The Washington Examiner reported that Microsoft has now removed negative flags it applied to conservative media outlets, essentially stopping them from benefiting from advertising dollars.
The previous action amounted to a blacklist of the sites based on “disfavored speech.” This was reversed after a reported internal review.
PT 3: DISINFORMATION INC
Microsoft's Xandr, which follows Global Disinformation Index's conservative blacklist, has been internally flagging sites and taking steps to defund/deplatform them, according to data leaked to @dcexaminer and whistleblowers. https://t.co/rsRIKeydLE
— Gabe Kaminsky (@gekaminsky) February 10, 2023
Xandr, an advertising company owned by Microsoft, had followed the recommendations of the Global Disinformation Index (GDI). This is a British outfit that operates a pair of U.S. nonprofits and purports to fight the spread of false reporting.
But now the U.S.-based software giant appears to have changed course and backed off from the GDI recommendations. Flags such as “false/misleading” and “reprehensible/offensive” are no longer featured with these conservative sites.
The Examiner reported that Xandr had posted labels of “false/misleading” on 39 right-leaning sites, including the Daily Wire, Newsmax, RealClearPolitics, Breitbart, the Blaze, the Washington Times, and others.
Townhall was categorized as “reprehensible/offensive.”
However, the Examiner received an “updated internal Xandr dataset” that showed the long list of sites was no longer tagged with the GDI designations. It noted, however, that it is uncertain whether they are now receiving advertising revenue.
Domains capable of receiving ads have an “approved” classification.
A Microsoft spokesperson said Saturday evening that the tech giant is attempting “to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda.” They confirmed that Xandr no longer uses GDI’s services.
GDI reportedly attempted to pressure firms into closing down websites that did not meet its left-leaning criteria. Just last Saturday, several watchdog groups blasted the Department of State’s funding of GDI through the Global Engagement Center and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Over $330,000 has been funneled to the group. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) lashed out at the taxpayer funds supporting an organization obviously dedicated to the muffling of free speech.
The Republican called for a “strict accounting” of all dollars supporting the Global Engagement Center.
As much as free market principles are desired, Big Tech is increasingly showing the need for oversight to ensure a level playing field. Time and again, these powerful corporations are using their leverage to stifle and even destroy conservative voices through suppression and defunding.