Brave should clarify the reason of RT (Russia Today) removal from News Feed Sources

Today after the whole DDG censorship fiasco, someone asked on twitter to Brendan Eich (I don’t have twitter so I couldn’t do it before) why RT was removed.

Mr. Eich replied:

I think is important you clarify that kind of stuff somewhere to avoid ‘rumors’, I say it because that’s what happened to me and as you can see the person from that twitter account asking Brendan.

Last week I was having trouble manually adding RT in my News Feed, I remembered I saw RT so I was confused. Looking around I searched for RT on Github’s Brave organization and got this https://github.com/brave/news-aggregator/pull/9

Since it happened by the time Google and Microsoft were talking about doing their censorship, it was pretty obvious anyone like me would think you surrendered to Big Tech mandates or someone at Brave was doing some activism that would eventually end up like DDG, one small thing lead to another until today DDG CEO was talking and announcing full censorship.

The pull doesn’t even explain it, so I believe you should communicate better when you take those decisions. People can’t read minds.
I was told by Sampson, It just happened because coincidence, but as you can see, there was a reason, not censorship but still a crappy one.

I don’t even know if RT will be put back as a news feed or not, which doesn’t matter much since we can add our own now.
But the problem is Brave should fight these absurd governments tell you how to run the Browser.

Just think about my case, trying to add RT feed manually failed and then find out it was removed from the sources Brave had, it was suspicious.

Now I know it was just to avoid trouble, doesn’t make me happy, but it is one of those things you should start communicating better. I mean, I didn’t care much about the ‘affiliate link’ issue that happened like 2 years ago, and it was more explained than deleting a source affiliated to Russian government because everyone seems to be going against Russia and Russians, discriminating and just believing what western mainstream media tells them, even if they are videogames and fake videos and western propaganda.

I am still happy to know Brendan Clarified that and I caught it on twitter, but I was pretty upset about the RT removal since everything indicated that it was censorship.

Of course I hope RT will added soon back eventually, and also have available sources like Sputnik and many more out of the box. Not because manually adding is annoying (it can be) but because a fight against Big tech and corrupt governments and silicon valley imposing their rules even on your Browser.

Thank you and have a good day.

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RT was a Russian based news company. They shut down their news service by dismissing their staff, closed US based offices, etc. This wasn’t a Brave Browser issue.

@MamaG

You are wrong. Russia IS (not was) a news outlet funded by the Russian government, they work in many countries and have different languages, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, English, French and German.

So it doesn’t matter what happened in “RT America”, RT.com is and will be working regardless if they have an office or whatever in USA, even RT America is still working in Youtube, so it doesn’t matter if they are not Americans narrating the news, it will still work.
The only ones censoring and not showing RT (and Sputnik and others) are Google and Microsoft, from their news sources and Twitter and Youtube depending on your IP.
Like if I se Brave TOR and try to access RT twitter account, since it has an European IP, I will not be allowed to see anything because “has been withheld in Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Germany, Greece, Romania, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark, Lithuania, Croatia, Estonia, Cyprus, France, Spain, Belgium in response to a legal demand.”

But nobody (only your carrier might) is not stopping you from going to RT website and read their news, or in the case of Twitter, you could use a Nitter instance with a US IP or something, they can see RT stuff with no problems.

I mean, did you even read my reply? I even linked how Brendan Eich explained the reason of the removal.
Again:

Brave removed it from the News Source Github repository which can be easily found by searching Github Search organization feature (which is what I did and how I found out about it)
So, yes, it is a Brave Browser AND company issue because it is a direct conflict with what they have promised about being anticensorship and battling Big Tech and how they want to control what you read and how you think.

Many people thought Brave removed it for doing censorship against RT and/or following what Big Tech and Silicon Valley were saying about banning RT like all of them did, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, etc.

I mean, how many times do you think Brendan Eich was talked about censorship and how Big Tech shouldn’t tell you how to think or what you can read?
Many times, reason why they made Brave Search, and reason why the clarification and explanation like the one Brendan did on Twitter is enough for people not to assume Brave was doing censorship.

So that’s why clarifying the issue on Why RT got removed is important, so people don’t think what seemed obvious.

Of course even Brendan said it in my post “it can be added manually” because RT still works, even if you think closing American offices and firing the American RT staff will somehow kill RT, that’s not how it works.

So yes, the point of my post still stands because while I don’t think it will be added back because ‘it can be added manually’, communicating with Brave users is important.
I actually think Brave should still fight the governments and system and anyone who say “you will get in trouble if you don’t remove RT” so instead of removing RT, they should add Sputnik and TASS and their different available languages.

But taking Brendan Eich’s words seems like RT source was removed because ‘avoiding trouble’, and not exactly for doing censorship, which is still a little fair excuse why. But it is not because it doesn’t work like you imply.

So yes, Brave should communicate such things becuase:

  1. It can be seen as censorship, which is exactly what the person asked Brendan why it got removed. (the conversation was about how Brave Search didn’t censor). I mean it is not ridiculous to think once you do ONE censorship action it will create a precedent which means they can do it again and again and turn into another ‘don’t be evil’ Google.

  2. Because communication about these kind of stuff is important.

  3. Because some people were using it and then it wasn’t there anymore, which causes confusion.

‘RT America’ has nothing to do with it anyway.

I mean, you just proved my point, you think it was done because “it doesn’t work and RT fired and closed so that’s why”, and that was not the reason, so if Brave communicated properly, everyone, including you and others thinking it was because of censorship would know the reality and why RT was removed.

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Come on, Emi, you must be a Russian agent. :slight_smile: Agreed, a better explanation would be great and there is no doubt that what Eich says in his Tweet (don’t have Twitter myself, either) makes sense. It’s censorship galore all over the world right now and censorship is getting way out of control, especially in supposed free speech countries. Punishment will be passed out if you don’t follow the power structure directives, which is scary that people don’t see this. I personally couldn’t care less about RT, but am an absolutist pretty much on censorship, like I think Brave is. As Niemoller said, “first they came for…”. Good day.

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Users can opt to add RT (or any other source that publishes a feed) to Brave News by adding the RSS feed URL in the “Your Sources” section of Brave News’ settings. Given the sanctions announced by the EU and individually by European countries (where we have a lot of Brave News users), we felt this was the best way for our user-first platform to proceed without censoring content, or otherwise preventing users from adding their preferred feeds.

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How does the sanctions of EU affect Brave isn’t a private company? You guys would face criminal consequences or shut down if didn’t adopt that? I’m against all forms of censorship and have to say I’m really disapointed on Brave and DuckDuckGo for adopting this.

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@Emi and @Onyx13 and @eduardovi

You may want to read links and all below.

It’s a wide-ranging sanction on the distribution of RT and Sputnik and their subsidiaries* — covering not just traditional broadcast channels (like satellite TV) but also online platforms and apps, as we reported earlier.

This also means internet providers are expected to take proactive steps to ensure content from RT and Sputnik does not appear on their platforms, EU official said.
So, basically, just banning official channels may not be enough — if other users/accounts upload sanctioned content, social media and other tech platforms may be expected to take further measures to prevent the ban from being circumvented.

In addition to social media networks and video streaming services, EU officials said that in principle ISPs are also covered.

  • Restrictions on state-owned media outlets. The EU prohibits operators from broadcasting, enabling, or facilitating the broadcast of the following media outlets and prohibits any broadcasting license or authorization and distribution agreement with these entities: RT – Russia Today English; RT– Russia Today UK; RT – Russia Today Germany; RT – Russia Today France; RT – Russia Today Spanish; and Sputnik.

And yes, countries could come after them or then prohibit access to sites or browsers in those regions. Right now, RT is actually fighting against it. You can read some at https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2022/03/09/rt-takes-eu-ban-to-europes-top-court/

But if places aren’t careful, there’s plenty of fines and other issues. Keep in mind legalities always matter and if they don’t do the best they can within that, they get shut down.

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Using a New Private Window, and with javascripts blocked, and cross-site cookies blocked, I had Brave Browser go to:

https://www.rt.com/news/

The web page displays well. But I selected an article link:

Screen Shot 2022-03-11 at 6.35.15 PM

and chose to open that in a New Private Window (and another attempt, in a New Tab) . . . and the result:

Wikipedia info about DDOS-GUARD:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDoS-Guard

Incredible material. A “must read”, IMHO, before using any of the links at RT.com/news.

Screen Shot 2022-03-11 at 6.49.51 PM

Among scripts blocked: Google Tag Manager

Note that I am not affiliated with any side and strictly speaking from a non-partisan 3rd party side.

1.) I get it that brave needs to remove RT from the default news feed customization settings bar due to the recent EU law/ruling. The current workaround is to add the missing RT by RSS feed by xml/atom file.

2.) The thing I do not get it, why are the laws being applied to non-EU citizens by Brave Software Inc… So brave browsers in EU should not have RT by default (due to the law) but shouldn’t non-EU brave browsers still list RT. I do not get it. If GDPR is not enforceable on non-EU citizen, why is this specific law getting enforced on non-EU citizens.

3.) IMO, brave should add RT again or keep as it was before for non-EU brave browsers.

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I understand why Brave Team removed RT, well, now I do, after reading Brendan Eich’s Tweet.
When Sampson said Brave doesn’t censor, I said “well, I have to trust your word”, but I was still skeptical because that didn’t explain why the removal was made at the same time everyone else was doing it.

The problem is how the commit didn’t explain the reason, I just saw Google and Microsoft and everyone else banning RT and Sputnik and then puff, I see Brave doing the same.

What was I suppose to think? coincidence? and as you can see I wasn’t the only one who saw it, that’s the reason Brendan got asked about it. So, my point to avoid these kind of confusion and rumors, the best way is to communicate with users and tell us users why you would take such a radical move like Big Tech was doing.

I mean, ‘To avoid trouble’ is not even a good reason, but I accepted it.
Because, what can I do?
Maybe you want to avoid Google or Apple removing Brave mobile from their stores because how terrible is for an app to include RT as a news source. maybe?

@steeven and yes, I know RSS Feed can be manually added. that’s how I found it out that RT was removed in the first place, because it wasn’t working on my side (probably because of Server issues), but I also was confused why I had to add RT if I remembered it was there before, and when I searched to see IF it was removed, then I saw it was removed around the time Google and Microsoft did, two weeks ago.
So, it was not hard to think maybe Brave was flipflopping in their promises to be against censorship and against Big tech and Silicon Valley.

Of course, since you didn’t explain or communicate with users your decision, it was hard to know why Brave was doing it, so censorship would be the first reason why RT was removed in anyone’s head.

I tweet or a blog post would have been enough, communication is IMPORTANT. That’s why I made this post.

I still believe you Brave should fight the system and not bend the knee and obey to whatever some clowns from any government say.

And don’t get me wrong here, but…

…if you can’t keep RT… how can users trust that you will not listen to governments when they say “give us your user’s data”??

These digital internet wars have to be fought and won doesn’t matter the cost, I mean, it doesn’t mean much for Brendan to speak nicely about Brave and Brave search and anti-big tech and censorship that when you have something to fight for, you don’t do much and Brave just obeys the orders like everyone else to ‘avoid trouble’, but then as users we shall question: what else will you do to avoid trouble tomorrow and any other day in the next years?

I think that In this case the issue is not really anymore about RT per se, but about the real reason why RT got removed the issue, what the removal of RT means in the big picture, it is not just a news source anymore, it is more than that, especially when it means you had to obey than to fight because it could have some costs that you weren’t willing to take.

But even with me saying all that about the removal and while I am still not happy about the decision, all I was requesting is a real explanation for the users why R|T got really removed, to the people who might see it and say “is Brave censoring now? I heard they removed RT”.
Blame Europe if you must, make yourself a victim, you might seem weak saying “to avoid trouble” and people will still question the decision, but at least it is better to do something and communicate with people than stay quiet and just let people assume things and think you did it because you are not different than Big Tech.

I still believe you should fight and take consequences but show as a company you really care and mean what you say when you talk about fighting censorship and governments and big tech and silicon valley and google and Microsoft and mainstream media and anyone else who seem to be manipulating and brainwashing everyone who uses the internet, shaping the world in their ways like lemmings and not independent individuals who are able to think and reason and take their own decisions.

But like I said, at least a message to explain and inform users about how you want to avoid issues would have been better than silence and ‘let users think whatever they want about our decision’

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I think the difference here is that Brave isn’t collecting User data. This is part of why they aren’t doing KYC/AML themselves and handling the BAT. This is passed on to Uphold/Gemini to have to do. And, sadly, those places are sending everything they get in terms of our BAT earnings and all over to the government. But at least that’s all they get is knowing who is getting BAT and how much.

Everything else is encrypted and not being stored or tracked anywhere. So what user data could they share?

It would be nice if the world could do that. But all that would happen in the end is that the businesses would be shut down, they’d be arrested/fined, etc. That said, it’s important to realize that they didn’t completely back down. By giving users the ability to add to RSS and all, they still made it possible for users to access the information instead of completely censoring it as others are doing. They just had to add an extra layer to it so they could protect themselves and say it’s essentially beyond their control.

And

These digital internet wars have to be fought and won doesn’t matter the cost, I mean, it doesn’t mean much for Brendan to speak nicely about Brave and Brave search and anti-big tech and censorship that when you have something to fight for, you don’t do much and Brave just obeys the orders like everyone else to ‘ avoid trouble ’, but then as users we shall question: what else will you do to avoid trouble tomorrow and any other day in the next years?

Yeah, it happens. Let’s face it, Brave is in a long war to change how everything is done. Sometimes they will have to retreat from a certain battle so they can live to fight another day. There will also be times that they may horribly lose some of these fights. But what’s important is how we band together to make sure that the future we want with things like Brave might come through in the end.

Yeah, Brave in general needs to make a LOT of improvements in their communication. There’s a lot of silence where it would be beneficial to advise users of issues or future plans. Yet I have been using Brave for a few years now and have liked everything they are doing. Sometimes their silence is for good cause. I mean, if they are being told they need to censor things and they create a backdoor for us to use, the last thing they’d want to do is loudly announce it to the world. Otherwise those same places demanding censorship would ask those backdoors to be sealed away as well.

Wars are long and often done in secret. I mean, would you rather run at your enemy in an open field holding just a sword or would you like to sneak in on them in the dark of night with advanced weaponry that will let you go undetected? Is it better to tell your enemy your plan or to move without revealing too much? That’s kind of the interesting types of scenarios we’re dealing with here.

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@Saoiray
See, that’s the problem, everything you said was “well, we have to be weak and don’t do what we promise and said we would do”

I am not saying your comment doesn’t make sense, it does, but that’s the way You and Brave team make it seem.
And in the end it all ends to “it doesn’t matter because you can manually add it, so don’t mind we removed it because we wanted to avoid trouble”

I have seen so many things I disagree with Brave, this is not the first time, but always keep ignoring it because well, what can I do? what other browser can I use that doesn’t have a weird company behind it that support worst things?

But look at this, this one simple example: https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/issues/19357
Read it, pretty much the term whitelist was changed because GOOGLE says so, Google said, jump and someone at Brave said “how high? oh yeah, I am a brainwashed person who believes you are right Google saying that’s a exclusionary term, so I will do what you say master”.

I mean being linked to the Google page to justify the change is pretty much the red flag, even if it is literally just a word nobody will even see, but oh no… it is there so we MUST change it because Big Tech masters of the internet said it. They are making the term ‘white’ a bad thing, even it has nothing to do with anything they imply, but that’s what they have done for many decades manipulate the language at its core and change things to accomplish the great brainwashing and if you don’t join or agree you are the problem.

I mean, that was an example how Google had influenced in Brave decisions.
Now let’s talk about ‘guburment’.
Brendan Eich pretty much admitted in this tweets when people were questioning why RT was removed and he said it, not me:

if you read his Goggles tweet, he pretty much says that it will not fix anything at all and will actually create more censorship for some countries if their government wants to.

So, what’s the difference? nothing. Brave is not any better than the ones who do it because they want to wave their virtue signaling and hypocrisy flag about the whole Ukraine-Russia issue, because the end result is the same!

But I guess everything is fixed with saying “oh you can add it now as a RSS feed in Brave news”. I mean, RT is banned from youtube and cable companies and all so I guess I shouldn’t complain because I can go to Odysee or VK and get RT in my tv with a chromecast, and I have alternatives. So I should shut up and move on!

Of course this thread I opened wasn’t even about the removal, but more about explaining to users why.
But the truth is this flipflopping is annoying, so I couldn’t stick to not saying what I really think about the removal.

I might even find a new browser, because I really I don’t even believe in ‘privacy’ marketing scheme used by companies and I don’t use crypto scam stuff, so my reasons to stay with Brave had to do more with Brendan and how other companies seemed worst.
I mean about Features it’s hard to justify using Brave because most of the time those are features I won’t even use like wallets and ipfs and crypto stuff and fingerprinting stuff and privacy myth.
So I was already on the fence because when a web browser barely focuses on the WEB part, it is hard to keep positive about it.

But I am tired of so much BS and this RT issue, while it seems insignificant because it is, it really has opened the eyes to many things about Brave.

Of course that only applies to me because, people might see me in many ways, stubborn, extremist, they say so many things about me in that regard, but one thing they can’t tag me as is as being a flip flopper.
And that’s how I see Brave now when we are told “to avoid trouble” as an excuse to censor content.

Someone once wrote:

I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!

and that’s exactly my position about most things. If Brave (CEO and others) literally have admitted that it doesn’t matter the RT removal because avoiding problem is easier, and it doesn’t matter because we can add it manually. well, with a weak stance like that I can’t trust them even if I have used Brave since the beginning.

I know it is not your fault, but I wanted to send a last message because I am tired of all these weakness around. People who one day do something and then the next day are making excuses why they are ‘sorry’, people who promise something and then the first bump in the road and they change course.
So, of course it is not your fault, but I guess there is no going to be too much communication about RT and nothing will change, there will come the next time where Brave is going to bend the knee and then the other and other and other, I saw before and ignored it, but I am not positive about Brave search (goggles and polluting the searches with Google), Brave browser browser with all the things I already disagreed or didn’t care about it, and about anything else.
I guess the only positive thing about Brave is manifestv3, but to be honest, that will not change much anything because most extensions will go manifestv3 anyway, because of Chrome, so it won’t even matter manifestv2 in the long run.

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Just one thing to point out, I’m not affiliated with Brave. I’m just a normal user who has spent a lot of time helping people. So yeah, they acknowledged that and gave the badge which lets people say Community Ninja. But that doesn’t mean anything I say is approved by them or represents their stance. I am myself, that’s all.

Honestly, there’s a lot to address on the things you’ve said. You make some excellent points but then there’s others that I believe might be misunderstandings. Think back to things like World War II and the Holocaust. People who openly spoke up to the government were killed or severely punished. What you had was people who would outwardly pretend they were complying while hiding people in their homes and try to help them escape to safety.

What I see in your comments is that you’re upset because you think businesses should fight against government. According to you, they should boast and be as loud as they can while refusing to comply with all laws and regulations. But let me ask you in all sincerity, what do you think would happen if they did that?

And like the Holocaust example, even though it’s an extreme comparison, Brave is outwardly “complying.” But they are also giving the option to better access. So if we look at things like the quote you gave about Goggles. Did you notice how they said Brave’s database won’t change? Governments with different rules and regulations can try to re-sort (censor) it for that area, but then all the user has to do is use VPN (which Brave is working on making available on all devices) to circumvent that. Then you wouldn’t be FORCED into that censorship.

Don’t forget, societies all around the world have passed on the wisdom in how to properly fight and the danger of sticking out.

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

Tall trees catch loads of wind"

The wheat that’s growing above the mowing line gets cut down

A cornered stone meets the mason’s chisel

I think a lot of times we also confuse the American saying of The squeaky wheel gets the grease to mean something that it doesn’t.

Each one is saying when you stand apart, you’ll be handled. I mean, even with the wheel and the grease. It’s not saying the problem is resolved, only that they took the action needed to silence you. So your noise will get action, but not necessarily the action you want.

Bravesearch indexes the Sputnik and RT France websites and this is a good thing. The other search engines have bowed to the demands of the states for whom the plurality of information represents a danger (but for whom?).
Critical thinking cannot be done without contradiction.
Today it is censorship against Russia and its allies, tomorrow it will be whose turn?
Who can claim the right to determine what is right and what is not?
Isn’t this a question of the dictatorship of thought?

Isn’t the news feed a third party thing, not a native brave thing?

You can still view RT at will.

I’m in the USA, have AT&T (phone company) for an ISP, and not using a VPN for this screenshot. So no sneakiness required for me to see that.

See also: Brave browser can not open certain web sites - #2 by Passenger

Is there a update on this, as my solution seems pretty reasonable? Brave should clarify the reason of RT (Russia Today) removal from News Feed Sources - #9 by chh_68

As far as I know, brave knows from which country/region a browser is being downloaded via IP. That is how Bitflyer is available for Japanese users. The default langauge as per my understanding is also set based on IP.

Or when Brave news is turned On for the first time, it surely connects to a brave domain to get the material. At that time, it can just see if the IP requesting the data is from Eu or non-eu and send the relevant data.

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