THE NEUTRAL ZONE

NBC reported that Google would be demonetizing ZeroHedge, a publication the company described as “a far-right website that often traffics in conspiracy theories.” Google stated that the site was demonetized due to policy violations regarding comments on their recent article about Black Lives Matter protests.

Conservative site The Federalist was also reportedly demonetized, but Google has since clarified that the site would receive a warning regarding its comment section. As outlined by TechCrunch, Google spokesperson Christa Muldoon stated, “It sounds like The Federalist was issued a warning that it will face demonetization if it doesn’t remove the content while ZeroHedge was warned previously, did not fix the policy violations and was demonetized.”

 Many prominent conservatives have taken issue with Google’s decision to clamp down on The Federalist.  Tucker Carlson highlighted Google’s dominance within the online advertisement space, stating that “nobody has more unchecked power than Google does,” and calling for Section 230 to be repealed. On Twitter, National Review journalist Kyle Smith alleged that British left-wing activists and NBC coerced Google into demonetizing The Federalist.

TechDirt countered those points, arguing that conservative voices weren’t being targeted by big tech companies because the same type of demonetization happened to their publication in 2018. In a story that TechDirt ran about how the push for big tech to moderate content efficiently would ultimately be disappointing, Google pulled AdSense from the post, citing it as “dangerous or derogatory.”

Google Says Our Article On The Difficulty Of Good Content Moderation Is… Dangerous” Image: TechDirt

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Google kicked ZeroHedge off its ad platform, put The Federalist on notice for racist protest content – TechCrunch – 6/16/2020
Google is booting online far-right website The Federalist from its ad platform for publishing content about the ongoing protests against police brutality that violated the company’s rules around content that promotes hate. […] Update: Google is either walking back its own statement or disputing the report from NBC News. […] “It sounds like The Federalist was issued a warning that it will face demonetization if it doesn’t remove the content while ZeroHedge was warned previously, did not fix the policy violations and was demonetized.”

British activists behind NBC News report pushing Google to demonetize The Federalist – Fox News – 6/17/2020
NBC News cited “research” from a British non-profit called the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). According to its website, CCDH “seeks to disrupt the architecture of online hate and misinformation.” […] The organization was founded in December 2017 by Imran Ahmed, a self-described expert in “online malignant behavior” who previously served as a former adviser to Labour member of Parliament.

Google Ads bans Zero Hedge for racist content, but reverses decision on The Federalist – The Verge – 6/16/2020
But a Google spokesperson told The Verge that the outlets weren’t being demonetized because of these articles, and The Federalist wasn’t formally banned yet. Instead, they sites were supposedly being blocked because of endemic racist commenters across their articles. Google says Zero Hedge was warned last week and failed to address the problem.

Cruz Unloads On Google Over Debacle In Failed NBC News Hit On The Federalist, Gets AG Barr Involved – The Daily Wire – 6/17/2020
Far-left NBC News Verification Center reporter Adele-Momoko Fraser published a report claiming: “The Federalist, will no longer be able to generate revenue from any advertisements served by Google Ads. A Google spokesperson said in an email that it took action after determining the websites violated its policies on content related to race.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Josh Hawley on Twitter, 6/17/2020: My new legislation would empower ⁦@FDRLST⁩ to sue ⁦@Google⁩ for unequal treatment & violation of Google’s own terms of service. It’s time to require the monopoly tech companies to act with good faith, not bad faith censorship

Jordan Zakarin on Twitter, 6/17/2020: The Federalist is a harmful rag run by abject racists so I shed no tears for them. But I also think it’s a problem that just two mega-companies (Google and Facebook!) dominate the ad market to the point that they can determine the fate of just about any outlet!

Andrew Egger on Twitter, 6/17/2020: There were a ton of problems with that story; I’m still not sure we know exactly what happened. If the threat was to demonetize the whole site I agree, but if it’s just a question of yanking ad services on a specific page that’s far less of an issue.

Timothy Burke on Twitter, 6/17/2020: Google: “stop being racist or we will choose to stop doing business with you” The Federalist: “WE’RE BEING TARGETED”

Mike Masnick on Twitter, 6/16/2020: I wrote up a quick thing on how what happened to the Federalist is not an example of “bias” against conservative sites, and appears to be the identical situation as to what happened to us. It’s still a silly policy by Google, but…

Stephen L. Miller on Twitter, 6/17/2020: Jesse, the NBC reporter thanked 2 activist groups for helping her notify Google with a report. The groups are still taking victory laps this morning. This wasn’t just some random glitch. It was NBC targeting Federalist.

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