Disinformation Inc: Meet the groups hauling in cash to secretly blacklist conservative news
by Brandon Morse, RedState.com, February 10, 2023
The attack on conservatives by major corporations, internet companies, and political activist groups is nothing new. This doesn’t just include conservatives, but conservative sites as well. There have been repeated high-profile attempts at silencing conservative news and opinion sites, usually by attacking their ability to generate revenue from ads using flimsy excuses about misinformation or hate speech.
According to the Washington Examiner, new information has been discovered about a low-profile attempt to target conservative sites by blacklisting them for various “safety” reasons. This includes sites such as Daily Wire, Newsmax, Epoch Times, and even RedState.
The Examiner revealed the existence of the “Global Disinformation Index,” a British organization with two American affiliates that was bought by Microsoft in 2021 for $1 billion. This company is responsible for giving blacklists to ad companies like Xandr to restrict ad dollars and break conservative websites financially, effectively silencing them.
One senior executive at an ad company stepped forward to speak with the Examiner under the condition of anonymity and revealed Microsoft is, in fact, playing dirty:
“Xandr’s use of politically motivated flags on this blacklist stands outside of the norm in advertising,” said a senior executive at an ad company, noting that the real purpose of blacklisting should be to protect brands from advertising “on content that is illegal, fraudulent, [or] low-quality.”
“In this case, Xandr prevented us from talking to our voters in the critical days leading up to Election Day,” the executive, who was granted anonymity to discuss confidential company matters, told the Washington Examiner. “Our audience reads the Examiner, Daily Wire, Townhall, etc. Voters go to these news & opinion sites [to] inform their decisions. And if Microsoft is using their technology to block us from showing ads on these websites, they’re actively preventing us from talking to voters on the public squares where their decisions are being informed.”
As you can see from a selection of the gathered list, many websites are listed as dealing in “False/Misleading” information, including RedState.
A senior Xandr employee wrote an email letting publishers know it would be making GDI’s blacklist a part of its everyday business dealings according to the Washington Examiner:
“Xandr is adopting GDI’s exclusion list,” a senior Xandr employee wrote to ad groups in 2022, according to emails newly obtained by the Washington Examiner.
“Domains or apps that GDI has classified as a disinformation site will be added to Xandr’s global blocklist, preventing spend to those domains or apps,” the employee wrote in the email. “Creatives that have domains or apps assigned to it from the blocklist will not pass Audit. This is the same process that exists today for domains or apps that Xandr and our partners have deemed as not passing our existing inventory quality standards (e.g. violence, malware, porn, etc).”
Unsurprisingly, websites deemed “less risky” have leftist biases, including NPR, Washington Post, and the New York Times. BuzzFeed and ProPublica did not appear in the dataset but were “approved” for ads by GDI.
This list becomes more sinister when you see that Democrats in Congress are attached to it. As the Washington Examiner notes, GDI accepted $250,000 in 2021 from the State Department via The National Endowment for Democracy, a non-profit authorized through congress.
The National Endowment for Democracy board has 23 members, which include House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and Texas Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro.
In short, members of Congress are working alongside a group owned by Microsoft to silence conservative news sites like RedState by reducing their ability to financially profit from ads.