Google bans ZeroHedge from its ad platform, threatens The Federalist over BLM protest coverage

by Adam Ford
Jun 16th, 2020 4:28 pm

Update 6/17 5:26 a.m.: The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis has responded to the attempted blacklisting on Tucker Carlson Tonight, and ZeroHedge responded to their ban in a post on their website [warning: language].

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Update 5:14 p.m.: The Google Twitter account now says that The Federalist was never demonetized, despite a Google spokesperson being quoted in the NBC News article as saying they were:

It is unclear whether the Google spokesperson misspoke, the NBC reporter misreported, the Google Twitter account is misinformed, or some other communication breakdown occurred.

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Update 5:09 p.m.: NBC News updated their report after this article was published, and two hours after their report was originally published, and added:

Google notified ZeroHedge of the policy violations last week and banned the website from its ad platform.

Google notified The Federalist on Tuesday of policy violations. It now has three days to remove the violations before the ban goes into effect.

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Google has banned two popular conservative sites, The Federalist and ZeroHedge, from generating revenue via its near-monopolistic advertising platform after NBC News complained about the sites' coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests and the tech giant subsequently found them to be in violation of "policies on content related to race."

NBC News reports that its own "NBC News Verification Unit" referred Google to complaints about the two sites lodged by the "Center for Countering Digital Hate," leading to the blacklists. NBC News then reported the bans.

The CCDH's CEO, Imran Ahmed, said The Federalist and ZeroHedge contain "content that is outright racist in defense of white supremacism and contains conspiracy theories about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement."

NBC does not link to any specific articles or content deemed racist or misleading. It did give this brief and vague explanation:

ZeroHedge and The Federalist have become well known in recent years for publishing far-right articles on a variety of subjects. On the recent protests, ZeroHedge published an article claiming that protests were fake, while The Federalist published an article claiming the media had been lying about looting and violence during the protests, which were both included in the report sent to Google.

NBC also quoted a spokesperson from Google, who said:

"We have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on and explicitly prohibit derogatory content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race from monetizing. When a page or site violates our policies, we take action. In this case, we've removed both sites' ability to monetize with Google."

The NBC News report mentions that Google "takes into account all of the content on a website including comments to determine if a policy violation has occurred."

Imran Ahmed expressed his "delight" about the bans, calling it his organizations "biggest win yet":

The organization took a victory lap on Twitter Tuesday and publicly called on Google to ban eight other websites: Breitbart, American Greatness, American Thinker, Big League Politics, WND, Washington Standard, Gateway Pundit, and Moonbattery.