NBC News is now being targeting for influencing Google to punish two conservative news sites, The Federalist and ZeroHedge, by pulling their Google ad networks due to”pushing unsubstantiated claims” about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Google clarified, claiming that The Federalist “was never demonetized,” and adding, “We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section.”
“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,” a Google spokesperson initially told NBC News. NBC, however, did not link to the “derogatory content” from The Federalist or ZeroHedge.
NBC News’ inquiry prompted Google’s actions initially, citing a leftist watch group, identifying “hate.”
“Google’s ban of the websites comes after the company was notified of research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British nonprofit that combats online hate and misinformation. They found that 10 U.S-based websites have published what they say are racist articles about the protests, and projected that the websites would make millions of dollars through Google Ads,” NBC News reported.
The report continued, “Google blocked The Federalist from its advertising platform after the NBC News Verification Unit brought the project to its attention. ZeroHedge had already been demonetized prior to NBC News’ inquiry, Google said.”
On Wednesday morning, Google said The Federalist had removed the comments that violated its policies and that it would take no further action.
NBC News’ Adele-Momoko Fraser, the London-based journalist behind the report, appeared to celebrate the results of her reporting by thanking the two groups with the Black Lives Matters hashtag “for their hard work and collaboration.”
It was removed and re-posted without the BLM hashtag.
“NBC is not a news outlet, it’s an activist outlet,” Ben Shapiro said during his show this morning, likening the NBC actions to the film Nightcrawler, staging crimes to report on the crime.
“Working to get websites you don’t like demonetized by Google isn’t journalism, it’s activism,” CNN editor Kyle Feldscher tweeted.
“If you have a problem with ZeroHedge and/or The Federalist, write an article about what they got wrong and why that matters. That would be an act of journalism. Instead, NBC mounts a pressure campaign on Google to suffocate opinions NBC doesn’t like,” Daily Caller editor Vince Coglianese reacted.
Tim Pool covered it on his site as well.
“We found that lots of those companies are inadvertently funding through their advertising content that is outright racist in defense of white supremacism and contains conspiracy theories about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement,” Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate said.
Caroline McCarthy, vice president of communications and content at TrueX, a digital advertising company, said companies need to hold Google and other digital advertising companies responsible for where their ads run.
“The reality is that they [brands] have to start by asking questions,” McCarthy said “They have to say, what is my brand content going to be running against? And if the other person on the other side of the conversation can’t give them a straight answer, then that’s a problem.”
“The pressure on the tech companies is only going to come from dollars actually, literally getting pulled,” she said.
“At a time when conservatives (and Democrats!) are scheming to take away Big Tech’s liability protection, it does not strike me as tactically sound for Google to argue that The Federalist should be held responsible for its comments section,” Reason senior editor Robby Soave said.