How To Make A Solid, Customized News Stream That Isn’t Manipulated By Silicon Valley

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readOct 4, 2018

It can be hard to find a supply of information about what’s going on in the world that isn’t being manipulated by power. You find a news outlet you like, then you start to notice them hiring reporters who regurgitate the establishment line on WikiLeaks or Syria. You shift to trying to get your news from the voices you follow on social media, and you find that the good stuff gets (A) diluted by dopey social media drama and (B) actively hidden from your view by shadowbans and algorithmic shenanigans. Googling the news is the same as turning on CNN since they hide all voices which share unauthorized narratives, and alternative search engines often aren’t much better, so what’s a truth seeker to do?

I’ve been at this job for a while, and there’s a basic trick I’ve been using for a long time to stay informed about what’s going on in the world enough to write about it lucidly. Anywhere information is centralized you’ll find the fingers of power doing everything possible to manipulate it, so rather than relying on centralized outlets or Silicon Valley algorithms to find out what’s going on, I use a private Twitter list which I’ve filled with the handles of individual journalists and commentators I’ve come to trust as reliable sources of information and insight. It bypasses shadowbans and algorithms, it’s the first thing I check online every morning, and it’s the most frequently used bookmark on my browser.

I’ve found Twitter ideal because most journalists and commentators have a presence there for sharing their ideas and material. To make a private list there you’ll need a Twitter account, but you don’t ever need to post anything or participate in Jack Dorsey’s endless ego masturbation orgy to any extent if that’s not your thing; you’re only using it for news here. If you already use Twitter, a customized news list is a perfect way to cut out all the gibberish from the accounts you’ve followed over the years who don’t provide consistently useful information on what’s going on in the world. Here’s how:

After you’ve got a Twitter account, use the search bar to find the individual voices you trust. I’ll use WikiLeaks and a desktop browser as an example. Go to their page and click the three vertical dots on the far right near the top:

Select “Add or remove from lists” from the menu that pops up:

If you don’t already have any lists on your account a box will pop up that looks like this:

Click “Create a list” and name it whatever you want. I’ll call it “news”, and since I’m just making a custom news stream for my own personal use I’m going to set my list to private in the options. I don’t need a description for the list since it’s for my use only.

I check the box to include WikiLeaks in my list, close the box, and now I’ve got a list with one member in it which I can access by selecting “lists” from the Twitter menu. The little lock symbol indicates that it’s a private list. I can remove WikiLeaks from my list at any time by going to their page, selecting “Add or remove from lists” again, and simply un-checking the blue box.

Repeat this with as many trusted Twitter accounts as you like, adding them to your “news” list one by one as you find more voices you respect. Add your list to the bookmarks on your browser, and hit that bookmark whenever you want updates on what’s going on in the world.

I’ve got 71 accounts in my list now, and when I click on it I get a straightforward, chronologically ordered feed of only sharers of quality information:

Your mileage may vary, but I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a good technique for taking the confusing chaotic white noise of information and streamlining it into something reliable and informative. Decentralization is where the real revolution is at, since wherever things are centralized you’ll find the fingers of power working to herd us all into supporting the oppression machine. Custom, decentralized information feeds are a good way to keep those fingers out of your mind and help you stay informed.


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