Web Traffic Declining

Is Google Censoring Alternative Publications?

AlterNet is a well-respected progressive news magazine that claims a readership of over 5.9 million visitors per month. But its editor, Don Hazen, says that the publication has a new adversary: Google. He contends that the unconstrained power of the new media monopoly—namely Google and Facebook—”affects our whole media system and the future of democracy, and that is not an exaggeration.” In June 2017, Google made major changes in its search algorithms to block access to “offensive” sites, while working to identify more “authoritative content,” an effort designed to combat so-called fake news. But in what appears to be an overly broad attempt to do so, the new algorithm has also been targeting the readers of Alternet and other independent publications. Hazen claims (and offers tracking statistics to back it up) that since the Google announcement, AlterNet’s search traffic plummeted by 40 percent, resulting in a dramatic loss of 1.2 million readers a month. —TV

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