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Rejected by an algorithm

Google keeps rejecting me as a host for its adsense program. For years, I chugged along full steam ahead, making enough some months to cover my hosting fees. Then someone at Google changed the math. I’ll never meet or be able to confront him, her or them. I’m suspicious something in the algorithms him or her or them recently rewrote hates something in my defense of private gun ownership. The great thing about Google is that it gets technology. The bad thing about Google is that it gets technology. You simply cannot talk to a human being at the company about why you are having a problem – why you have been rejected. If Google does decide to send you to the back of the bus, or kick you off, there is no pleading your case to a human. A ‘Dear John’ from Google is permanent, and the letter was outsourced. Unfortunately, unless we, as a species, decide to get pissed off about this and raise some holy hell, the way Google treats Adsense customers is the way we will someday all be treated, all the time.

Here’s Google telling me politely, to go fuck myself:

Hello *Former Adsense User*,

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we’ve taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by visiting https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153&hl=en_US.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team
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This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.

You’ll note that Google doesn’t ever give a reason why you have been rejected, or an opportunity to correct the problem. If you appeal, as I did, you’ll be treated to another form letter politely telling you to piss off. In my case, I suspect the “significant risk” I pose to advertisers is related to my pro-gun ownership stance. I can’t imagine any other reason for cutting me off at the knees.

 

Hello *Suspended Driver*,

While going through our records recently, we found that your driving habits have posed a significant risk to our monopoly on control of who may drive. Since keeping your license active may financially damage our state coffers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your driving privileges.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our taxpayers and other drivers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. If you have any questions about your account or the actions we’ve taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by visiting https://federaldmv.gov/suspended/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153&hl=en_US.

Sincerely,

The Federal Department of Motor Vehicles Team
——————————————————————————-
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.

Sure, the parallels are not perfect. Google is private, and government is public. Well, actually, Google is publicly traded. Anyhow, that stuff is irrelevant. What’s key is that Google has decided the convenience of algorithms trumps the need for human contact. Government will eventually fall into line. The reasons are simple. We, as a society, are all in love with the idea of using technology to “make things better” so we are increasingly ceding decision making to machines and mathematics. If you don’t fit the profile, expect to become a modern nigger. I don’t use the word lightly. Sensitive types, shut your holes. This definition is the one I intend: a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.

In the last century, people were castigated for their skin color. If you were black, or any skin color except white, you got to sit in the back of the bus. Now, in the 21st century, your skin color doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you fit the algorithms. At Google, the algorithms say you have to sit at the back of the bus if you disseminate “pornographic, hate-related, violent, or illegal content.” They decide what constitutes those things, not you. If you get on the wrong side of the algorithm, there is no human being you can plead your case too. Being stuck in a situation like this, where you are destined to have to sit at the back of the technology bus, forever locked out of a database you might benefit from for reasons you will probably never fully understand, is just a precursor of things to come.

Imagine when algorithms decide who the lawbreakers are because judges can’t be bothered anymore. Imagine when algorithms pick who should be served at the emergency room, and in what order, and how much treatment each arrival should get before being declared deceased. Imagine when algorithms decide individual tax rates based on criteria completely beyond individual control. Technology is great isn’t it? When you are discriminated against by a mathematical formula where does the picket line form? Who do you march on?

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