And now back to our regularly scheduled program...
It's been known by many since Israel-loving Beijing Biden was "elected" with more votes than any other president in history, that YouTube has been removing down-votes from White House videos. While it is transparently obvious that the vast majority of people, and even many on the left, strongly dislike the war-mongering demented pedophile, and have been expressing their sentiments in large numbers by down-voting each and every video the White House uploads, YouTube clearly wants the world to imagine otherwise.
One curious person, 'Zoe Phin', decided to confirm YouTube's mass removal of down-votes by monitoring the White House YouTube channel using a simple Bash script. Zoe published the results of this effort in an article, White House Youtube Dislike Manipulation (archived here).
I've seen screenshots of YouTube modifying dislikes of White House videos. I decided I would do a thorough analysis myself. I wrote a script to check video stats every 80 seconds for 24 hours – for all videos on White House's YouTube channel.
Zoe tells us that many other videos were simply removed (delisted) within minutes of being published.
What we see in the graph above is a massive decrease in dislikes for the video, 01/26/21: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, at about the 6 hr. mark, followed by many smaller reductions at approximately 1 hr. intervals, the result of which limits the maximum number of dislikes to around 5000 (the number was at 4.4K at the time of writing this).
Following are more examples of down-vote manipulation by YouTube.
Zoe uploaded some of the collected to Pastebin, including a data set that contains the number of dislikes that were removed from the videos, as well as the times at which they were removed. This data tells us that 130,000 dislikes were removed in just 24 hours.
The disgust people feel regarding ding-dong Biden is also apparent on the White House videos hosted at BitChute, a popular YouTube alternative. Unlike YouTube, there is far less censorship at BitChute and, we might assume, no manipulation of voting statistics. A BitChute user created the channel, TheWhiteHouse, which i assume is not an official White House channel, but which seems to mirror the White House videos posted at YouTube. If Zoe's statistics are accurate, we might expect to find a similar result regarding user sentiment for the White House videos on BitChute, minus the vote manipulation, and indeed we do.
For the most recent White House video posted at BitChute, 01/29/21: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, at the time of this writing the video was viewed 1925 times. The video was liked by 3 viewers and disliked by 474. Another video, President Biden Signs Executive Actions, was viewed 4265 times, liked once and disliked 764 times. All of the other videos share very similar results regarding the like-dislike ratio.
I'm not exactly sure what to think about the author as far as their technical knowledge since they promote some stuff i do not necessarily agree with, such as using Tor instead of a VPN. The author is completely correct in that there are risks to be assumed with any VPN, however i believe, and i think the evidence dictates, that the same is true with the Tor network (see here and here for instance). Also the author complains about Firefox's security, yet the Tor browser is a fork of Firefox.
The author also makes some potentially sketchy claims regarding Android, stating that "The best option for privacy and security on Android is to get a Pixel 3 or greater and flash GrapheneOS".
From everything i understand, exactly none of the mainstream phones can be considered privacy or security friendly as long as the baseband firmware shares the same memory as the user-facing OS, nor can they be made to be so. Contrary to the authors advice, i would recommend, a) ditching your mobile if at all possible or, b) considering devices from PinePhone and Purism where the proprietary baseband firmware is isolated from the OS and which have hardware switches to actually (really) power off certain components. The author recommends to avoid these devices, but i'm not sure how strong of an argument they make and the arguments miss many other advantages of such devices.
Commenting in an area i know a bit more about, the author states, "You cannot configure your browser to prevent tracking either. Everyone will configure their browser differently so when you change a bunch of about:config settings such as privacy.resistFingerprinting and pile on browser extensions like Privacy Badger, you're making yourself stand out and are effectively reducing privacy."
That's a very crude statement in my opinion. First of all i personally don't recommend Privacy Badger. Secondly, standing out (appearing unique to a web server) is not a bad thing as long as the browser fingerprint isn't static. Firefox has many preferences other than
which can be leveraged to make it more privacy and security complaint. I maintain two guides if interested.
All that said, the Linux Hardening Guide may indeed be a great guide and i think it's certainly worth a read.