Rupert Murdoch's MySpace has been caught in another act of alternative media censorship after it was revealed that bulletin posts containing links to Prison Planet.com were being hijacked and forwarded to MySpace's home page. MySpace has placed Prison Planet on a list of blocked websites supposedly reserved for spam, phishing scams or virus trojans.
It has been apparent for at least two weeks that all bulletin posts containing links to Prison Planet were being censored but we decided to wait and see if it was just a technical error before drawing any attention to the problem.
Now there is little doubt that MySpace has deliberately filtered out Prison Planet, preventing anyone from accessing the site via the social networking giant.
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Try it for yourself, post a bulletin from your MySpace account with a link to Prison Planet contained in the text. Click here and copy the html code into the bulletin window and press send. Then go to "Show Bulletins I've Posted". You will notice that your link has been hijacked and now links to a URL that begins with http://www.msplinks.com - this is MySpace's filtering middleman that was launched earlier this year to supposedly combat spam assaults and phishing scams.
When the link is clicked, it doesn't go to the Prison Planet.com link you intended, but instead forwards to the MySpace home page.
"These links are legit and we are creating them," MySpace.com President Tom Anderson announced in April. "They are not viruses or whatever else your conspiracy theorist friends told you. They still point to their original url, but let us easily turn off links to spam, phishing, or virus sites. booyah!"
The problem with this statement is that Prison Planet.com is an alternative news website that has been featured and referenced in hundreds of mainstream publications and is also carried as a news source of Google News. Though our detractors are fond of arguing that we are "not a credible news source," the contention that we are either a spam, phishing or virus website is completely false.
MySpace should come clean and admit that it is now following an official policy of censorship based on political affiliation, and that its readers are not left free to make up their own minds on the credibility of any particular story, but are intentionally prevented from accessing certain websites that MySpace deems contrary to the political agenda of its owner, Rupert Murdoch.
Why is this important? Shouldn't MySpace have the right to block any website they wish? After all, it's their website, they decide the content.
Firstly, websites such as MySpace, Wikipedia and Digg pose as virtuous online information democracies yet are bossed by bias censors and patrolled by organized armies of trolls whose sole purpose is to discredit and delete controversial information by launching unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on the credibility of its source or its very right to be discussed (Wikipedia trolls deleted a list of Republican sex scandals, among a host of other manifestly provable controversies).
They are also wide open to abuse from nefarious government agencies and corporations seeking to "memory hole" sensitive information from the web, as was documented by the WikiScanner scandal. In this climate, a media watchdog like Prison Planet should be welcomed, not shunned, censored and blocked off by MySpace filtering software.
Secondly, this is the model for the imminent arrival of Internet 2, a government regulated and controlled cyberspace police state where bloggers require ID numbers and permission from the powers that be to simply express an opinion, and then that opinion is subsequently subject to censorship and deletion if it is counterproductive to the interests of the state.
Earlier this year, MySpace were caught red-handed when a moderator unwittingly admitted that Prison Planet.com was one of the alternative media websites that MySpace was blocking from its messageboards and bulletin posts.
In a discussion thread, a MySpace user complained that his Ron Paul post had been censored, to which a MySpace moderator responded, "Ron Paul wasn't being censored, it was the prisonplanet.com part of the message that was being filtered out."
The moderator later clarifies that it was beyond his control and that "prisonplanet.com" is on a list of URL's that are automatically blocked by MySpace's servers.
But Prison Planet isn't the only website to be targeted by Murdoch's censorship jackboots - in January 2006 MySpace enacted a policy to block all You Tube links, a move that resulted in a boycott of the social networking website after thousands complained before MySpace was forced to restore the links.
Please use this link to contact MySpace and let them know what you think about their decision to censor political websites that don't toe Murdoch's corporate agenda.
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