After claiming conservative website was demonetized, Google backtracks, says it never was

The dispute was allegedly over the site's comments section.

Published: June 16, 2020 4:31pm

Updated: June 16, 2020 6:24pm

A dispute involving Google and a conservative website played out in real time on Tuesday afternoon, with the tech company on Tuesday quickly walking back what appeared to be earlier claims that it had demonetized the Federalist over content policy violations.

Google allegedly made the decision to demonetize the Federalist after being made aware of a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British-based nonprofit that "seeks to disrupt the architecture of online hate and misinformation," as the group says on its website. 

Google reportedly became aware of the group's report after NBC's News Verification Unit "brought the project to its attention," according to an NBC report.

"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," a Google spokesperson told NBC.

"When a page or site violates our policies, we take action," the spokesperson added. "In this case, we’ve removed [the Federalist's] ability to monetize with Google.”

Yet late Tuesday afternoon, the company said from its Twitter communications account that the Federalist "was never demonetized." 

"We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section," the company wrote, adding: "As the comment section has now been removed, we consider this matter resolved and no action will be taken."

It was not immediately clear why Google would have initially said, per NBC, that the Federalist was demonetized before claiming that that was never the case. 

The author of the NBC News article, Adele-Momoko Fraser, tweeted out her article on Tuesday and thanked the Center for Countering Digital Hate for its "hard work and collaboration" regarding the article.

In an earlier, since-deleted tweet, Fraser tweeted out a similar statement while adding a #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

Fraser also reported that Google demonetized the conservative website ZeroHedge last week.

Editor's note: The reporter was a contributor at the Federalist for several years ending in 2017. 

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