MailOnline Sues Google for ‘Hiding’ Links to News Stories

Illustration for article titled MailOnline Sues Google for 'Hiding' Links to News Stories

Photo: Michael M. Santiago (Getty Images)

MailOnline, a news site associated with the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, has sued Google over allegations the tech giant has been “hiding” links to its news stories. Google calls the allegations “meritless.”

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The U.S.-based lawsuit, first reported by the Guardian, alleges that articles about professional bloviator Piers Morgan and former royal Meghan Markle were recently hidden from prominent positions on Google because MailOnline has stopped using some of Google’s search engine optimization tools. But Google denies the claims.

“The Daily Mail’s claims are completely inaccurate,” a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo via email.

“The use of our ad tech tools has no bearing on how a publisher’s website ranks in Google Search. More generally, we compete in a crowded and competitive ad tech space where publishers have and exercise multiple options,” the Google spokesperson continued.

“The Daily Mail itself authorizes dozens of ad tech companies to sell and manage their ad space, including Amazon, Verizon and more. We will defend ourselves against these meritless claims.”

The lawsuit highlights the complex relationship between news outlets and Google. MailOnline and virtually every other private news enterprise depends on Google’s traffic to reach readers, but those same news outlets are struggling because companies like Google and Facebook are taking all of the ad revenue that previously went to traditional media companies.

MailOnline did not respond to a request for comment overnight from Gizmodo but whined to the Guardian about how Google was being unfair.

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“This lawsuit is to hold Google to account for their continued anti-competitive behavior including manipulation of ad auctions and news search results, bid rigging, algorithm bias and exploiting its market power to harm their advertising rivals,” a MailOnline spokesperson told the Guardian.

“Despite increased criticism by regulators and governments around the world, Google’s ongoing behavior clearly shows they are not prepared to change their conduct,” the spokesperson continued.

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We’ll update this post if we hear back from MailOnline.

Man With No Work Experience Will Now Arbitrate Your Reality

Illustration for article titled Man With No Work Experience Will Now Arbitrate Your Reality

Photo: Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP (Getty Images)

If you’re worried about the fact that disinformation seems to have diseased most Americans’ minds, don’t worry. Prince Harry has got you covered.

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It has been announced that the Duke of Sussex has been recruited by a disinfo-focused research unit developed by the Aspen Institute—that glistening global non-profit powered by the world’s most monied.

The Prince is practically all the U.S. can talk about since he and Meghan Markle very publicly jilted their royal duties to be freewheeling American celebrities. Since then, as if in an effort to prove his American grit and allay the image of a royal layabout, he has been on a job-getting spree—the likes of which see him positioning himself as a Silicon Valley tech dude.

One of those new jobs is with The Commission on Information Disorder, which will conduct a six-month investigation to “wrestle with the impact and problem of mis- and disinformation” in modern American society. It is the product of the Aspen Cybersecurity Group, a cross-sector cyber forum, and funded by part of a $3.25 million contribution from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the eponymous charity created by the billionaire founder of Craigslist.

So reports CNN, the Prince will do some serious thinking about what has Americans so confused about the facts: “Harry, 14 other commissioners and three co-chairs will conduct a six-month study on the state of American misinformation and disinformation.” Harry’s own “personal experiences with the media — particularly with lies and nonsense spread about his own life — are likely to inform his contributions to the commission,” the news outlet reports.

Look, I certainly have sympathy for the fact that a guy like Harry would want to escape “the Firm” (as he’s referred to the royal family) and make a name for himself, but this sounds like a job he is not really qualified for. Sure, the man has doubtlessly had to deal with a lot of paparazzi throughout his life, but so has, like, Nicolas Cage. Does that really make either of them qualified to dismantle systemic conspiracy theory rot or explain to Americans what is real and what is foreign-seeded propaganda?

The Commission does have a handful of well-qualified academics, researchers and government professionals onboard (among them Stanford University’s Herb Lin, former CISA director Chris Krebs, and University of Washington disinformation researcher Kate Starbird, among several others). A variety of other people from varying fields (tech, media, and other corporate thought-leader types) are also involved.

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Clearly the world at large has an information pollution problem: disinformation is being produced by anybody and everybody, these days—with intelligence agencies, celebrities, corporations, and even just your average malcontent all capable of wreaking havoc on the minds of millions with the click of a button (well, many clicks, more accurately).

Prince Harry has obviously done a lot of things in his life. He served in the military—two tours in Afghanistan. But, as far as I know, he doesn’t have any academic expertise in the area of disinformation.

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The Aspen Institute’s decision to recruit a member of the royal family for its billionaire-funded Commission just sort of underlines everything wrong with the current approach to this problem: i.e., elitist technocracy at its most ridiculous. It seems sort of ironic that, in the name of shedding light on the ills of media bullshit, the Commission is touting association with a man whose whole life has doubtlessly been held aloft by the likes of an industrial PR machine.

We have reached out to the Aspen Institute for comment on Harry’s qualifications and are waiting to hear what they are.

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Oprah’s Interview With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Finally Posted Online for Cordcutters

In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021.

In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021.
Photo: Harpo Productions (Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey’s explosive new interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was all anyone seemed to be talking about online Sunday night, but if you missed the live show on CBS, it seemed you were out of luck. There was no way to watch the interview anywhere after the fact, including the new CBS streaming network, Paramount+. But CBS finally posted the interview on CBS.com around 4 a.m. ET/ 1 a.m. PT—basically an eternity for cordcutters who are used to getting things whenever they want.

The two-hour interview, which first aired at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday night on CBS, is filled with shocking revelations from both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who opened up about why they left their lives of royalty behind. The short answer? The royal family is racist as shit.

Even if you typically don’t care about the royals, the interview is a fascinating glimpse at the rotting, poisonous institution known as British monarchy. Many Britons still won’t give up on the childish notion of having kings and queens, of course, defending the “integrity” of the royal family for some bizarre reason. But this interview really should give plenty of ammunition to small-r republicans still flying the British flag of colonial rule.

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CBS did a pretty impressive job keeping the entire interview away from the typical places you’d expect to find pirated video, including torrent sites and the sketchier video hosting services. YouTube never hosted a full version of the video even once, as far as Gizmodo could tell, a testament to how advanced the website’s Content ID has gotten. But it was probably a bad call for CBS to wait so long to publish the entire video, just the same.

There’s not much reason to have people wait so long in 2021, especially when you’re promoting a new streaming service like Paramount+. Yes, you could watch the interview live on Paramount+, but why not time-shifted? It simply doesn’t make any sense, and Paramount+ clearly needs the help right now.

If you’ve already seen the interview, or you’re planning to watch on CBS.com today, CBS This Morning plans to air even more footage from the interview later today. It’s hard to imagine there are any explosive allegations left, but the royals are a family of innumerable wealth with basically no accountability. Historically, that’s a very bad combination. It could be much worse than any of us could even imagine.