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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Opinion

Google justified in blocking ads on “hate speech” website


According to conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Google notified site administrators of plans to block Google ads on WND content.

Google representatives objected to WND’s repeated use of the phrase “black mobs” during a two-year run of articles focused on black-on-white crime. The phrase “black mobs” appeared in more than 670 WND stories.

Google cited its AdSense policies, which prohibit discriminatory statements and hate speech based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age or veteran status.

According to the official Google policy on hate speech, “while Google believes strongly in the freedom of expression, we also recognize the need to protect the quality of the AdSense network for users, advertisers and publishers. As such, Google does not allow the monetization of hate speech or any other content that is intended to insult, offend or intimidate an individual or group.”

Google policies also protect against content that makes “sweeping generalizations about a group.”

WND Editor Joseph Farah published an editorial defending WND against hate speech claims and accusing Google of censorship of “First Amendment-protected media.”

According to Farah, the phrase “black mobs” as used in WND content was not hate speech. In his editorial, he said the use of “black mobs” was “not hate speech (but) the reporting of facts.” He went on to call WND’s race-baiting articles “courageous reporting.”

Farah displayed willful ignorance in his dismissal of hate speech accusations. A quick search of related articles on WND brings up a host of stories with headlines such as “Black mob violence based on ‘collective mental illness,’” “Black attack: Robbing, stabbing, shooting, arson” and “White girl: ‘I’m tired of being looked at like prey.’ ”

A similar search of “white mobs” turned up no relevant results. Articles concerning crimes committed by white people were far fewer in number and rarely had race featured in the headline.

WND was clearly crafting a narrative through headlines and articles that made use of terms such as “black mobs.” Farah explicitly stated that it was part of the WND agenda to publicize “black-on-white violence.”

Through the storm of more than 670 race-baiting stories, WND repeatedly pushed a white-victimization complex and attempted to paint violence as a characteristic of the black community. Many articles used loaded, incendiary language typical of racist rhetoric. An editorial published in November 2013 titled “Obama, Oprah, media to blame for black mobs” staked the claim that “hatred against whites is reinforced and encouraged.”

WND’s “black mobs” articles absolutely violated Google’s AdSense hate speech policies. The articles made sweeping negative generalizations based on race; promoted content that discriminated based on race; and used race-based epithets.

Farah went on to defend WND’s repeated publication of “black mobs” articles on the grounds of the right to free speech.

Under the First Amendment, WND is free to publish hate speech without interference from the government or any other public entity. But it is important to note that free-speech rights do not entitle private entities, such as WND, to protections from other private entities, such as Google.

Furthermore, Google’s actions do not constitute censorship. Google did not pull WND content from public access or blacklist the site. WND is still free to publish whatever content it wishes. Google simply refused WND the opportunity to turn ad revenues on articles that contained hate speech prohibited under Google AdSense policies.

WND ultimately chose to disconnect Google ads from disputed content.

Google made the right decision in blocking ads from the “black mobs” articles. WND’s black violence narrative has a real, adverse effect on the justice system.

According to the Pew Research Center, African-American men were six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated in 2010. American Progress reports that African-Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that African-American federal offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crime.

WND’s “black mobs” articles constituted hate speech and created a narrative that perpetuates racial disparities in the justice system.

 Opinion columnist Megan Kallus is a pre-business freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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