Meet the Censored: U.S. Right to Know

7 April 2021 — US Right to Know

“A nonprofit that investigates Genetically Modified Organisms and the origins of Covid-19 is the latest to see its traffic plunge after a search engine update,” writes Matt Taibbi in TK News.

Taibbi reports on the dramatic drop in web traffic U.S. Right to Know experienced after Google’s last core algorithm update in early December – for no reason we can find out, or that Google will tell us.

“USRTK, whose reporting is mostly based on public document searches, is an organization that inspires strong opinions … they’re not generally in the friend-making business,” Taibbi writes. Groups like ours “are particularly vulnerable in the age of algorithmic moderation, as computers don’t easily distinguish between conspiracy theory and legitimate reporting that runs counter to present accepted narratives.”

“If such an organization does end up suspended, deleted, or de-ranked, as USRTK later would be, it has to wonder: was it something we wrote?” We are wondering, but no answers yet.

As our executive director Gary Ruskin told Taibbi: “Our organization, we spent six years of blood, sweat, and tears to build this website, which up until December, lots of people looked at. And now not so many people look at it and nobody told us why.”

“That’s one of the concerning things about the whole story,” Ruskin said. “In some ways, Google has the power to decide what we all read, and that’s more power than one corporation should hold.”

Please invite your friends to sign up for our newsletter to receive our reporting directly. And welcome to our new subscribers!

Chinese-linked journal editor sought help to rebut lab origin hypothesis: The editor-in-chief of a scientific journal with ties to China commissioned a commentary to refute the hypothesis that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab, according to emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know. Read our new report.

New Roundup cancer trials loom: Though Bayer has assured investors it is bringing closure to the costly Roundup litigation through settlement deals totaling more than $11 billion, new Roundup cases are still being filed. Notably several are positioned for trial, with the earliest set to start in July. Read the latest in our Roundup Trial Tracker.

More public health news of the week:

  • Calls for further inquiries into coronavirus origins — New York Times
  • Big meat and dairy companies have spent millions lobbying against climate action — Inside Climate News
  • 64% of farmland at risk of pesticide pollution revealed in global map of agricultural land across 168 countries — SciTech Daily
  • Global food and farming set for “corporate tidal wave,” warns report — IPES Food press release
  • Bill Gates is the biggest private owner of farmland in the United States. Why? — The Guardian
  • See our Bill Gates Food News Tracker for more reporting on the Gates food agenda.

Studies of note: 

  • The science of spin: targeted strategies to manufacture doubt with detrimental effects on environmental and public health — Environmental Health
  • Study provides “clear evidence for a potential human hazard” for four neonicotinoid pesticides — Archives in Toxicology
  • Residential proximity to pesticide application as a risk factor for childhood central nervous system tumors — Environmental Research
  • Small farms outdo big ones on biodiversity and crop yields – Nature Sustainability
  • Processed foods drive intestinal barrier permeability and microvascular diseases — Science Advances

You can support the U.S. Right to Know investigations by donating here. Please send news tips and feedback to stacy@usrtk.

For our right to know,
Carey, Gary, Sai, Stacy

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