Today I ran across a news story at Charisma News that not only is very concerning but also causes me to stop and think about what has been happening to my own rankings with Google’s search engine. It is an article documenting where all 3 of the biggest players in today’s new media have been seemingly practicing religious discrimination and intolerance when it comes to conservative and evangelical Christian websites and applications. In fact it has gotten so bad that the National Religious Broadcasters is entering into the fray to start shedding light on this pervasive problem. Here are some excerpts from the story in Charisma.
Allegations of Religious intolerance being practices by Google, Facebook And Apple.
By JENNIFER LECLAIRE
Social media and smartphones are changing the way people communicate—and consume—information. And there’s a clear bias against Christian speech. That’s why the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is wading into a unique and volatile communications freedom issue—the collision course between free speech on the Internet and the free market power of new media companies like Apple, Google and Facebook to block viewpoints they don’t agree with.
“The stakes are continuing to rise on this dilemma: Last week, YouTube, owned by Google, banned a message by orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin, labeling it “hate speech” because it criticized the gay rights movement,” said Craig Parshall, NRB senior vice president and general counsel, who heads the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech. “For similar reasons, YouTube also censored a Christian youth ministry, You can Run but you can’t Hide International … This is a problem that cannot be ignored.”
Here are some of the disturbing findings from the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech’s new report, “True Liberty in a New Media Age”:
Religious intolerance at Apple
Apple has twice removed applications that contained Christian content from its iTunes App Store. In both instances, Apple admitted that these apps were denied access because it considered the orthodox Christian viewpoints expressed in those applications to be “offensive.” One app had expressed the traditional, heterosexual view of marriage as set forth in the Bible; the other had stated the view that homosexuality is inappropriate conduct that can be changed through a Christ-centered spiritual transformation. Of the 425,000 apps available on Apple’s iPhone, the only ones censored by Apple for expressing otherwise lawful viewpoints have been apps with Christian content.
Google’s shocking displays of anti-religious censorship.
Google has committed past practices of anti-religious censorship. For content reasons, it refused to accept a pro-life advertisement from a Christian organization, an issue that prompted litigation in England. Google is also alleged to have blocked a website in America that had conservative Christian content. It had blacklisted certain religious terminology on its China-based Internet service, and in the United States it bowed to questionable copyright infringement threats from one religious sect, which had complained when a blog site criticizing it had quoted from the sect’s materials.
Google blocked that blog site on alleged copyright violation grounds, disregarding the obvious “fair use” provisions of copyright law. Such a practice could block the ability of Christian “apologetics” ministries to quote from primary source materials when using Google platforms to educate the public on the teachings of certain religious groups. Also, in March of 2011, Google established new guidelines for its “Google for Non-Profits,” a special web tool program, but specifically excluded churches and other faith groups, including organizations that take into consideration religion or sexual orientation in hiring practices.
Facebook’s commitment to halt religious free speech.
Facebook has partnered with gay rights advocates to halt content on its social networking site deemed to be “anti-homosexual,” and it is participating in gay-awareness programs, all of which suggest that Christian content critical of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, or similar practices will be at risk of censorship.
My own experience with Google penalizing this site.
Twice now I have had to endure Google penalties when they have ran new algorithms across their search results. The first time was back in September of 2011 with the Panda Update. Panda was supposedly designed to penalize sites that had duplicate or poor quality content. I wondered then if they considered referencing the Bible and placing those Bible quotes in your posts as duplicate content. It is not a violation of the fair use clause in the copyright law and it is also an accepted and common practice with religious websites but as you can see, Google seems to be targeting Christian websites that quote from reference material.
Just last month I once again had my website rankings lowered with the latest Google algorithm change called Penguin. This change was supposed to detect webspam on the internet defined by Google as having too many of the same words on a webpage or having links in articles that were not relevant to the content or where they were linking to. Once again Google seems to ignore the fact that there are certain words and phrases that are used quite often on a religious website like “Bible” “Jesus” Scripture” “God” ect. Use it too many times and you will be deemed spammy and lowered in your rankings!
The way to fight religious intolerance.
There is one way to fight religious intolerance. Shed the light on it! Bring every instance of religious intolerance that you find to the public arena. Expose it, share it, and get it out in the open. When you do, then it will bring public pressure on these companies that think they can get away with this. These companies are ran by public support. Remove that support and you remove them. Google, Apple, and Facebook need people. If people start leaving, they will change their ways. So spread the word how these companies are practicing religious intolerance.