In the world of free blogging or free blog hosting services, these are the most popular:
2. Blogger or Blogspot (owned by Google)
There is a lot to like about Medium.com from a blog writer’s standpoint. Its streamlined interface allows writers to focus on writing. Posting a blog is nearly as easy as posting an update on Facebook. In contrast, to post on WordPress or Blogger, you must login to the backend and fill in many more complicated details like SEO focus keywords, slug, snippet, category, tags, featured video and/or featured image. Medium SEO is already optimized. The site has an active community. The only major concern is the same one troubling the world of social media: trust.
Social trust is now the greatest online commodity. Can we trust Medium to be a neutral platform, as opposed to being a biased publisher than tries to mold minds and push a political slant?
First, we should define the word neutrality (the opposite of bias). A media platform is not “neutral” because you can post anything you want. That would qualify Facebook, Google and YouTube as “neutral”. We are aware how these companies rank, recommend and hide your post is a far more important indicator of neutrality; then secondarily the community’s reaction, likes, upvotes and comments contribute to the perception of neutrality, too. No one informed believes these companies are neutral anymore.
Facebook’s own founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted to bias and censorship among tech giants before the US Congress on April 10, 2018, “I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.” Silicon Valley is the ideological ground zero of the most left-leaning state in America. Medium.com is headquartered in Mountain View, the birthplace of the term “Silicon Valley” and Google’s corporate HQ.
To avoid guilt by association, I did some test searches on Medium.com. The two main areas of bias for which to test are political and religious. Here are my results.
- When I search “White House”, the top result is “The Obama White House”. There is no current “White House” account, such as you would find on Instagram and even Flickr, a relatively small social media platform. The current administration has no presence on Medium at all. Odd for the most active Presidency on social media!
- When I search “Donald Trump”, the top 4 suggested accounts are: The Economist, The Washington Post, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and an account with a swear word I’ll omit here. Neutral? Not by a long shot.
To my recollection, The Economist has not featured a positive article about Trump since he has been elected. The Washington Post, the media arm of Jeff Besoz’ empire, is Trump’s archenemy, right next to The “Failing” New York Times (as Trump likes to call it). As for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton being recommended when one searches for “Trump”, well, let’s call it a serious error in algorithm. There seems to be a lack of pro-Trump/ conservative accounts on Medium, or else they exist but don’t show up on search results. Either way is an indication of bias.
3. I changed the search filter for “Trump” from “People” to “Stories”. Here is the #1 recommended story, so old (from July 2016) I wonder has no one posted an update worth recommending?
Note the applause from Medium staff and 17K other Medium readers means the company and community are sympathetic towards this piece. Nothing, not even one thing, predicted by this article has occurred because of Brexit or Trump’s election — no nuclear war, no economic collapse, no plague, no second Holocaust. Why is it still highly recommended by Medium staff? Why is there no counterpoint to contest it? Two years into the Presidency, we can now compare the assumptions of this blogger with facts.
Written by a Brit who extols the superiority of British education (for demanding multiple viewpoints), he proceeds to assert one anti-Trump viewpoint. Trump is compared to Hitler, Mussolini and Mugabe on an emotional appeal level, with no economic data, no financial argument. Far from collapsing, Americans are thriving again, GDP is over 4%, black unemployment has never been lower, and a historic meeting with Kim Jong Un has halted nuclear testing which Barack Obama could do nothing about. Can any of the Trump critics do better? These are facts that do not align with the “dictator” stigma.
What is a true common denominator of all dictators the writer listed is the fact that they all consider themselves “intellectuals”, just as this blogger sees himself. Intellectuals justify enforcing their agendas on others by claiming to be more learned, more read, more endowed with the gift to lead. The writer laments that Trump got elected only because the people “don’t read”, “don’t think”, and “ignore experts” (of whom he is one, just as all past dictators think they are). One thing Trump cannot be accused of is seeing himself is an “intellectual”. Even though he wakes up at 4 am every day and the first thing he does is read profusely, he is a street-smart negotiator. Street smart people are always disdained by book smart intellectuals.
4. The above results suggesting bias come from my user search of “Trump”. What does Medium recommend that I read based on my reading history (without searching any key word)? I am a Christian evangelical — Medium seems to know that. So here is my suggested reading:
The first post is a hit piece on evangelicals dumb enough to support Trump. The third is a promotion of “Non-Trump Evangelicals”. Given a higher percentage of evangelicals voted for Trump than any other Republican President before (some estimate as high as 80%), this promoted post is obviously a minority view, leaning towards anti-Trump, anti-conservative and anti-evangelical.
Needless to say, mocking Christianity and promoting sexual lifestyles like “transgenderism” and “sapiosexualism” are hallmarks of the radical left. I have no interest in reading about other people’s sex life. You don’t have to be Christian to share my view. Millions of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and traditionalists find it offensive to have sexualized content publicly pushed by a media platform. On what basis is Medium recommending this to us?
6. I decided to go to the home page of Medium on my mobile phone. Here is the recommended reading list:
The top recommended blog is a post attacking men, another characteristic of left-leaning “conversations”. Imagine an anti-feminist/ pro-masculine post being top of the recommended reading on Medium? No, I cannot either.
The next recommended reading is a post normalizing swearing by a “young minister”. Whether it’s “radical” or not is for you to decide, but this is leaning anti-conservative and anti-traditional. I know non-religious, conservative people who would never swear in private, much less in church.
The third article Medium recommended to a Christian based on his “reading history” (I read nothing to indicate I want to be recommended this tripe) is about “avoiding the either/or trap: lessons learned losing my religion”. As someone who came from a family of Buddhists, Catholics, Methodists and Muslims (see my book “From Buddha to Jesus”), I find another post about “relativism” boring and the title provocative only to be clickbait. There’s nothing new, fresh or interesting about a Westerner promoting “relativistic” values. It’s the groupthink, dominant culture.
You would have to have a wider frame of reference, a greater grasp of absolutist value systems as believed and practiced worldwide, before you can make an interesting claim of having “lost” something opposite to greyish relativism. When I accepted Jesus for whom He says He is, I did not lose any of my family or religious background, I gained personal forgiveness of sins and a relationship with the Creator who is both absolutist sometimes and relativist sometimes. This surrender to His ways, not my own opinions, is the beginning of being Christian.
Medium is a simple blogging site that requires minimum effort. It is not focused on building social trust. It does not pass the test of neutrality in my limited search for political and religious content. When a company ranks and recommends one political or religious ideology consistently above another, it is biased.
Yes, you can post anything you want about Donald Trump and Christianity, but the staff of Medium will rarely recommend a traditional viewpoint and the reaction of the community will not be many “claps”. You may not get “discovered” or positively promoted on Medium posting Christian content, unless by “Christian” you mean Bible-doubting, church-abandoning, pastor-mocking, tradition-rejecting and Trump-hating. The same applies to conservative content, unless by “conservative” you mean you disagree with your conservative parents and have seen the light that Trump is a fascist as evil as Hitler. Perhaps you will never see this article on your Medium home page. Perhaps one day you will see this post “erased” off the platform.
Originally published at www.quora.com.