Microsoft removed its “negative flags” for conservative media outlets on a “secret blacklist,” including Newsmax, that were blocked from getting key advertising dollars, the Washington Examiner reported.
As part of its series on “disinformation” tracking groups, the Examiner reported internal data showed Microsoft was doing a review, and suspending its subscription to a tracking group devoted to defunding what it sees as “disfavored speech.”
Microsoft-owned advertising company Xandr previously abided by a “secret blacklist” of conservative news put together by the Global Disinformation Index, a British organization with two affiliated U.S. nonprofits, the Examiner reported.
Microsoft now appears to be taking steps to distance itself from GDI, and has deleted flags such as “false/misleading” and “reprehensible/offensive” for right-leaning websites, the Examiner reported, citing the internal data it obtained.
“I just checked in Xandr’s platform again and can confirm that all rejection flags have been removed from domains,” an unnamed executive in the ad industry told the Examiner.
Xandr had labeled 39 conservative domains as “false/misleading.” Townhall, whose publisher is Salem Media Group, was flagged as “reprehensible/offensive,” the Examiner reported.
The Examiner also noted it was among those flagged as “false/misleading,” along with Newsmax, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Drudge Report, Breitbart, the Blaze, the Washington Times, Judicial Watch, and the Media Research Center affiliate MRC.TV.
An internal Xandr dataset showed all those websites no longer have a designation, though it’s unclear if they are getting ads from certain brands without an “approved” classification.
“We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda,” a Microsoft spokesperson told the Examiner. “We’re working quickly to fix the issue, and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review.”
According to the Examiner, Xandr informed publishers in September 2022 it would begin to adopt GDI’s “dynamic exclusion list,” which the organization feeds to ad companies. Through a list that may include at least 2,000 websites, GDI allegedly tried to pressure companies to shut down certain sites.
The Examiner also reported the GDI has claimed the 10 “riskiest” outlets are Newsmax, the American Spectator, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News Network, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, and the New York Post.
GDI compiles the list with oversight from its own “advisory panel,” which includes Ben Nimmo, global lead for threat intelligence at Facebook parent company Meta, and left-leaning journalist Anne Applebaum, the Examiner reported, who once dismissed Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings as uninteresting.
GDI has claimed the 10 “least risky” websites are NPR, ProPublica, the Associated Press, Insider, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, HuffPost, and the Wall Street Journal.
The Examiner last week reported watchdogs raised concerns over the Department of State funding GDI.
The government agency has reportedly handed $330,000 to the GDI through the Global Engagement Center and the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit mostly funded through congressional appropriations.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee that oversees State Department grants, said the “most recent allegations, if verified, confirm the need for a strict accounting of all U.S. taxpayer funds going to the GEC,” the Examiner reported.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
Read the full article here
Discussion about this post