Google has threatened to ban The Federalist from making revenue by running Google content ads on its website due to allegedly problematic claims about Black Lives Matter in its comments section.
According to Fox News, Google threatened to demonetize The Federalist after the NBC News Verification Unit informed Google about a British website which found the allegedly troublesome comments on The Federalist.
The complaint from NBC News also mentioned allegedly problematic content on the economic website ZeroHedge, which Google said it had already demonetized.
Google and The Federalist did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Citizen.
In a statement to NBC News, Google originally 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.”
However, Google later backtracked on that statement via Twitter. “The Federalist was never demonetized,” Google claimed. “As the comment section has now been removed, we consider this matter resolved and no action will be taken.”
In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News Tuesday night, Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, alleged that NBC News had colluded with Google to demonetize The Federalist. “Here we have a foreign unit at NBC News… seeking with another left-wing foreign group to de-platform an American media organization, one that is supposed to be defended under the First Amendment… It looks like NBC News… has partnered with a foreign left-wing group in Europe to go after us and to use Google to go after us.”
Davis said that Google had rescinded their demonetization threat only after The Federalist removed its comments section. He also assured the American people that their comments section would be back.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted about the controversy on Wednesday morning. “My new legislation would empower The Federalist to sue Google for unequal treatment & violation of Google’s own terms of service,” Rep. Hawley wrote. “It’s time to require the monopoly tech companies to act with good faith, not bad faith censorship.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also weighed in by writing a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressing his concerns about Google’s recent actions against The Federalist. “Google’s decision to target The Federalist is transparently politically motivated,” Sen. Cruz wrote. “Numerous ‘progressive’ media outlets allow comments, including, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Daily Kos… any objective review would no doubt demonstrate at least as many profane, racist, or indefensible user comments on these other sites that would equally violate Google’s alleged standards.”
Several questions are raised by this incident. Will Google threaten to demonetize any website that contains allegedly hateful or racist comments? Or is it just conservative websites that are problematic? And does Google plan to search other websites that have a comments section to find other problematic content?
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies, specifically Twitter’s censorship of conservative voices on its platform. It’s unclear how that executive order will be applied to Google’s recent actions.
Heading into the 2020 general election, the issue of Big Tech censorship will likely continue to heat up.
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