Google has threatened to ban The Federalist and Zero Hedge from its ad platform, Google Ads, after NBC News raised concerns to the tech giant about articles that the conservative websites published regarding rioting and looting that occurred alongside the protests over the death of George Floyd.
According to the NBC report, Google notified The Federalist that it planned to block the site from using Google Ads because of concerns raised over an article related to the protests over Floyd’s death.
The NBC News Verification Unit notified Google of a report from a British think tank that accused The Federalist of running insensitive content related to the protests over Floyd’s death.
NBC News, which cited a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said that the offending article from The Federalist had claimed “the media had been lying about looting and violence during the protests.”
The NBC News story caused some confusion after it was published because Google disputed the claim that The Federalist has already been de-monetized from the Google Ads platform.
NBC News quoted a Google spokesperson saying that both Zero Hedge and The Federalist have been de-monetized.
“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 spokesperson said, according to NBC News. (RELATED: Google Employees Debated Burying Conservative Websites In Search)
But a Google spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that The Federalist is “not currently demonetized.”
The spokesperson said that Google has “strict publisher policies” that govern the use of Google Ads. The policies cover not just the content of news articles but comment sections on websites that use the ad platform.
“The action taken against ZeroHedge and the notification to the Federalist was related to the comments section of the sites. The comments sections consistently violated our dangerous and derogatory policy,” the spokesperson said.
“To clarify, the Federalist is not currently demonetized and has the opportunity to address the issue as described below.”
The Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about the discrepancy between the quote provided to NBC News and the statement provided to the DCNF.
The NBC News story does not link to the allegedly inflammatory Federalist article. But the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s offshoot group, “Stop Funding Fake News,” included a June 3 article from The Federalist entitled “The Media Are Lying To You About Everything, Including The Riots.”
The article, by Federalist political editor John Daniel Davidson, disputed a popular claim by the media that white supremacist groups were behind much of the violence that occurred during the Floyd protests.
The NBC News reporter who published the story thanked the Center for Countering Digital Hate for their “collaboration” on the story.
— Adele-Momoko Fraser (@AMFraserNBC) June 16, 2020
NBC News did not respond to a request for comment about the reporter’s comments.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton blasted Google’s decision in response to the NBC News story.
The @FDRLST correctly pointed out media misinformation about the looting and damage from the riots.
In return, Google is banning The @FDRLST.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 16, 2020
Cotton was at the center of controversy last week after The New York Times apologized for publishing an op-ed from the Republican calling for deploying the national guard to combat looting and riots that occurred during otherwise peaceful protests over George Floyd’s death.
While Cotton differentiated in his article between peaceful protesters and violent rioters, a group of New York Times staffers complained that the op-ed endangered the newspaper’s black employees.
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