Microsoft Acts on Right-Leaning News Sites Targeted by ‘Defunding’ Blacklist

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A series of investigative reports from the Washington Examiner that focused on censoring and defunding politically right-leaning news sites, including WND, reveals Microsoft has now acted on the results.

The Examiner reported the company has “removed negative flags for conservative media outlets that have blocked them from reaping key advertising dollars amid the corporation launching an internal review and suspending its subscription to a ‘disinformation’ tracking group’s backlist.”

That blacklist was used to “defund” politically incorrect speech, the Examiner documented.

The report explained Microsoft owns Xandr, an advertising company, that previously adhered to an unwarranted blacklist of right-leaning news that was created and maintained by a British group, Global Disinformation Index, that works with other groups.

“Now, as Microsoft appears to be taking steps to distance itself from GDI, the company has, for the time being, deleted flags such as ‘false/misleading’ and ‘reprehensible/offensive’ for right-leaning websites, data show,” the Examiner reported.

A senior executive in the ad industry, whose identity was not revealed by the Examiner, said, “I just checked in Xandr’s platform again and can confirm that all rejection flags have been removed from domains.”

WND previously reported the sites that had been under attack by Xandra included WND, the Washington Examiner, Daily Wire, Real Clear Politics, Hot Air, Newsmax, Daily Caller, Tea Party, Life News, MRCTV, Breitbart, Redstate, The Blaze, and more.

WND’s longtime vice president and managing editor, David Kupelian, was not surprised by Xandr’s antagonism to conservative reporting, and revealed more of the back story:

“In late 2020, three major international online ad companies that had long served ads on WND – our main source of revenue and sustenance – all suddenly decided, at almost the exact same time, to cancel WND in the run-up to the most important presidential election of our lifetimes. The ad companies blacklisting WND – namely Xandr, TripleLift, and Teads – all cited vague breaches of their terms of service, including, and I quote, ‘any content that is illegal or otherwise contrary to any applicable law, regulation, directive, guideline or order, including without limitation any misleading, unethical, obscene, defamatory, deceptive, gambling-related or hateful content,’ etc. So it has nothing to do with ‘disinformation.’ If they don’t like your politics, you’re canceled.”

Other websites targeted included the Epoch Times, Hannity, Washington Times, Lifezette, Bill O’Reilly, Daily Signal, Judicial Watch, Chicks on the Right, Mike Huckabee, OANN, RSB Network, Charlie Kirk, Glenn Beck, American Thinker, Townhall, Newsbusters, Wayne Dupree, Louder with Crowder, CNS, Twitchy, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Free Republic, Law Enforcement Today and Drudge.

However, the new Examiner report documented, “According to an updated internal Xandr dataset provided to the Washington Examiner, all of these websites do not currently have a designation. It is unclear whether this means they now are receiving ads from certain brands, given that domains allowed to obtain ads are provided an ‘approved’ classification, data show.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told the Examiner, “We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda. We’re working quickly to fix the issue, and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review.”

GDI actively seeks to force the closure of certain websites by pressuring companies with its “dynamic exclusion list” of sites fed to ad companies.

The report noted GDI compiles its list with input from those including Ben Nimmo, “global lead for threat intelligence at Facebook parent company Meta,” as well as leftist journalist Anne Applebaum, who has claimed Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings – what critics described as an industry selling access to Joe Biden as vice president, then president, is not “interesting.”

Recently, multiple watchdogs have expressed alarm that the Department of State-funded GDI, with $330,000 funneled through the Global Engagement Center and the National Endowment for Democracy.

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