtain back and are emboldened by the fight back by conservatives in the US against this form of ideological censorship.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

… and very few people realise how deeply entrenched they are in our government and media. For example, the CEO of Best For Britain appears regularly on the BBC’s Daily Politics show to scaremonger about Brexit – but we are never told that her organisation is largely financed by American hedge fund billionaires. Probably the same is true of this GDI racket.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I agree and thought Freddie’s expose was another excellent piece of journalism. Four points:

1/ We have been here before. Each technological shift in mass communication – printing, newspapers, radio, TV, cable news, etc – has been disruptive and destabilising but eventually a new regime with some checks and balances emerges e.g. free speech + libel laws for printing (though only after the immediate effect in Europe of printing being a 100 years of religious wars).

2/ If we set out to design a new system of checks and balances for this brave new online world then it will not be sufficient to chant “free speech” and other traditional slogans. As this case illustrates there are entirely new challenges such as defunding and amplification. It matters little if everyone is free to speak if the debate is being manipulated to produce an specific consensus / orthodoxy. This is complicated and needs new thinking.

3/ If one takes GDI it appears to have started as an attempt to counteract the polarising effects of FB etc algorithms which steered traffic to and amplified extreme content to the point where it supposedly threatens civil war. This was not a silly objective. FB’s pursuit of profitability by maximising “engagement” i.e. anger was irresponsible. It is only later that GDI has mutated into a coercive tool for discouraging gender critical and other unprogressive views.

4/ If any future regime tames the debate online – and renders it constructive and free – then it will probably, as with printing, involve checks and balances not just prescription. It is like creating a new balanced ecosystem: you need predators, herbivores and vegetables. In this context I would not be surprised if GDI style tools end up playing a useful role – so long as they are only mild correctives to a basically free and honest debate and are transparent in their methodology.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I agree that online discussion and comment can descend into outright lies, flame wars and mere propaganda that no one wishes to wade through to find the useful comments and articles.

The manner in which discussions are conducted, the terms of engagement as it were, are important issues that need to be discussed openly not smuggled in covertly by parties with their own biases.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Detailed and incisive analysis; precisely why i subscribe to Unherd.
I’m left pondering which of us might be classified into which of your categories: predators, herbivores and vegetables!!
For instance, Champagne Socialist is obviously a predator and regards everyone else as a vegetable.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Personally, I am sure I am an amiable herbivore. I suspect listing my classification of others would get me banned from the site!

The underlying serious point is that is that just as the libel laws cut down the amount of personal abuse in printed media but allowed most sensible free speech so there needs to be something discouraging abuse, polarisation, etc online. BUT it is a matter of balance. GDI appears to overreaching. Likewise, a few wolves introduced into a national park weed out the weaker deer and prevent overgrazing thus leading to a stronger overall ecosystem with more trees, water, etc. Either no wolves or too many has unfortunate side effects. In the West we tend to think in binaries i.e. good vs bad but often good = balance between different forces.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

More excellent analogies. I don’t give praise easily, only where something is worth highlighting, which is perhaps in accord with your principle of not being binary in approach. Otherwise, i suspect i might well fall into the predator category, at least to some!

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Thanks. But it is much easier to produce a metaphor about wolves and deer than actually design a social media regime that balances the competing objectives.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

As Elon Musk is finding out (the hard way).

Simon James
Simon James
1 month ago

And this, amongst other reasons, is why we will not get decent politicians. Why be in office when you won’t be in power?

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

On this one, well done Freddie. Be good to hear more in due course on conclusions/report of HoL CDC, and perhaps who in Govt is overseeing the deployment of Govt funds on this.
A response to the surge in on line fake news necessary and inevitable. Understandable advertisers will want to avoid association in certain scenarios. But as set out this is a v dangerous unaccountable scope-creep.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I’d suggest that fake news in the establishment media represents a much greater danger than anything online. Iraq, the financial crash, the Libyan debacle, the endless fantasising about ‘white supremacy’, the demonisation of people with quite vanilla opinions as ‘far right’, … Most of all the lying by omission in relation to COVID, trans, Ukraine and so many other issues.

The very term ‘fake news’ – implying as it does that there can only be one interpretation of events – is itself the most egregious example.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Out of interest HB, do you see The Times, the Telegraph, The Mail, The Express as ‘establishment’ media?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago

It’s interesting that the shutting down of NatCon in Brussels, seems to have been ignored on the BBC Today programme so far this morning.
Once upon a time Today was the premier news agenda setting radio programme in Blighty. It’s fallen a long way, if it’s failed to discuss this anti-democratic behaviour by the Mayor of Brussels.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago

The NatCon conference has since been allowed to go ahead following an appeal by the conference organisers to the Conseil d’Etat. The initial shut-down remains a stain on the EU-leaning politico-bureaucrats such as the local Mayor.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 month ago

Novara covered this but also the German crackdown on the Palistinian congress with luminaries such as Yanis Varoufakis. The Berlin conference never reopened, the Brussel one did.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 month ago

“In UnHerd’s case, the GDI verdict means that we only received between 2% and 6% of the ad revenue normally expected for an audience of our size“. And that’s only the start. People will be nervous about subscribing or contributing to particular websites when there is a risk that they could be debanked, which these days means being left to starve. If they are photographed at a political event like yesterday’s NatCon conference, or even a local protest about traffic restrictions, they could appear via facial recognition software on a police database as “far right”. They can be denounced by someone for in work or even in their own home under Hate Speech legislation or Corporate policies, thus rendered unemployable. And when oppositional media outlets have been rendered sufficiently financially vulnerable they can be shut down via lawfare, safe in the knowledge they can’t afford to fight back, and even if they could, they would lose, because judges and regulators are drawn from the same dominant class. And there will be no popular backlash, because young people have been denied the ideological framework, and even the language, to oppose these things.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

The joys of totalitarianism. Of course on a more restricted level this has been going on in the background for many decades.

My father, a staunch conservative, was once told by a friend who had invited him to dine with Selwyn Lloyd that he had been informed as a result that my father was on a black list of Communist agents because he had once attended a conference of “Doctors against the War” during the pre WW2 period that had been organised by the Communist Party unknown to him.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It was perhaps less of a problem in those days. If you were blacklisted you would be ineligible for certain roles, but if you went down to the butcher to get some meat, you would pay in cash, and you had no fear that your card would suddenly evaporate.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Gerry Quinn

True. The level of potential intrusion has greatly increased as a result of technology and the sense as to what is appropriate.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I’m afraid that is chillingly close to the unfolding reality; a sad situation.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago

“Apparently the GDI equates “gender-critical” beliefs, or maintaining that biological sex differences exist, with “disinformation” — despite the fact that those beliefs are specifically protected in British law and held by the majority of the population.”

Yes – but surely more to the point the claim that biological sex differences exist is one of the increasingly rare scientific statements a person can make that is obviously and undeniably correct?

This came up when Maya Forstater won her employment case in court – a most welcome outcome that made all sane people sigh with relief – but the basis upon which she won was that her conviction that biological sex is real amounted to a “protected belief”. This is nonsense. It is not a “belief” at all, it is a fact that is both scientifically and empiricallly observable in any human being that exists (and even dead humans buried for thousands of years for that matter: even skeletons are obviously male or female).

You might wonder what the difference is given that the right result was reached anyway, well the difference is that once our freedom of speech is protected by government policy which deems in advance whether or not a particular idea is acceptable, it’s no longer freedom of speech, but government-mandated permission-of-speech. And that, of course, can change according to political fashion. This is a very poor protection indeed compared with the certainty that you can defend your right to say something because you have the facts to hand. It is in fact a gift to totalitarianism that it is now the business of the State to determine that facts are now beliefs which either fit into a political definition of acceptability or otherwise. It is a disaster for personal liberty that this is so – even when, such as in the case of Maya Forstater, the law actually gets it right.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Absolutely. Hence the origin of the phrase (in Soviet Russia) ‘politically correct’. Ie not simply correct, but acceptable to those in charge.

George Venning
George Venning
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr E C

I did not know that was the origin of the term.
It makes sense, inasmuch as it was a widely used term that no-one ever used in relation to themselves (see also “woke” of course).

Marsha D
Marsha D
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree absolutely. Biological (genetic) difference is not conjured up by a magical belief system: it is actually manifest at a cellular level in our own bodies. So yes, right result, wrong pathway.

George Venning
George Venning
1 month ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I take your larger point of course. But…
“…surely more to the point the claim that biological sex differences exist is one of the increasingly rare scientific statements a person can make that is obviously and undeniably correct”
Leave aside whether or not that specific statement is true. (It is of course)
The point of free speech is the pursuit of truth. But truth itself cannot be the thing that justifies any specific instance of unwelcome speech.
If we can only say unwelcome things on the basis that they are true then ultimately, we are prevented from saying things that might be true.
And if you don’t have the right to be wrong without consequence then you don’t have a field of free inquiry in order to work out how to be right (or at least less wrong).
The very mechanism of truth-finding (hypothesis -> antithesis -> synthesis) relies upon the existence of error.
It is not established truth that we need to protect but error. Because without the ability to err, we can never discover new truth.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 month ago

A General Election is in the offing. I urge everyone who sympathises with Freddie’s perspective to memorise or take a note of a few key facts or quotations. They could include Medford’s potty definition of “disinformation” and the amount of money (£2.6mn) the government gave her organisation, Global Disinformation Index, in 2023.

Then write to your prospective candidates, setting out the information and ask them if they would seek to change anything. Do they agree that the government should be spending public money in effect to deplatform “adversarial narratives” that are the lifeblood of a liberal democracy? Try to avoid things which sound like GB News talking points and use examples from the recent past to jolt people. For example what if the government has done this in the 1980s when campaign groups like Stonewall and Greenpeace had just been getting going? How about the courageous Hillsborough families? Or the victims of Jimmy Savile? They all had adversarial narratives which challenged the mainstream or establishment version of “the truth” How would they have got the truth out?

Better still, go along to hustings events and ask the question. If you take a friend, sit separately from each other to increase the chances that you’ll both be chosen to pose a question. Be sure to dress smartly, be nice to EVERYONE, try not to sound angry (even if you are), and give an impression of being intelligent, concerned, and public-spirited (which you are). If you have controversial opinions on specific topics, try and keep them to yourself for the evening.

Even if the whole thing is a charade, at least you’re going to marginally raise the salience of these issues and use the opportunity to make your candidates feel uncomfortable. They won’t forget it in a hurry. Remain calm, and remember that the devil always overplays his hand. And try and forgive the likes of Melford, for they know not what they do.

Fifi de P
Fifi de P
1 month ago

Thank you for this truly informative piece that gives more insight into the system of influencing people by narratives.
What I do miss and I think is the true essence of the matter; is the dominance of a marketing & advertisement-based business model online. This is where the ultimate power of influence comes from.

McLovin
McLovin
1 month ago
Reply to  Fifi de P

Hopefully though, advertisers will realise they are losing revenue by being unable to reach a proportion of the population who have significant disposable income.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Progressivism is a metastasising cancer.

Daniel Patrick
Daniel Patrick
1 month ago

just a quick comment as I read this (somewhat disturbing) article.
This is how they always do it. They immerse the frog in cold water and then slowly turn up the heat until it’s cooked without realising it was being murdered- start recognising the patterns people
Back when it was first set up in 2018, they defined the term on their website as “deliberately false content, designed to deceive”. Within these strict parameters, you can see how it might have appeared useful to have dedicated fact-checkers identifying the most egregious offenders and calling them out. But they have since broadened the definition to encompass anything that deploys an “adversarial narrative” — stories that may be factually true, but pit people against each other by attacking an individual, an institution or “the science”.
Actually while we are on the subject, didn’t the definition of “vaccine” get recently broadened too ……..

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Patrick

The definition of “pandemic” will also “broaden” if WHO get their way. Herald the mandates.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Patrick

The irony is that most progress (scientific and otherwise) depends upon an ‘adversarial narrative’. Preventing such is a great way to dumb-down the conversation and impose an approved narrative. Therein lies the death of the Enlightenment and its progeny.

Duane M
Duane M
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Patrick

First let’s be fair to the frogs: they don’t get boiled, they jump out when the water is too warm.
But a broader paradigm does hold, which is the the shifting baseline theory.
The shifting baseline theory was first proposed by a fisheries biologist, who found that people in their anecdotal sense of the size and abundance of fish tend to consider that the normal range is whatever they experienced while growing up.
Thus, older fishermen would complain that the fish are smaller and less abundant, while young and middle-aged fishermen would say that not much has changed; that the fish ecosystem is steady.
Data-driven analysis confirms that the fish we catch commercially are indeed smaller — you can see it easily in historical photographs.
The driving force is that our sensory perceptions are not evolved to record absolute measures but rather to discern differences. In that view it is natural that we ignore gradual changes, whether in our environment or in our ideas; it is only when somebody takes the trouble to collect the long perspective that gradual trends (or degraded thought processes) become apparent.
All the more reason, of course, for an authoritarian or totalitarian regime to suppress, purge, or re-write its history.

Daniel Patrick
Daniel Patrick
1 month ago

For those who don’t believe that there is an extremely well organised, strategic beyond belief, effort to control the population for the benefit of a very wealthy few, there is. This is an example of the lengths they go to

0 0
0 0
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Patrick

hank you Freddie for flagging this up. I’m wondering what I as an individual can do to help fight this travesty.

Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
1 month ago

Hmm. They’re not very good at it are they!

jim peden
jim peden
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Doble

They apparently don’t need to be as they’re funded by government.

R Wright
R Wright
1 month ago

How long is it going to take you to comprehend that these people see you as a political foe that must be destroyed, then driven to homeless and an early grave. I am sick of the feigned ignorance.

JR Hartley
JR Hartley
1 month ago

You think it’s bad now. Wait until Labour are in power.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  JR Hartley

I am predicting that GB News will be closed down during Labour’s first term. The left absolutely hate it. Stop Funding Hate have cut it off from most advertisers, next step will be a ban.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago

Whilst I have sympathy for Unherd and their general mission in these circumstances it doesn’t help their case when they publish material under the label ‘factcheck’ which is clearly controversial, radical and untrustworthy, whilst linking other junk websites such as ‘zerohedge’ as information sources of apparent integrity.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Can you give an example? Where does UnHerd link to ZeroHedge as an information source of apparent integrity?
Do you mean this? In the present article UnHerd mentions this fact but links to the Guardian as a source.
“On 20 January 2020, Zero Hedge’s Twitter account, which then had 670,000 followers, was “permanently suspended” from Twitter for violating their platform manipulation policy.[14][54] Bloomberg reported that Zero Hedge had been informed by Twitter that the suspension was as a result of an article titled: “Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?”, in which they doxed a Chinese virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.[29][15][55] On 12 June 2020, Twitter reinstated the account after an appeal from Zero Hedge and stated that the suspension was an error.[38]” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Hedge)

B Emery
B Emery
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How is zerohedge a junk website.

What about any of the websites or the articles they publish is ‘junk’.
Are you aware that they publish articles from a number of academic institutes and reputable business websites.
Would you like a long list of links to reputable articles that have appeared on zerohedge.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago

This is generally very worrying, but the passages in this article which made me catch my breath the most were those concerning the definition of disinformation and how it has been expanded to include content with an “adversarial narrative”.
Even in consensus-driven systems like Germany’s, I fail to see how any democracy can function if adversarial narratives are demonised and shut down. Even to find that nice, gentle, middle-of-the-road consensus that has characterised German politics since 1945, you have to be able to discuss opposing, divisive ideas. A centrist point of view has to be found through open debate, not forcibly held at a point deemed “centrist” by a small group of people.
Furthermore, no education system worth its salt can function if it becomes difficult to discuss controversial ideas…and that is unfortunately a rabbit hole that we’ve fallen down far too far already.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Regarding your final point: i agree but it’ll also be interesting to see in 10-20 years time if the current crop of graduates maintain their adherence to ‘orthodoxy’ or shows signs of being able to escape the confines of groupthink. Of course, for this to become manifest, such individuals would have to have attained sufficient cultural clout to have their voices heard and known.
I have reason not to be overly pessimistic on this point, and it’s largely to do with the vagaries (thank goodness) of human nature. There must be some genetic trait which determines that a certain cohort of each generation deviates from the orthodoxy of their youth, and thrives. That may seem like the application of biology to culture but that’s not exactly what’s intended by the term ‘genetic trait’. Perhaps a better description might be ‘cultural atavism’.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

The name of Clare Melford of GDI and Dr Joseph Goebbels should forever be coupled together in infamy as vicious but successful propagandists.

Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
1 month ago

Sue the f..kers into oblivion.
Organisations like Unherd can clearly demonstrate direct financial damage as a result of the activities of the GDI and their ilk.
Sue them, then sue them again.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

A very serious problem. Excellent work by UnHerd in exposing this.
It’s a disgrace that government is actively supporting this censorship (and stupidity).
But that’s all consistent with this modern state funding of charities. Another terrible idea that was implemented by stealth.
So forget stealth taxes. It’s “stealth government” we really need to worry about.
All that said, if advertisers and their clients are stupid enough to ignore a large and affluent group of people, they’re leaving a lot of money on the table and opportunity for someone else to come along and serve that market.
“Go woke, go broke” may eventually bring them to their senses. That and when the government subsidies run out.

Saul D
Saul D
1 month ago

The NGO money-go-round is a deep element of the disconnect between the powers-that-be and voters. The NGO lobby works the systems and committees but often don’t represent anything except their own interests, or the interests of their funders.
An activist group funds or creates an NGO. The NGO lobbies in the back rooms, hidden from public scrutiny, on something that at first looks marginal or technical, they then receive government funding for their work, and their mandate and influence grow like a virus, with the public purse coming in to pay for their work, which then leads to more lobbying via the money-go-round. This allows activists to play behind the scenes for objectives that have little public support, yet when the public find out and object or push back, somehow this then becomes ‘populist’ and ‘anti-democratic’. One key is to disallow anyone who lobbies from getting public funds or contracts and to do some detailed studies of the funding networks, not just the funding of the NGOs themselves. By using NGO fronts, often the deep funders are hidden from view.

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
1 month ago

I’m puzzled by the inverted commas surrounding “insurrections”. Would you use them if the armed and violent mob had attacked to Houses of Parliament?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago

If you are referring to the protest at the US capitol, the only people who were armed were the capitol police, one of whom shot and killed a young woman in cold blood. The FBI had at least 200 agents provocateur in the crowd to scale walls and toss smoke bombs for cinematic effect, just as the hired ABC producer advised. The protesters walking calmly through their house were allowed in by the capitol police, who removed barriers and opened doors for them. The entire “insurrection” lie would be laughable if it weren’t so Soviet.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

That’s the point. They were not armed nor organized. They were a bunch of unarmed, fat, old white whiskered men.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

In the case of your hypothetical attack on Parliament, there would at least be an “armed” mob, something that did not exist at the Capitol.

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
1 month ago

Thanks for the three responses to my comment. It seems that at least three of the readers of UnHerd are happy to defend a violent mob breaking into the US Capitol. If the same were to happen in the UK, I hope that the law would take its course, as it has in the USA.

David Winship
David Winship
1 month ago


..”deliberately false content, designed to deceive.”
this extract from your article as an essential element in the industrial control mechanism, hides a massive issue which is not discussed. Increasingly individuals and organisations use AI to create and manipulate content. This will lead to inherently false content designed to deceive.
Take as a simple argument an individual that creates an application for a Job application. Their basic information is manipulated by the AI to create a document that is a deception. In the first instance it gives an impression of communication skills that are not real, then progresses to massage facts into something between subtly different to downright mendacious. Expand this through all areas of online communication and the depth and breadth of potential deception is endless.
In order to promote something which we seem to have forgotten – honesty – we need more of the un massaged use of clear communication skills presenting cogent arguments that stand up to any and all scrutiny. Clearly not what you have described.
Keep up the good work Freddy the world needs to get back to Honesty, which looks to be a major part of your motivation.

A D Kent
A D Kent
1 month ago

Good post, but I would quibble with the framing that this is something that hinderes conservative views more than others. Us on the anti-war left have been targeted just as readily.

In the US the (excellent) Consortium News are taking NewsGuard & the US government to court over their application of their BS ratings. A high ranking on NewsGuard is not a badge of honour – it’s just an indication of the particular rails between which you wish to move.

See also NakedCapitalism’s recent targetting by Google’s advertising subsidiaries as described by them and Matt Taibbi’s TK News. Also the Integrity Initiative for just how far the state will go in this democracy of ours.

CHRIS QUINN
CHRIS QUINN
1 month ago

You can’t defend democracy by secretly undermining it. At least the Kremlin openly suppress dissent. The only consolation is UnHerd being deemed a purveyor of “adversarial narratives”. It must be doing something right.

Sam May
Sam May
1 month ago

From Clare Melford’s Wikipedia entry… Melford “explained in a talk delivered to the Royal Society of Arts that it was while she was general manager of the Nordic region of MTV that she developed a critical understanding of how the media station provided a supportive selling environment for unsustainable lifestyles, which led to her giving up that position and becoming interested in Buddhism
And from a Google search leading to an advertisement for something at London School of Economics…. “Bankrolling Bigotry, The financial incentives to create polarising and divisive content online have generated a tsunami of hate and division. Breaking the business model is the key to reclaiming our information space. Catch up on this LSE IDEAS webinar with Clare Melford, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Global Disinformation Index.Clare Melford will discuss how GDI is seeking to do just that. By assessing news sites on their risk of disinforming readers and providing those risk ratings to the advertising technology sector, GDI enables advertisers to choose not to fund high risk, polarising and divisive content online. We must preserve the right to free speech. But there is no such right to free reach or profit.”
So there you have it.. A smart, ambitious head girl has a crisis of insight, becomes a Buddhist, realizes she can succeed by protecting us from hate and disinformation. And right there in the last sentence from LSE’s website, “we must preserve the right to free speech, but there is a no such right to free reach or profit”. Wow, she preserves speech but curtails reach and profit. A nifty job description!!
Lord help us.

Point of Information
Point of Information
1 month ago

Fair article re GDI but if UnHerd wants to be taken as seriously as some of its articles deserve it should publish fewer personal attack pieces.

This week on Kirstie Allsop’s Twitter commentary on the trans debate – a telly estate agent! Who cares?

And on Angela Rayner’s tax return – not enough money in question to call it a scandal so looks like mudslinging based on her presentation as a working class heroine, Ă  la “she’s a hypocrite”. Name 10 British MPs who aren’t.

Last month’s commentary by Kathleen Stock about Judith Butler was redeemable as they are both philosophers and spats between academics (and popular writers) have a long history in the public square – the only problem was that it, in the context of the other pieces, looked like part of an UnHerd genre piece: women condemning women for having an opinion.

Keep it serious.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago

That’s a fair point.

Kasandra H
Kasandra H
1 month ago

Yes. Actually there’s many personal attack articles on Unherd from Blair to Kristie. That’s a concern at the back of my mind that it will make enemies of people though didn’t get to say it in person. If one has too many enemies, it fails to thrive. When there’s one corrupt or questionable practice or person, there’s many of the same so it might be better to expose the culture beneath it. X

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
1 month ago

Butler no longer identifies as a woman, apparently.

mike otter
mike otter
1 month ago

There will always be bad actors like GDI and they will rely on underpaid and near zero-educated thugs (hereafter: “pigs” or “filth”) to enforce their perverse ideas. In the other corner sits humanity with all its myriad wonders and failures. History shows that the best of humanity emerges when the assault on civil society from pigs, filth and GDI etc becomes physical and they forget they are only dictators for life. So there will always be dialectic action between closed and open ideas about society, and no side will ever be the final victor. GDI and their pig/filth praetorians are as mortal as normal people and if they don’t sober up and chill out they will find this out the hard way as did their predecessors in 1945.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 month ago

The answer to a lot of our problems is to get away from the free, ad supported, model of everything.

I happily pay for Unherd, The Free Press and Matt Taibbi.

I have reached a point where I am ready to pay for a browser and a search engine that do not give me ranked searches, track my movements online, basically turn ME into the product.

These things used to be a nice to have and had utility as free models. But now, these things are integral to our daily lives and the cost in terms of privacy and in terms of being manipulated has gotten too high.

As I said, I pay for my news, I would pay for a browser and search engine that I trust.

We strip away the need for ad dollars and we take away one means of this kind of manipulation and censorship.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Use DuckDuckGo.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Sorry but they are now also censoring “misinformation”, Google (!) it. I uninstalled them.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Let’s repeat for the people in the back – whenever people can use something for free, those people are the product.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 month ago

Disgraceful.

Caractacus Potts
Caractacus Potts
1 month ago

In 2015 it finally dawned on Western Governments that they were being outplayed by Russia and China who were easily winning their propaganda wars on social media platforms. The St Petersburg bot factories and China’s online army were having major real world effects that were detrimental to Western societies. These included enabling Islamist extremism, whipping up hysteria about hitherto fringe issues that became the destructive Culture Wars, and stealing confidential information with massed spear-phishing and the like. Rightly or wrongly Western establishments believed that the election of Trump in 2017 was the final proof that a counter-offensive to swing the internet their way was urgently needed.
So far so well known. Indeed it seemed almost reasonable that in the UK for example organisations such as GCHQ, MI6, and the newly minted 77th Brigade, were tasked with moving away from their traditional life-saving national security missions and over to asserting control of online narratives. It could be argued that they were saving lives via other means. All across the 5-Eyes a consensus was established including with the major player the USA and their huge resources. However they were thoughtlessly opening Pandora’s box.
In no time at all they succumbed to mission creep by integrating State funding and machinery with Big Tech companies who had their own profit driven agendas. Once these interests were aligned they had a new very powerful tool that found its apogee in the Covid era. The State had new ways to supress dissent, and Big Tech had back-door access to law makers and the political sphere that could shape the markets to their advantage. Public and private money was pouring in to all participants. Such huge numbers of people would inevitably include avaricious bad faith actors determined to keep this new gravy train on the rails for as long as humanly possible.
Now we are in the era of a self-justifying and vast overreach. Any narrative that supports those vested interests is ruthlessly enforced. Climate, trans, vaccines, immigration etc. etc. All usually aligned with the Globalist ideology that almost all Governments and big corporations have signed up to for their own wealth, vanity, and continued existence. The foundational concepts of national security and saving lives are now long buried.
I have the impression that UnHerd are primarily treating GDI as a private enterprise who are leeching funds from the public sphere. I typed out the above as evidence to make what I’m about to say less ‘conspiratorial’. Please remember that it will have direct links to the 5-Eyes. GDI may be anything from being an outright front organisation for NSA to the more usual public/private backscratching operation. UnHerd have already identified the State intelligence links of one of the co-founders. Persist with that. Nag away at it like a loose thread. And the very best of luck to you all.
[Edit] I also meant to say that any time you see an apparently non-sensical thing like a British company being used to influence US citizens or vice-versa that’s a red flag regarding 5-Eyes involvement. They ostensibly have laws that prevent themselves running such operations against their own citizens so they get their partners to do it. It also adds to their much beloved ‘plausible deniability’.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago

There will always be dreadful people like Clare Melford who simply cannot recognize their intrinsic evilness. Freddie can’t say it, lest she unleash even more punishment on his already harmed publication, but I can: she and her ilk are everything wrong with the world. Oh, she may not be punching random white New York City women in the face or organizing mobs to burn cities to the ground, but she’ll call you names if you object. And then she’ll ruin you and don the coveted mantle of virtue.

I can only hope her organization and those like it suffer the ignominy they so richly deserve. They are every dystopian sci-fi monster, only worse, because they are real.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

For far too long, we’ve given people like her a pass by calling them misguided or stupid or something other than what they are – evil. These misinformation tools are not designed to set the record straight on a given topic; they are designed to advance a specific narrative.

Point of Information
Point of Information
1 month ago

I was going to post “what happened to Index on Censorship (magazine)?”

Then I remembered that search engines exist and went to look for myself.

Looked.

The question still stands: what the (!) happened to Index on Censorship?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

What an upside-down world: the people who are supposed to engage in creative fiction – the entertainment industry – are no longer up to the task, spending most of their time on warmed-over remakes but with characters who are at odds with the time or tenor of the story, like a black Juliette. Meanwhile, the people who are supposed to be engaged in fact-based work have instead become fabulists and dissenters who are far more interested in advancing select narratives (ones often at odds with reality) than in anything that resembles truth-seeking.
To maintain the illusion, we have these fact-checking outfits with meticulously derived names. How can you not trust something called the Global Disinformation Index? It sounds like a Ministry of Something working on our benefit, except it’s not. The terms, if anything, are one more measure of Orwellianism in a society already teeming with it.
Finally, about this line from the story: At its heart, the disinformation panic is becoming a textbook example of how a “solution” can do more harm than the problem it is designed to address.” It may be useful to consider whether harm is the point of this ‘solution’ as if often the case. Too often, we give people an out – a bad idea that arose from incompetence or stupidity or something else, when the reality is that the bad arose from malicious intent, in this case to stifle meaningful discussion.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

I applaud this article. I had considered canceling my subscription here, not out of any disapproval or dissatisfaction with the publication, but simply out of a need to cut unnecessary costs. I won’t be doing that after reading this article. This is an important article that exposes the subtle ways that the wealthy and powerful can attempt to sway public opinion to their side. I will continue to support Unherd because it is critical to have media organizations and publishers who will not bow to the subtle influences of dogmatists trying to enforce political orthodoxy.

Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller
1 month ago

Dear MP
I have watched Unherd’s report about the UK government’s support for an organisation called the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) which is seeking to cause finanicial hardship to conservative news outlets.
I should be grateful if you would watch this video, which is very reasoned and makes an excellent case against organisations such as the GDI.
https://unherd.com/2024/04/inside-the-disinformation-industry/
As you will have seen in the Unherd film referenced above, Philip Davies MP has submitted a parliamentary question on the matter. The answer should cause you the same consternation as it does me.
It would seem that the UK government is infringing on the freedom of expression of conservative voices by funding and supporting organisations such as the GDI, who base their activities on opinion, partial information and outright falsehood.
I do not consider it appropriate for the UK government to be acting in this manner. It would seem that the UK government is funding an organisation that (a)dishonestly makes (a) false representation(s), and. (b)intends, by making the representation— (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or. (ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss – contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.
I should be grateful to hear what you will do to support freedom of expression in the UK against initiatives such as the GDI and the BBC’s Disinformation Unit, run by Marianna Spring, who aptly describes herself as a ‘disinformation specialist’, and whether it is appropriate for the UK government to support organisations that use fraud as part of their business model.
Yours sincerely,

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
1 month ago

I agree with the article and with the comments. I have met plenty you don’t know and are too busy to find out or care. Above those (my daughter included, alas) is the tier who are more aware but will always choose to go with the crowd – they need their jobs, they need the approval of their peers, and maybe they have not grown out of idealism. The older generation, well represented here, have the time and education, not to mention realism, to know and to care. We are the last window to salvation, but to what avail? The youngsters coming through are already programmed and will not want to change anything.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
1 month ago

As we descend further into the purity spiral, only those with ‘correct’ views will be allowed to express an opinion. Everyone else is an extreme right winger, climate denier, vaccine denier, etc. The online harms bill allows for prosecution for publication of material that is ‘true but may be harmful, or perceived as harmful’. The comments in the piece about vaccinated people dying of covid could fall foul of this, true but harmful as it may deter people from vaccination.
Employment will become more and more difficult for the impure. Already HR departments often check peoples ‘socials’ for undesirables. A friend who is HR director for a large company recently told me that people like myself who do not use antisocial media at all are often not considered for employment at all (this doesn’t affect me as I am almost retired, just do some visiting lecturer work for people who already know me).
So in the near future any dissenters will have no voice and hear no other points of view other than received wisdom. Gaining employment or access to university will become impossible for dissenters giving nobody with dissenting views any power at all. We are still in a transition phase at the moment but it would seem to be incredibly difficult to do much given the current power structure.
Welcome to the brave new world.

Jae
Jae
1 month ago

Why is the UK government giving taxpayer money to George Soros?

Melford is a foot soldier and tool of the censors of the Leftist authoritarians. GDI needs to be disbanded and shut down unless it can change its operations. Fat chance of that happening with a woman like Melford or her partner charge.

Caractacus Potts
Caractacus Potts
1 month ago

In 2015 it finally dawned on Western Governments that they were being outplayed by Russia and China who were easily winning their propaganda wars on social media platforms. The St Petersburg bot farms and China’s online Army were having major real world effects that were detrimental to Western societies. These included enabling Islamist extremism, whipping up hysteria about hitherto fringe issues that became the destructive Culture Wars, and stealing confidential information with massed spear-phishing and the like. Rightly or wrongly Western establishments believed that the election of Trump in 2017 was the final proof that a counter-offensive to swing the internet their way was urgently needed.

So far so well known. Indeed it seemed almost reasonable that in the UK for example organisations such as GCHQ, MI6, and the newly minted 77th Brigade, were tasked with moving away from their traditional life-saving national security missions and over to asserting control of online narratives. It could be argued that they were saving lives via other means. All across the 5-Eyes a consensus was established including with the major player the USA and their huge resources. However they were thoughtlessly opening Pandora’s box. 

In no time at all it succumbed to mission creep by integrating State funding and machinery with Big Tech companies who had their own profit driven agendas. Once these interests were aligned they had a new very powerful tool that found its apogee in the Covid era. The State had new ways to supress dissent, and Big Tech had back-door access to law makers and the political sphere that could shape the markets to their advantage. Public and private money was pouring in to all participants. Such huge numbers of people would inevitably include many avaricious bad faith actors determined to keep the new gravy train on the rails for as long as humanly possible.

Now we are in the era of their self-justifying and vast overreaching. As UnHerd are finding out any questions around any aspects of the narratives pushed by those vested interests is being ruthlessly supressed. Climate, various wars, trans issues, vaccines, immigration etc. etc. Important topics that are usually fully aligned with the Globalist ideology that almost all Governments and mega-corporations have signed up to for their own wealth, vanity, and continued existence. Those old foundational concepts of national security and saving lives are now long buried. 

I typed out the above to as evidence to make what I’m about to say less ‘conspiratorial’. I get the impression that UnHerd are primarily treating GDI as a typical private enterprise who are leeching funds from the public sphere. However don’t overlook that GDI will be directly connected to the 5-Eyes in some way. It may be anything from being an outright front for the NSA to the more usual corrupt public/private backscratching operation. UnHerd have already identified the State intelligence links of one of the co-founders. Persist with that. Nag away at it like a loose thread. And the very best of luck to you all. 

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

Thank goodness for UnHerd.

Neiltoo .
Neiltoo .
1 month ago

“ P.S. The best thing you can do to support us as we face these challenges is to subscribe to UnHerd. Access independent thinking and promote media freedom, all for the price of a coffee. Bargain.”

Indeed! I’m very happy to support UnHerd but there is a simple thing that UnHerd could do to stimulate debate: instigate notifications in the comments. Currently it is impossible to have a debate when you don’t know when or if someone replies to you.

Steve Houseman
Steve Houseman
1 month ago

Way to go UnHerd, way to go Freddie. Great and interesting piece of investigative journalism. My continued support of course!

George K
George K
1 month ago

Does government require ad agencies to work with GDI? Or the ad agencies are simply trying to be on the right side of history ( = avoid conflict with the shrill crowd ) ?

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
1 month ago

Take legal action in response to these attacks on civil rights.
Take legal action in response to these damages to your revenues.

Stefan Larrass
Stefan Larrass
1 month ago

Amazing revelation. Thanks Freddy and team for bringing light to these hidden activities

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Who gets to decide what’s harmful and what’s not? It’s funny how these same people scream about ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘the patriarchy’ but then go down an extremely paternalistic and patronising route to ensure people only get to see certain views and opinions – like some sort of horrible ’70s controlling father figure. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Peter Richardsom
Peter Richardsom
1 month ago

Why wouldn’t you just sue them? Sounds defamatory to me.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago

Excellent.

ernest turro
ernest turro
1 month ago

Very interesting and concerning report. However, “dos tercios” means “two thirds”, not “one third”, Freddie, so based on the table in the 2021 PHE report, the site with the Chipotle advert was indeed wide of the mark (not that I think that means the site should be demoted!)

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 month ago

Sayers’ monoloque is excellent; his best effort yet, and that’s really saying something. He’s obviously (and rightly!) worked up about GDI and its nonsense, but does not lose his cool. A true mensch.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
1 month ago

Enforcing the censorship-supported ideology distracts from opportunistic government & military(1) insiders using technology/data they gain access to via their day-jobs, to aid organised crime.
Perfect crimes(2) against me were already delivered with production-line consistency in 2009. Last incident < 1 hour ago.
Bikers confidently turn up at the homes of incorruptible officials(3).
When physical violence doesn’t neutralise the incorruptible, technology violating the Geneva Convention is used against us & our loved ones in our own homes at no risk of prosecution. Since 2019 in my case(2). We cannot even seek medical advice, for fear of forced institutionalisation: the tech does not exist officially, no victim can ever prove what they are forced to experience. We can only provide anecdotal evidence like I am providing in my ‘perfect crimes’ article & comments added to it. I am risking ridicule, because of the gravity crimes against me carry.

(1) Look up the Daily Telegraph article:

An ADF Joint Military Police Force covert investigation is looking into suspected links between serving personnel and bikie gangs including the Rebels, Nomads, Mongols and Outlaws.

Australia’s bikers brag about their government security clearances on social media, openly self-identify as drug-traffickers & try to silence crime witnesses with vulgar brutality even on LinkedIn under their own full names.
(2) See my ‘perfect crimes’ article on LinkedIn: katalin-kish-38750b154
(3) Look up the Herald Sun article:

Victorian council workers caught in middle of Melbourne’s illicit tobacco wars news-story b19c1bfacfe6da27c1c3032abe80fd7c

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 month ago

Oh my God. What can we do and how can we help? Perhaps it is possible to create an entirely new search engine that bans these tools. Google is far too powerful and dangerous and needs to be brought down by the most effective means possible, free market competition.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 month ago

If this elite encroachment on freedom of speech and thought is not reversed it will breed a new kind of hatred and anti-clericism. Professionals, even the good ones, will be attacked indiscriminately, a new dark age will ensue.

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago

I don’t want to be flippant, but if it’s brand damage that is the problem, and people like Unherd readers have money to spend, can we expect to see niche brands emerging which differentiate themselves via politics rather than quality.

Free speech baked beans, for example, gender critical underwear (“I heart two sexes”, “adult human females only”) with a panel of Lycra of such viciousness as to make them unwearable by anyone with their tackle intact.

Jokes aside – already seems to happen with YouTube sponsorship.

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
1 month ago

Concerning the vaccination statistic which you claim to be true. You are right, it is true. But it is very misleading. It doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t work, You have neglected to take into account the base rate. Perhaps your education didn’t teach about elementary statistical concepts like that, but I promise you that they are really interesting.

Jake Raven
Jake Raven
1 month ago

I’ve just watched the video. Excellent, well done UnHerd, I hope we see action on this shameful censorious practice.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Wrongthink comes to fruition and now everyone in search of truth is guilty of it.

William Brand
William Brand
1 month ago

Woke politics wants to impose censorship on the news. This violates the 1st amendment. Most of the praised news sites are pure propaganda. To find out what is happening in the world one must read both the red and blue media. Both sides lie and put out propaganda.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 month ago

This is so important. Group think is more important than truth to these people. Jimmy Dore (!) first alerted me to this kind of thinking since Katherine Maher, the new CEO of NPR, believes exactly this also. She apparently had a TED talk about her “insights” some time ago.
Thanks for exposing it further.

Cat Black
Cat Black
1 month ago

Interesting to learn about these particular machinations of the sprawling, global censorship complex. I’m a little surprised by the “surprised” response of UnHerd. Censorship, in so many forms, is the reality that millions have been facing for quite some time, from individuals, to companies, to media, to entire industries (e.g. natural health information was removed from Google’s search engine in 2018-19). I feel like some of the surprise is actually fear of being lumped in with other untouchables. On the positive side, in my opinion, the only things worth reading these days are censored voices, if you can find them. So good work, UnHerd!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

And so it begins. Well, obviously it well and truly began some time ago. I have subscribed today because of the article in The Times that highlighted the fresh injection of cash by the government to this Nazi propaganda machine of ‘disinformation’. If you know your Nazi history you know where this is heading.

daniele vecchi
daniele vecchi
1 month ago

What an irony
.the self appointed censor for disinformation are all Marxists and communists that have spread disinformation, lies, violence and deaths for decades and they do continue to do so. Have they listed the CCP as a disinformation source? Or Hamas by the way? Or the UN?

Duane M
Duane M
1 month ago

“the GDI equates “gender-critical” beliefs, or maintaining that biological sex differences exist, with “disinformation” — despite the fact that those beliefs are specifically protected in British law and held by the majority of the population.”
When I read (as happens regularly now) that biological facts such as sex determination are not only controversial but require specific protection by the law, I really don’t know whether to laugh or weep.
Is it worth remembering that, back in the 1980s, lesbians and gays struggled to convince the rest of us that their homosexual attractions were as biologically determined as our heterosexuality? And that, after enough empirical research, that interpretation crossed the threshold of scientific acceptance.
While in the present era, one may be shouted down by the “progressive” mob merely for suggesting that assertions be backed by evidence.
And I use quotes around the word progressive because the so-called progressives have proven themselves to be virulent reactionaries against science. Their loyalty is to ideology, much like the Red Guard in Mao’s China.

tintin lechien
tintin lechien
1 month ago

I don’t mind long comments but sometimes a shorter one would get more attention. ;-))) So, I make a short one here – these virtue-signallers occupying high office or presiding over organisations that seem to help the world, forget that their position is a total conflict of interest. Conflict of their own interest and opinion with the rest of us. They should not pretend to be impartial. Hence they should not be funded, If Soros wants to continue his ‘Open’ ‘Society’ drive to change the world, he should start a company that has funding from governments.