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(LifeSiteNews) – Podcasts seem to be the next target of internet censorship as multiple industry leaders have recently launched AI-powered tools to detect “misinformation” and controversial content that goes against the mainstream narrative.

Researchers at the Brookings Institute have called for the top-down censorship that has been practiced on social media to expand to podcasts as well. Many companies have apparently answered that call as censorship tools known as AI-powered “brand safety analyses” are currently being rolled out.

According to a video report by Reclaim The Net, brand safety analysis “involves flagging so-called high-risk speech within podcasts and determining podcasts suitability for advertising.”

The report names three companies that have recently launched AI-powered tools that analyze podcasts for “brand safety:” Sounder, NewsGuard, and Barometer.

“These companies have direct partnerships with major podcasts and audio advertising companies and their new tools are now being used by some of the largest advertisers in the podcasting space to ensure that ads only run against ‘brand safe content,’” Reclaim The Net stated.

Who fact-checks the fact-checkers?

NewsGuard, a company that claims to be “the leader in the trust industry countering misinformation,” launched its “Podcast Credibility Rating” tool in May 2023. The tool rates podcasts with a trust score from 0-10 so that advertisers can “[a]void advertising on podcasts that regularly convey false information” or on “heavily biased or politically slanted news shows.”

The most important criteria for a high trust score are “[d]oes not regularly convey false, unchallenged information,” and “[c]onveys news on important topics responsibly.”

“Podcast streaming platforms can also use these ratings to moderate content on their platforms and promote highly trustworthy news and information podcasts in user searches and curated sections,” Newsguard explained, hinting at the possibility to use their tool for increased censorship efforts.

“NewsGuard’s global team of misinformation experts will have rated the top 200 news podcasts on the largest streaming platforms by January 2024,” the company announced.

It has to be noted that NewsGuard has labeled all stories by mainstream outlets such as the Huffington Post, CNN, CNBC, The Washington Post, etc. as trustworthy, even though some of their reports were proved to be inaccurate.

READ: Microsoft’s pre-installed ‘NewsGuard’ app labels proven ‘fake news’ as credible

At the same time, alternative media outlets such as The Drudge Report, The Blaze, Breitbart, and LifeSiteNews have received warning labels from NewsGuard, revealing their obvious bias against outlets that challenge some of the mainstream narratives.

READ: New app in Microsoft browser labels Drudge Report, Breitbart, LifeSite as ‘false news’ websites

Ending the era of free speech on podcasts?

For a long time, podcasts were not subject to censorship, as they were mainly distributed through open and decentralized RSS feeds. The video report by Reclaim The Net notes that Apple podcasts, one of the largest podcasting platforms in the world, allows users to directly subscribe to the creators of the podcast via an RSS feed. However, in recent years, Apple has started to censor some podcasts on its platform.

Moreover, Spotify has emerged as the industry leader and since it entered the podcasting business in 2017 the company “has already censored more than 20,000 podcasts, including some episodes of the world’s most popular podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience,” according to Reclaim The Net.

These new AI tools that determine “brand safety” will make it easier for companies like Spotify to censor speech that goes against left-wing orthodoxy and make it harder for “controversial” podcasters to monetize their content.

“For podcasters, the proliferation of these brand safety tools is likely to create a YouTube-like environment where those who talk about topics that are deemed unsafe will find it increasingly difficult to monetize their podcasts and because podcasting is no longer as open as it used to be these score are also likely to be used for more direct censorship in the future,” the Reclaim The Net video report states.

READ: ‘Twitter Files’ show us why Congress must defund and dismantle the US censorship-industrial complex