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Banning TAC Because Of ‘Hate’ & ‘Violence’

Here, from its website, is what Frontier blocks for its customers: [1]

Who makes the decision that TAC’s website is “unsafe” because it advocates “hate” and “violence”?

change_me

A friend of mine who is a mainstream Christian writer and speaker reports that Frontier is blocking her personal website because it is “adult” and “disturbing”.

The Orthodox Christian writer and artist Jonathan Pageau, who has done some video presentations with Jordan B. Peterson (Pageau’s YouTube channel is great! [2]) sees the handwriting on the wall:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [5]

Conservatives, old-fashioned liberals, and all other Enemies Of The People had better start planning now for what happens when they are denied their online and social media platforms. Frontier is not a big player, obviously, but this shows what can happen when technological gatekeepers pick and choose what you are allowed to see by labeling any content they don’t like as “violence,” “hate,” “adult,” or “disturbing.”

UPDATE: This from the reader who was blocked trying to access TAC:

I just spoke with FSecure for the 3rd time and was told that the blocks and labels come from the “blacklist” which is compiled by a group of many contractors who read through the flags made by internet users and decide what their status should be. FSecure would not tell me who the companies are that create the blacklist. “Good” websites are white listed.

UPDATE.2: That reader continues:

This warning was encountered after activating Frontier Secure’s parental controls in an attempt to make the browsing experience for my children less hazardous to their young psyches. Little did I know at that time that what would in-fact become blocked would be mostly the kinds of content we frequent as Christian homeschoolers in pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty. At first, the blocking did not reveal the reason and I thought that the websites were just not functioning correctly. Then I started using a different browser and it was then that I encountered the actual reasons for all of these websites being blocked. The American Conservative is simply one in a sea of many conservative sites that are being blocked by the parental controls of this security program. There are some liberal leftist sites (Daily Kos, National Abortion Federation, NARAL, NOW, and Advocate{dot}com, for example) that are blocked but not nearly as many as there are centrist conservative sites being blocked.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is not blocked but the Family Research Council is blocked and labeled as hate and violence. Planned Parenthood and Teen Vogue are not banned at all but virtually every Pro-Life (All of the Big ones and most state levels) and Pregnancy Care group are blocked and labeled as some combination of adult content, disturbing, and violence or all three. Additionally, First Things is blocked and labeled as hate as is PJ Media, Front Page Magazine, Red State, The Weekly Standard, Christian Headlines, and many more. Conversely besides Daily Kos most liberal news outlets are fine including Mother Jones, HuffPost, Washington Post, The Nation, Salon, etc.

As Rod showed in the update, Frontier is claiming that they are simply applying the blocks according to some general blacklist available to all web/tech companies that is compiled by a group of organizations that are considered trustworthy but I was unable to get them to tell me who these companies are or what the name of this blacklist is. I was told that Frontier doesn’t come up with the labels but that they are from the blacklist. I asked them to remove the blocks for 3 separate websites and they said they would look into it and get back to me after their lab analyzes the sites.

It would be good to find out who compiles this blacklist and I suspect that some of the companies are activists just like Google is using. It isn’t acceptable for these groups to take it upon themselves to assign such libelous and defaming labels on these websites without some sort of notification process and transparency. Violence and Hate are really loaded terms and shouldn’t be showing up unless the site is a recognized hate group or terrorist organization.

Apparently I am the first person to make such a complaint to Frontier Secure and I find that hard to believe but I also haven’t seen any one else discussing it online. I do not plan to continue using the parental control feature offered by Frontier Secure but I am not sure how long it will be before the ISPs start blocking sites on the blacklist even without the internet security features activated. I pray that will never be the case, but from what I am seeing in the news regarding tech giants locking people out of their accounts, demonetizing videos, and shadow banning conservatives on social media etc., there is little to hang any hope on.

79 Comments (Open | Close)

79 Comments To "Banning TAC Because Of ‘Hate’ & ‘Violence’"

#1 Comment By The Blocked Reader On March 7, 2018 @ 12:37 am

This is a comment from the blocked reader.

This warning was encountered after activating Frontier Secure’s parental controls in an attempt to make the browsing experience for my children less hazardous to their young psyches. Little did I know at that time that what would in-fact become blocked would be mostly the kinds of content we frequent as Christian homeschoolers in pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty. At first, the blocking did not reveal the reason and I thought that the websites were just not functioning correctly. Then I started using a different browser and it was then that I encountered the actual reasons for all of these websites being blocked. The American Conservative is simply one in a sea of many conservative sites that are being blocked by the parental controls of this security program. There are some liberal leftist sites (Daily Kos, National Abortion Federation, NARAL, NOW, and Advocate{dot}com, for example) that are blocked but not nearly as many as there are centrist conservative sites being blocked.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is not blocked but the Family Research Council is blocked and labeled as hate and violence. Planned Parenthood and Teen Vogue are not banned at all but virtually every Pro-Life (All of the Big ones and most state levels) and Pregnancy Care group are blocked and labeled as some combination of adult content, disturbing, and violence or all three. Additionally, First Things is blocked and labeled as hate as is PJ Media, Front Page Magazine, Red State, The Weekly Standard, Christian Headlines, and many more. Conversely besides Daily Kos most liberal news outlets are fine including Mother Jones, HuffPost, Washington Post, The Nation, Salon, etc.

As Rod showed in the update, Frontier is claiming that they are simply applying the blocks according to some general blacklist available to all web/tech companies that is compiled by a group of organizations that are considered trustworthy but I was unable to get them to tell me who these companies are or what the name of this blacklist is. I was told that Frontier doesn’t come up with the labels but that they are from the blacklist. I asked them to remove the blocks for 3 separate websites and they said they would look into it and get back to me after their lab analyzes the sites.

It would be good to find out who compiles this blacklist and I suspect that some of the companies are activists just like Google is using. It isn’t acceptable for these groups to take it upon themselves to assign such libelous and defaming labels on these websites without some sort of notification process and transparency. Violence and Hate are really loaded terms and shouldn’t be showing up unless the site is a recognized hate group or terrorist organization.

Apparently I am the first person to make such a complaint to Frontier Secure and I find that hard to believe but I also haven’t seen any one else discussing it online. I do not plan to continue using the parental control feature offered by Frontier Secure but I am not sure how long it will be before the ISPs start blocking sites on the blacklist even without the internet security features activated. I pray that will never be the case, but from what I am seeing in the news regarding tech giants locking people out of their accounts, demonetizing videos, and shadow banning conservatives on social media etc., there is little to hang any hope on.

#2 Comment By Josep On March 7, 2018 @ 2:05 am

I did an essay on Net Neutrality as a university assignment less than a month ago. I wrote against the Net Neutrality rules from 2015 and lauded Pai for repealing them. My main arguments against the NN rules were how they were unnecessarily stifling innovation and entrepreneurship, and how concrete evidence of ISPs sabotaging data access is/was flimsy. At the time, I was unaware of this. Now I’m split as to whether I was right with my essay or not.

#3 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 7, 2018 @ 2:28 am

I have Frontier as my ISP and haven’t seen this. That said, I don’t have “Frontier Secure” enabled.

Possible some corporate apparatchik doesn’t like you.

Also possible that some AI somewhere reads the comments, and is judging the site by some of its worst readers.

My understanding as that this is an ISP-level firewall service (optional) meant for parental controls; it’s certainly not anything imposed on Frontier customers. (As such, it’s not a violation of “net neutrality”). The same service likely can be used to block porn, and since it’s done in the ISP’s office, it’s harder for a clever teenager to work around than net-nanny software on a PC, or configurations in a home router.

Nothing you write, I would consider hate speech. Not because it contains nothing that might offend others–you write plenty that offends the LGBT community–but because it doesn’t cross the line (as I see it) from “fair political comment” to “abuse”. Others may disagree, obviously.

As has long been noted–there isn’t a consensus for freedom of speech in the US, only a lack of consensus as to what should be suppressed.

#4 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 7, 2018 @ 2:34 am

I think this may be related to the website’s security. I am often redirected to spam/phishing sites when I access TAC with my mobile browser.

I’ve seen this too; but this is generally a problem with the (third party) ad servers getting hacked or being tricked into hosting ads containing malware. (Many of them detect phones and produce fake “virus warnings” to try and trick people into downloading nasty apps; but no longer bother with PCs. Most people nowadays access the Net with their phone or tablet, not with their desktop).

#5 Comment By BadZ On March 7, 2018 @ 2:54 am

Surprised it wasn’t blocked because of all the discussion of bestiality 😉

Such nonsense authoritarianism should be at least something that can unite reasonable people on the left/right/lib/con axes. Why spend time demonising entire other groups, when it’s really another win for the powerful in their battle to get information back under control?

#6 Comment By JonF On March 7, 2018 @ 6:24 am

Apparently they don’t read this site? Because if they did they would discover that other than the occasional apologia by Pat Buchanan there’s lots and lots of criticism of Trump here, enough to warm the cockles of any Trump-deranged censor’s heart. Plus, a number of decidedly leftist posters comment here. If there’s an ideological plot in this it’s a very inept one since this site is rather subversive of mainstream conservatism.

#7 Comment By JonF On March 7, 2018 @ 6:29 am

I just read the update: so they use “contractors” to read the sites and decide what they think of them. Well, I have a friend who does this for money on the side. It’s paid as piece work: rate X websites for Y dollars. This encourages very hasty reviews since the more you can rate the more money you get. I suspect there’s less an ideological plot here, than an artifact of late capitalism’s Cult of Cheap valuing quantity over quality.

#8 Comment By Oakinhouston On March 7, 2018 @ 6:42 am

Just for laughs

For a while my work’s intranet blocked Rod,s webpage because of the frequent tags LGBT, sexuality, etc.. It flagged it as “sexual content”. It allowed me to go on, but sent a message to IT that I might be looking at sexual pages during work hours in my work computer.

After about three months, apparently someone in our IT group got tired of the flag coming up every day and whitelisted Rod’s blog. No one ever bothered me for following Rod Dreher, purveyor of LGBT sexuality for the masses

#9 Comment By Powers Bert On March 7, 2018 @ 6:46 am

Degoogle, get rid of all their products. No Twitter, no Facebook. Hit them in the pocketbook.

#10 Comment By RevJonathan On March 7, 2018 @ 8:40 am

This one really caught me off-guard. I live in a small town in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. Where I live, there are exactly two options for Internet: Xfinity and Frontier. I went with the former, but one of the churches I pastor uses Frontier.

#11 Comment By Isidore The Farmer On March 7, 2018 @ 9:01 am

This is not a surprise. The left hates free speech, and blocks dissent in any way they can. Given that leftist regimes have massacred millions of dissidents in the last 100 years, it is not shocking in the least to see their modern descendents (surprise) using their cultural power to censor their political opponents.

This is in the nature of a progressive. This Is Who They Are (to mock one of their idiotic sayings).

The progressives advocacy of free speech in the counter-cultural late 60s and 70s was only ever a tactic used to obtain cultural power. It was never a principle or belief they actually held. As the ends were achieved, the tactics shifted, and their true nature returned to the surface.

#12 Comment By JonF On March 7, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

To expand on my last-minute comment this morning: I will try to get more information from my friend I mentioned who is doing this sort of work (rating websites) on the side. I’m not sure the exact point of his work is to determine parental controls/work place appropriate ratings, though those two would seem to be the main market for such ratings. It may however be a couple of days until I’m able to learn anything and if this post drops too far off the front page I’ll email Rod if I find out anything interesting. Again, since they are using poorly paid contractors who have every incentive to be as hasty as possible I can see that egregious judgments are quite possible. even inevitable. And at a guess the majority of people doing this work are people in need of extra money I would suspect that the group skews younger, female and less white (though my friend is a 47 year old white guy). That alone would introduce a bias into the ratings, though there may be enough conservative leaning people in the contractor pool so that some liberal websites are also getting bad ratings as the second update notes.

#13 Comment By sjb On March 7, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

It is my understanding that we are in the initial stages of censorship of the internet. It began shortly after the election of Trump and has been growing since that time. There are all kinds of new algorithms under development and being experimented with.

Do you remember the news stories of Obama personally contacting Zuckerberg when Zuckerberg rejected the idea of fake news being a problem on Facebook? Shortly thereafter, Zuckerberg joined google, youtube, and the rest in their campaign against fake news. It’s merely the left’s latest Trojan horse being used to implement censorship of free speech. Sometimes the Trojan horse bears the label fake news other times it’s labeled under Russian interference of elections.

#14 Comment By Joey D. On March 7, 2018 @ 3:08 pm

Some blocklists are good, others are bad. I’ve found Sonicwall’s content filter to generally be quite accurate, and for them to be responsive to requests to re-rate pages that may have inaccurate tags applied to them. No idea who provides the service behind the scenes, but generally I’ve had no problems. They’re good if you’re a business looking for a firewall, but they’re not aimed at consumers.

#15 Comment By Jonf On March 7, 2018 @ 4:29 pm

sjb,

You don’t think there’s censorship motivation on the Right as well? Notably among politicians who dislike unflattering things being said about them, including Fake News stuff (politicians have little recourse to libel and slander laws). That doesn’t even pass the laugh test what with Donald Trump what with Donald Trump whining daily about his bad press and hinting he’d like to do something about it.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 7, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

Siarlys, that shield symbol means you’d need administrator access to view the site.

I do get frustrated when my own computer tells me I need an administrator’s approval to do anything, but once I learned to keep track of what the darned password I chose when installing the operating system was, I had less difficulty. I am the administrator of my own computer. Aren’t you of yours?

#17 Comment By sjb On March 7, 2018 @ 11:24 pm

Jonf: “You don’t think there’s censorship motivation on the Right as well?”

None that I know of if we stick to what I addressed in my comment: internet censorship. Other than Theil, who is libertarian and on the Facebook board, it’s the tech giants, who are all hard left politically, who are developing the algorithms to suppress and even remove the conservative presence on the internet. The blacklists are merely an early expression of where they are heading.

#18 Comment By PeterK On March 7, 2018 @ 11:47 pm

“My main arguments against the NN rules were how they were unnecessarily stifling innovation and entrepreneurship, and how concrete evidence of ISPs sabotaging data access is/was flimsy”

what is being experienced is not a violation of “net neutrality” but rather what I term “content neutrality” Google, facebook youtube and a host of others practice “content neutrality” and yes i’m being facetious when I call it “content neutrality” because they aren’t be neutral. that is what we really have to worry about, but the folks on the left think nothing is wrong with “content neutrality”

#19 Comment By Alex Brown On March 8, 2018 @ 12:34 am

You now have your own experience with the early stages of censorship.
Slowly at first, one by one, the left is going to eliminate our basic freedoms. All under the guise of fighting hate, racism, -phobias etc.
And then what? How the non-violent Benedict option is going to solve this problem? If we withdraw from the larger society, who is going to protect us? Fight for our rights? Leftists will simply trample us and establish their people republic. Permanently.

By ‘we’ I mean not only religious conservatives, but all those (like myself) who are fed up with current state of affairs and ready to leave for the seemingly greener pastures of private lives…

#20 Comment By Hound of Ulster On March 8, 2018 @ 2:16 am

@sjb

There IS a problem on the Right with ‘fake news’ and rumors reported as fact, often for partisan point-scoring reasons. A lot of the ‘news’ from sources like WND and Breitbart, to name a few, was passed on by the mainstream press (which has no problem filling air-time with conservative and right-wing talking heads. The Sunday morning shows sometimes feature as many as 8-10 GOP guests for every 2-3 Democratic guests, no matter the political power context or issue at hand), because it was either poorly sourced or flat-out false. The ‘birther’ nonsense almost immediately springs to mind. Hannity and co. have been poor successors to the likes of Robert Novak and William F. Buckley.

Conservative media needs to do a better job of reporting and investigating, and spend less time trying to score ideological points over it’s enemies. When was the last time a conservative media outlet won any of the top-flight journalism prizes? Broke a world-shattering story? And don’t say it’s because of ‘muh evil liberal media!’. Plenty of journalists in recent times have worked for conservative outfits, and then moved to the so-called ‘liberal’ media. Jim Acosta, Major Garrett, and Bret Stephens all started, or came to prominence, working for conservative outlets like Fox News and National Review before moving on to so-called ‘liberal’ outlets.

#21 Comment By JonF On March 8, 2018 @ 6:28 am

Re: None that I know of if we stick to what I addressed in my comment: internet censorship.

Huh? So that’s the only kind of censorship? Moreover you can find anything you want on the internet to this day. I certainly have no trouble visiting this site, or First Things or any other such place that doctrinaire leftists would disapprove of. And if you purchase parental controls for your home system (understandable if you have kids) then those controls are entirely in your control– learn how to use them. Your workplace systems of course are not yours: they belong to your employer and he calls the shots with them– and no, that is not “censorship” in any realistic sense.
What are you people so afraid of? “Home of the brave”– that’s a laugh these days.

#22 Comment By sjb On March 8, 2018 @ 9:37 am

Hound of Ulster: “There IS a problem on the Right with ‘fake news’ and rumors reported as fact, often for partisan point-scoring reasons.”

Honesty requires the recognition that this is true of both sides. Everything you state about the right, can be stated about the left and with just as many examples. Unless a crime has been committed, the answer ultimately ends up being caveat emptor. What I addressed is a different subject: censorship of free speech via giant tech companies. Free speech is a civil rights issue.

#23 Comment By VikingLS On March 8, 2018 @ 9:42 am

“Once again, “liberal” commenters approve, by saying “you deserved it” or “you’re to blame.” Some mighty powerful cognitive dissonance and exulting self-righteous hypocrisy combined to justify throttling free speech.”

They don’t believe liberals do bad things. If it looks like they did, well either the people in question weren’t REAL liberals (the no true Scotsman fallacy TAC liberals reflexively go to), the action wasn’t really bad (we deserved it) or somehow it’s the fault of Republicans.

A trans militia could enter an Orthodox Church in the middle of liturgy, shoot half the congregation, including the priest and the ONLY angle most of these liberals (and you know this is true liberals, you have proven this time and time and time again) is that it was the REALLY the fault of Republicans for not supporting stricter gun control and for having forced the poor transexuals to shoot them in self-defense due to the terrible history of Christian persecution of transexuals.

#24 Comment By sjb On March 8, 2018 @ 9:46 am

JonF: “Huh? So that’s the only kind of censorship? Moreover you can find anything you want on the internet to this day. I certainly have no trouble visiting this site, or First Things or any other such place that doctrinaire leftists would disapprove of.”

Have you forgotten the way google and youtube blocked the word: gun? I tried to internet search a Penn & Teller video about guns/2nd amendment and youtube gave me a blank page saying no results found. Same with google. Incredibly weird. It wasn’t a problem using duckduckgo. Found it immediately. Hmm. Algorithms? Word blocks?

#25 Comment By Donald Ernst On March 8, 2018 @ 8:40 pm

The answers are clear , 1.- set up a national platform using government money if needed to duplicate Twitter/Facebook/You Tube. It would be banned from any censorship. 2.- regulate existing platforms and establish penalties for violation of free speech. 3.- Set up a government owned and operated search engine banned from exhibiting bias. 4.- regulate existing search engines over a certain size from exhibiting bias , establish penalties for exhibiting bias.

#26 Comment By Hound of Ulster On March 9, 2018 @ 10:02 am

@sjb

Name a story or meme pushed by partisan Left media ( which has an order of magnitude smaller reach at the moment than partisan right media, despite the conservative part of the country being smaller, less wealthy, older, and more rural at the moment) that got the same level of buy-in from elite liberal opinion that the ‘birther’ conspiracy (which IS by it’s nature a racist dog-whistle personal attack on thr country’s first non-white President) got from elite conservative opinion?

Trump would not have won the GOP nomination in 2016 if he had not bought into the ‘birther’ conspiracy theory in 2011-12.

#27 Comment By RJohnson On March 9, 2018 @ 4:27 pm

Given how frequently the topic of “transgenderism” and “transsexualism” come up on this site, I would suspect it to be blocked by many filtering appliances. Your blog may deal with some very positive topics, Rod, but I am not sure it is a place an under-13 child should be exposed to without close parental supervision.

I suspect many traditional Christian parents would rather not have the topic of transgenderism raised by a post on your website popping up on their screen during an otherwise innocent search.

#28 Comment By JonF On March 11, 2018 @ 7:38 am

Re: Trump would not have won the GOP nomination in 2016 if he had not bought into the ‘birther’ conspiracy theory in 2011-12.

I find that a very dubious proposition. Trump’s appeal was A) his anti-immigrant stance B) His willingness to break political norms (much of the populist right seems to consist of people who still resent being taught basic manners as children) C) his promise to somehow bring back working class jobs D) his affirmation of middle class entitlements (unlike other Republicans who are still making war on the New Deal)

#29 Comment By JonF On March 11, 2018 @ 7:41 am

Re: set up a national platform using government money if needed to duplicate Twitter/Facebook/You Tube. It would be banned from any censorship.

Oh? So you’d allow people to practice actual slander, post hard porn, and threaten one another brutally?
Think about that for a minute. Some firms if censorship exist for a good reason.