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Will Firefox’s “Pocket” Become the Bud Light of Online News Curators?

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2023
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by Aaron Flanigan
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AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan

Pocket

Among the battle of woke corporations, it appears one online news aggregator—Pocket, a news curator managed by Mozilla, creator of the web browser Firefox—is now aggressively vying for Bud Light’s crown.

Nearly a decade after Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich famously became one of the first victims of left-wing “cancel culture” and resigned after privately donating to an organization that opposed the legalization of gay marriage in California, Mozilla and its Pocket product are on the vanguard of pushing leftist propaganda on unsuspecting users worldwide.

While individual media outlets have experienced serious pushback in recent years over their blatant liberal bias, news aggregation platforms like Apple News and Yahoo News have received far less scrutiny into their editorial judgements. But as more Americans turn to these sites to get their news, it has become increasingly obvious that supposedly neutral aggregation sites are just another channel for Big Tech and media companies to impose their left-wing agenda on ordinary Americans.

One major example of this phenomenon is Pocket, which AMAC Newsline has examined in recent weeks. Pocket’s popular app and bookmarking service that allows users to save articles for later reading reports having more than 10 million active users.

But in addition to this core product, Pocket also powers the article recommendations that are featured on the “News Tab” of the wildly popular Firefox web browser, which is installed on hundreds of millions of computers around the world. A regular Firefox user could see those recommendations dozens or even hundreds of times per day.

Pocket says it prides itself on sharing “the best articles, news, stories and videos” and promises to promote content with a “diverse range of publications with a track record of trustworthy and accurate coverage” that marks a “refreshing change from other digital spaces.”

But after several weeks of monitoring, AMAC Newsline found that Pocket—rather than circulating the “best content on the web”—largely circulates the most culturally and politically charged left-wing hit pieces.

In the last week alone, the platform’s “suggested content” has included a Vanity Fair piece disparaging the “sheer stupidity of Republican politics,” an NPR piece speculating on how climate change will “cause a home insurance meltdown,” a BBC article praising what it describes as “the Communist leader who led an Indian state through Covid,” and a story insisting that it’s “actually common to indict leaders of democracies”—an apparent attempt to downplay or minimize Democrats’ relentless prosecution of President Donald Trump.

Additionally, the platform promoted blatantly political content like a Rolling Stone list hailing the “50 most inspirational LGBTQ songs of all time,” a Time puff piece on John Fetterman obsequiously titled “How John Fetterman Came Out of the Darkness,” and a “Pocket Collections” article on “how LGBTQ+ representation on film and TV is getting bolder.”

Other content in the last seven days has included a Los Angeles Times column lamenting the “far-right GOP” in New Mexico, a Politico piece warning of the effects of “conspiracy theories” (featuring photos of Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán), an Atlantic essay predicting the imminent collapse of churches in America, and another Politico piece on how “college towns are decimating the GOP.”

Additional content recommended by Pocket in previous months has included a “letter of apology to mother Earth,” a Substack article on “fatphobia,” a piece on which countries are “making progress” toward electing more women leaders, and a Pocket-produced piece entitled “The Affirming, Life-Changing World of Amateur LGBTQ+ Sports.”

The content Pocket has highlighted in the last week would be better suited for an openly left-wing news curator seeking to elicit pageviews from committed liberals. But for such content to be elevated and shared by Firefox and framed as objective news that is “diverse,” “refreshing,” and the “best content on the web” is not only highly misleading, but also corrosive to the culture and is almost certainly further contributing to an already toxic political ecosystem.

In this, Pocket is hardly alone among news aggregation platforms. Apple News, which has 125 million monthly active users, also pushes left-wing content to users—in some cases with the express purpose of influencing political outcomes.

In 2019, for instance, The Guardian reported how millions of voters in Britain received a notification straight to their iPhone from Apple News encouraging them to watch three videos highlighting a “difficult start to election week for the Tories,” Britain’s conservative faction. The content was clearly intended to embarrass conservative politicians in Britain at a crucial time as voters cast their ballots.

Notably, the decision to send the notification directly to every iPhone in Britain was made by Apple News’s five-member U.K. editorial team—effectively making them one of the most powerful media entities in the country.

Companies like Apple, Google, and Mozilla often hide behind their algorithms as an excuse to continue their politically biased content curation, insisting that users see stories like ones that they have engaged with in the past, or that other users are sharing widely.

But as the incident in Britain shows, that is not always the case. On issues of great importance, a shadowy group of human editors has the ability and the propensity to step in and push content to users that favors their own liberal ideological convictions.

Though the left is of course represented in great numbers within the online media landscape, Pocket and similar news curators regularly fail to promote any content generated by massively popular conservative platforms like The Federalist, The Daily Wire, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, and Breitbart—each of which produce insightful content that can reliably be described as, in the words of Pocket, “refreshing change from other digital spaces.”

As this left-wing bias becomes more obvious, news aggregation services may soon find themselves facing the same collapse in trust now befalling traditional media outlets.

This year, several American companies have already seen what can happen when they embrace the creeds of wokeism with the expectation that consumers won’t notice. Bud Light, Target, Disney, and several other major companies have suffered massive blows to their public image and revenue after they publicly toed the line of left-wing extremism.

Though many liberal corporate actors often go out of their way to ignore it, the fact remains that Americans are paying attention—and when their values are under assault, they will fight back and ensure that woke companies pay the price.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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Michael
Michael
11 months ago

I haven’t shopped Target since the bathroom debacle. They lost over 2 billion in projected sales the following quarter. Their response to that was to pull Bibles from store shelves. In other words, they doubled down on their stupidity and as a result lost even more. These people, the media included, seem oblivious to their foibles. Our answer should be to reply with our wallets. Keep the left wing moguls out of our pockets.

SusanP
SusanP
11 months ago

Pocket can be totally ignored unless a person chooses to use it. I have used the Firefox browser for years. Pocket is an icon in the tool bar that I have totally ignored. Learning here that they recommend far left liberal articles is just more reason for me to ignore it. I did not even know they made recommendations. I thought it was just a place to hold something I wanted to read later and never used.

PaulE
PaulE
11 months ago

Pocket, like AXIOS and other so-called news aggregators on the left, of course only promote news stories and opinions that further the narative and agenda of the left they are very much a part of. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

As for the left constantly blaming everything on algorithms, that too is another farse to deflect attention way from the left when they have been caught doing somehting intentional. Algorithms are not something magic or acting independent ly of what they are designed to do. An algorithm is nothing more than a program created by programmers that scans for data, in this case news stories on the web, and then promotes stories that align with the values their creator have defined are “good” (meaning that meet the criteria the programmers have assigned as good or positive values) and demote or exclude any story that contains anything critical or negative of those same assigned “good values”. Algorithms simply reflect what the programmers of these companies, which take their direction from company management just like everyone else, want done. So when a company says “It’s the algorithms fault, they are really admitting they got caught promoting something the public finds offensive in some way.

Martha
Martha
11 months ago

This is so true. I can’t even stand to read those news items anymore. I turned off the Apple notifications for their news items too. Extreme leftist articles.
I tried to read this article while browsing on Firefox, and I got a message about a critical error. So I read it on Chrome. Later, though, I was able to pull it up on Firefox. I just thought it odd that it was only that one article that threw a critical error message.

Ollie Octopus
Ollie Octopus
11 months ago

I never heard of Pocket, but then I’m not a brainwashed kid.

Dale
Dale
11 months ago

It became slowly clear the Pocket ‘reports’ here were a bit biased. To give them more ‘credibility’ they were mixed with other, more accurate messages. Seems as if I can do without this. To further slam the door on Mozilla, I’ve changed to a browser which is quite a bit better – AVG.

John
John
11 months ago

Firefox,m gone!

Centurion
Centurion
11 months ago

A long time awhile back I started to notice a leftist bias in Firefox. Then I found out The Mozilla Corporation is headquartered in San Francisco, California. That did it for me. I switched to Brave.

Xeri
Xeri
11 months ago

It’s one thing for a corp or person to take unpopular or pernicious positions.
Bud Lite’s egregious crime was 30 years of promoting basic American qualities like hard work, determination, friendship, sports and outdoors, etc then turning a 180 and forcing the opposite positions on true blue Americans
what wife returns to her cheating, lying husband after he defrauda her?

Shawn
Shawn
11 months ago

Pocket has some interesting variety but as documented here, the overwhelming bet is insufferable—like being at a book party jointly hosted by PBS, NPR, the Sierra Club, and the NEA.

deb
deb
11 months ago

When pocket first came out I signed up to see what it was about. It only took me a few minutes to unload it. Clearly, it was woke bs. I was very disappointed to see that the browser I like the best was supporting a bunch of crap propaganda. I still use the browser but if I had to pay for it I would go with something else.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
11 months ago

Please watch It is time to restore 1st Amendment rights to real people last page on my sway:
sway.office.com/8EyjfBHJ9ca4s3gS?ref=Link&loc=play” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow ugc”>https://sway.office.com/8EyjfBHJ9ca4s3gS?ref=Link&loc=play

Eric Arthur
Eric Arthur
11 months ago

actually, I’ve found RealClear Politics the most efficient bubble-burster as they juxtapose conservative and liberal viewpoints freely

Eric Arthur
Eric Arthur
11 months ago

the easy solutions are conservative browsers like Brave and Tusk – and certainly RealClear Politics, whatfinger, rEvolver, & Bongino aggregators even with the occasional paywall. There’s not enough time in the day to waste on lib drivel.

JoanOMGne 4 justice
JoanOMGne 4 justice
11 months ago

I do not know much about pockets or foxfire? However, I’ use caution ⚠️ relating to accessing complicit media sources ! Especially those sources that are “woke” and or left radical oriented. !

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