The Secret Playbook of Social Media Censors

The “Counter Reset”

Glenn Greenwald’s piece on manipulation of the Internet by intelligence agencies gives examples – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – of how governments disrupt social media websites.

Other whistleblowers have provided very specific information about how agents disrupt social media news sites.

This essay will focus one specific technique: the “Counter Reset”.

To explain the Counter Reset technique, we have to understand the concepts of “momentum” and “social proof”.

Specifically, the government spends a great deal of manpower and money to monitor which stories, memes and social movements are developing the momentum to actually pose a threat to the status quo.  For example, the Federal Reserve, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies all monitor social media for stories critical of their agencies … or the government in general.   Other governments – and private corporations – do the same thing.


Because a story gaining momentum ranks high on social media sites.  So it has a high probability of bursting into popular awareness, destroying the secrecy which allows corruption, and becoming a real challenge to the powers-that-be.

“Social proof” is a related concept.  Social proof is the well-known principle stating that people will believe something if most other people believe it. And see this.  In other words, most people have a herd instinct, so if a story ranks highly, more people are likely to believe it and be influenced by it.

That is why vested interests go to great lengths – using computer power and human resources – to monitor social media momentum.   If a story critical of one of these powerful entities is gaining momentum, they will go to great lengths to kill its momentum, and destroy the social proof which comes with alot of upvotes, likes or recommendations in social media.

They may choose to flood social media with comments supporting the entities, using armies of sock puppets, i.e. fake social media identities. See this, this, this, this and this. Or moderators at the social media sites themselves can just censor the stories.

Or they can be more sneaky … and do a Counter Reset to destroy momentum.

Giving specific examples will illustrate the technique.   Reddit moderators have continuously reset the counter over the last couple of days on the new Greenwald/Snowden story, to destroy momentum which would otherwise have guaranteed that the story was the top story.

Similarly, the owners of popular Youtube channels have repeatedly reported that Counter Resets are done on their most controversial news stories.

The attractiveness of the Counter Reset from a moderator’s perspective is that it destroys momentum, while leaving some plausible deniability.

If users point out that the story keeps getting spiked, the moderator can say that it hasn’t been censored, but instead that the moderators have allowed it to stay up (with periodic Counter Resets along the way).

Alternatively – if the moderators have continuously deleted the story each time it is posted – the moderators can say that it has been posted “numerous times”, and pretend that shows that they are letting the story gather momentum, when they are in fact deleting it again and again.  For example, when hundreds of Redditors complained yesterday that the Greenwald/Snowden story kept getting deleted, moderators chimed in on every thread proclaiming that the story had run multiple times … without admitting that it had been deleted each time.

Now that you know about the Counter Reset, watch your favorite social media sites to see how this technique is used for the hardest-hitting stories and videos which directly challenge the legitimacy of the powers-that-be.

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  • disqus786

    Beware Big Brother

  • The Internet enables communication across the country and round the worId. It can only be silenced if Government Enforcers make the words generated by politicians into actual HARM. Depopularize Government Enforcerhood by not voluntarily associating with those in that line of “work” who refuse to be persuaded by logic to change to endeavors that are truly productive of value in the world. With far fewer Enforcers, all governments are capable of less harm whether in their own (self-declared) “jurisdiction” or “over there”.

    • Michael Keen

      If we simply stop joining the military (and try hard to stop our brothers, sisters, sons daughters & friends from joining) the problem will be virtually solved. All of their real power comes from controlling the U.S. military.
      Although it is likely that virtually everything is run by psychopaths in the CIA, those psychopaths would never be so bold in their actions if they didn’t feel they had the might of the U.S. military at their disposal.
      We should start with educational programs designed to keep kids from joining the military, just like the programs we have to keep kids from joining gangs, then move on to combating this ridiculous “veterans are heroes” nonsense that is being drilled into our heads, and then we will refuse to allow corrupt people in our government to use billions of our tax dollars in efforts to glamorize the military, especially in cartoons and Hollywood action movies (we are literally paying billions of dollars to have them brainwash our children into becoming pawns in their machine of pain, suffering, death & destruction).

      • Michael, you are right that stopping the military enlistments and “problem will be virtually solved”. I also definitely agree with educating kids from joining the military and dissuading adults too, as I posted. However, I think you are missing a very fundamental point when it comes to government – “corrupt people in o
        ur gover
        nment to use billions of our tax dollars in efforts to glamorize the military”. Government depends on the military and all other Enforcer agencies to make their words more than ignorable, which means threatening and actually initiating physical harm for obedience to laws/regs/mandates/rulings/etc. Government by its very nature is the problem and, as you do note, enlists the entertainment industry to promote its military. Government has always had many handmaidens to disguise its true nature from those who are easily distracted from the facts – mainly that it is coercion based, no matter where located or the people involved.

        The paradigm that government, though evil, is necessary for social order is what enables the vast amounts of harm to be done by government. This necessity for government is not true but requires a change in thinking by many people, something that will take time but is doable since the principles for a non-coercive society have been discovered and laid out. Social Meta-Needs are those environmental conditions of interaction that
        can exist within human society and stably self-order it so that each
        individual can gain all goods and services needed to optimally increase
        his lifetime happiness. The foundation for social meta-needs is shown to
        be a redefined ‘ethical egoism’ as the necessary purpose of any
        individual’s life. Public social preferencing becomes the ultimate
        arbiter of individual action and effector of a social order of maximal
        liberty. Chew on it and links for understanding.

        BTW Boycotting the various handmaidens’ government-promoting products is a worthwhile start; make them financially unrewarding to continue. I sure don’t go to these movies, watch these types of TV programs or buy these books or other products and I expect that you don’t either. If many more did this too, the “handmaidens” of government would begin to see that there’s no profit in continuing these products. All of these measures take time, but it is doable.

  • mark

    if such as washingtons blog is drowned by government obliging trivia links in google search engines and social media sites then its increasingly up to these same challenging sites to mutually share links (oh, thats all the blue text in Washingtons Blog-good work)

  • There’s some kind of “301” think I noticed on youtube: lots of “views” stop at “301” for an incredibly long time (and 302, 303, it seems to go up to around 312 or so). It’s like youtube stops the views at this point and “assesses” something before letting the views go further. Also I noticed youtube “views” sometimes are tens-of-thousands less than the comments on the same youtube, which is impossible. Also, I’ve seen really hot videos on youtube stop at very round numbers for extremely long periods, for example a young turks video might stop at 67,000 for days.

  • Michael Keen

    This is one of the most informative and helpful articles I’ve ever come across.