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.
As NBC News reports, Google determined that both The Federalist and right-wing website ZeroHedge violated its policy against monetizing content that “promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race.”
“When a page or site violates our policies, we take action. In this case, we’ve removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to NBC.
Update: Google is either walking back its own statement or disputing the report from NBC News. In a statement to TechCrunch provided by Google spokesperson Christa Muldoon, the company said the following:
“To be clear, The Federalist is not currently demonetized. We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.”
Google also said that the issues with both sites arose from content in their comments sections violating its policies against “dangerous and derogatory” content.
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.
The Federalist was never demonetized.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) June 16, 2020
The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British watchdog group, recently sent a report to Google flagging racist content focused on the ongoing protests across a number of U.S. sites, including The Federalist and ZeroHedge. The report also noted that such sites stood to make millions through Google’s ad platform.
As NBC News reported, ZeroHedge published stories claiming that the protests were actually fake while The Federalist pushed a narrative that the media was lying about what happened at the public demonstrations. On its site, The Federalist “[keeps] tally of those fired from lack of allegiance to the new woke overlords,” referencing fallout from the current movement for racial justice. We’ve reached out to Google for more information on which specific articles prompted the action.
Both sites have come under scrutiny by tech giants before. In March, Twitter removed a tweet from The Federalist recommending “controlled voluntary infection” as a solution to COVID-19. The tweet violated the company’s rules banning content that puts people at higher risk of spreading the virus.
Twitter suspended ZeroHedge from its platform in February after the account published the personal details of a Chinese scientist it claimed was linked to a coronavirus conspiracy. After a review, Twitter reinstated ZeroHedge over this past weekend, saying that it made an enforcement error in choosing to suspend the account.