AdWords is now Google Ads. Our new name reflects the full range of advertising options we offer across Search, Display, YouTube, and more. Learn more

Ads
1.7K members online now
1.7K members online now
Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I wrote to several Canadian companies to let them know that their ads are appearing on Breitbart's website. As this site is an alt-right source for fake news, racism, misogyny, and white supremacy, I thought they'd like to know. They replied that they have no affiliation with Breitbart, but bought a Google Ad Network placement. I'm writing to see if Google has a policy to prevent your clients' ads from appearing on certain sites with offensive content. 

3 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by James_Clemens (Top Contributor)
January 2017

Ad Policy for Breitbart

[ Edited ]

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Tom,

 

Google has a list of the types of content that are not allowed in their AdSense network (where AdWords display ads are displayed).

 

https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348688?hl=en


Specific to your query Google says:

 

Google believes strongly in the freedom of expression, but also recognizes the need to protect the quality of the AdSense network for users, advertisers, and publishers.

Google ads may not be placed on pages that contain harassing or bullying content, or on content that incites hatred or promotes violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity. Additionally, Google ads may not appear on content that incites or advocates for harm against an individual or group.

However, pages containing educational, documentary, historical, scientific, or artistic content related to such subjects are permitted to participate in AdSense.

 

Keep in mind that often rulings can come down to an opinion of a single Googler, and opinions can vary. While you might have an opinion regarding the tone and motivation of that site, a Googler spending 20 seconds looking at the home page would have difficulty finding anything racist.

 

 

 

Ad Policy for Breitbart

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi Tom,

 

Nowadays, nearly every news source is good or bad, depending on what side you lean towards. And the other side of the polar is fake, unwanted, not liked, etc..

 

Google advertisers can control their ads pretty effectively, so those that do not wish to be somewhere... will not be. That specific news channel may not provide news you appreciate, which is valid (to you). But if we all get to remove news sources we each do not appreciate... there would be no news anywhere, anymore.  

 

Please know I am not splitting hairs over the details of any of this, nor is this a place to discuss politics.

 

I am merely stating that AdWords is not affiliated with any advertiser. And that AdWords is a platform where companies and advertisers are in complete control of their own actions and there is nothing more that needs done for that. There are ads in magazine for all types of things a company is not aligned with; there are TV commercials during shows that they do not agree with; there are billboards on the side of the road with people living nearby that may be doing things the brand does not approve of. This is the world of advertising and this is perfectly correct in how it works.

 

To help you understand AdWords better, This is just one feature that can be used to exclude a website. 

 

Since you are not the business owner, nor the advertiser... there is not much you can do. What you can do is this... you can simply not visit websites you do not like, which is what I do. I give attention to things I like and remove my presence from things I do not like. This is what we each have a right to do... nothing more. Freedom of speech is a vitally important right we all must appreciate, even when it brings things we do not agree with. I love the color blue, but I know someone else that loves yellow, and another that loves green, and another that loves orange... and on and on we go. To each person, there is a color that could be omitted. To me, I want every color, even those I do not love as much as blue. I absolutely DO NOT agree with hate towards anyone at anytime, nor do I agree in sequestering for the sake of silencing.

 

Kind Regards,

 

James

 

 

____________________________________________________________
Google My Business & Google Ads Top Contributor
Google Partner | GYBO Agency | Local Guide | My Profile


 


 


 

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 4
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

What is offensive to one person may not be considered offensive to another.  Google's policy uses more objective criteria than just what is offensive or not. 


Acceptable  
    Political advertising pages (and other political content) as long as they are not hate-related or advocating for harm against another party
    Satire pages that do not advocate violence or target hateful content against an individual or group

 

So basically a violation would be promoting violence or hate related speech.  Looking at the website I don't think it meets that criteria since it's a very high bar to meet.  A website that has opinions against or for controversial issues isn't hate speech.  The policy is more geared toward websites encouraging others to believe certain groups/individuals are inferior or promoting physical harm.  An advertiser can of course exclude their ads from going on certain websites. 

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

James: thanks so much for your reply! I agree 100% with your commitment to free speech.

That said, I'm guessing that the Google Ad Network doesn't post ads for its clients on porn sites. Not because Google is against the free speech represented by porn sites, but because the paying clients don't want their ads associated with such offensive content.

Steve Bannon, the head of Breitbart until he accepted the job of chief strategist for Donald Trump, called Breitbart "the platform for the alt-right." A few examples of headlines: "Hoist it high and proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage," "There's no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews," and "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy." I could go on.

If the Google policy on ads is, as stated: "Google ads may not be placed on pages that contain harassing or bullying content, or on content that incites hatred or promotes violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity," it's unclear to me how such offensive content can be side-by-side with Google-recommended ads.

Thanks again for your consideration,
Tom

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hi Tom,

 

I'm guessing that you cherry-picked those headlines, as opposed to them appearing on the front page of the site today, something I would expect a Google employee to do when assessing the site.

 

Also, a headline is not the story. The birth control story points to scientific studies. While it might be "thinly-disguised" bullying, I don't think it is of the level that Google would consider pulling their ads from.

 

There is a big difference between a website with thousands of new stories, some of which lean in a particular political or religious direction - and sites that focus on clearly inciting hatred. It does come down to opinion, and it really depends on the interpretation of the policies and who is making the decision. And educated Google in the Philippines with high-levels of English skills might not see your angle at all.

 

As pointed out above, all advertisers have the ability to see which sites that their ads appear on, and remove them from those they don't like.

 

The policies are there for Google and their advertisers. Beyond that if you have a problem with this particular website, you should look into anything they are doing wrong legally. 

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

Hi @Tom B,

 

 You are very welcome. 

 

To expand on the porn site angle, I think it is more against the fact that it is not family friendly... meaning that it is a 18+ age group access issue or AdWords would be helping to break the law (it's an legal issue over offensiveness). Even still, AdWords does allow some content that is of an adult nature, per the Adult content policy. The policy is quite strict on a lot of content, yet is surprising accepting on things many people absolutely find offensive (sex toys, private parts exposed, etc.). We cannot negate advertising on offensive subjects, as it is too subjective on what is offensive. Side note: I am a Florida Gators fan but have many friends that are strongly for Florida State Seminoles. The comments get ugly, lol, against me and the Gators, yet it is perfectly acceptable and nothing to be "done about it" but to let it roll (and/or fire back). 

 

Alas, I do see your point/thought process. I applaud you for your want/reasoning, but see all of this as being already handled on a per advertiser basis with such AdWords' features that I previously mentioned.

 

From there, consumers should not visit such sites that offend them (or they do not align with). By not visiting them, it devalues their presence and lowers their traffic counts, which sends the best message ever. When you write about [the website] that bothers you, you bring attention to them, which gets them traffic. Side note: I have a friend on a social site where they endlessly put up stuff that offends them, which causes more people to comment and go check it out. They spend hours each day talking about subjects that they hate. I recently asked them to look at the past 30 posts and to tell me what they see. They were shocked that they stay muddled in muck all day long - by their own actions. They were perplexed by this and have changed their posting style.

 

Unfortunately, this means I am seeing more "cute" cat photos... when I actually prefer dogs. How do I win here? I accept that seeing less negative stuff (and dark stuff)... is better and I accept seeing more cute cats. It's a trade off I have to accept. I am more happy that my friend is happier, then in the pain of me seeing more cats everywhere.   

 

You, as a consumer, can certainly write companies and state that you will not buy their products based on their implied affiliation to something you find offensive. I feel that by doing this, it handles your help inquiry here and personal desires elsewhere, quite well. I do not feel anything further needs to be done via AdWords or by Google. 

 

All the Best,

 

James

____________________________________________________________
Google My Business & Google Ads Top Contributor
Google Partner | GYBO Agency | Local Guide | My Profile


 


 


 

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by James_Clemens (Top Contributor)
January 2017

Ad Policy for Breitbart

[ Edited ]

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 9
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

@Tom B

 

The policy covers content not just clickbait headlines.  I think they would take everything into context.  Also those headlines don't promote violence, hatred, harassing, or bullying content in my humble opinion based on the examples given for Adsense policies.  An article that advocates against gay marriage is allowed as long as it doesn't promote violence or hatred against protected classes.  Also what is allowed are articles that make the argument that hiring bias does not happen and that birth control is bad. 

Ad Policy for Breitbart

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Breitbart is a white nationalist hate site. I'm surprised to see it being described as news; this would only be true to someone committed fake news, racism, misogyny, homophobia and white supremacy. There are very few businesses that would find it financially beneficial to advertise to its readers.