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Google dealt a major blow to conservative media personality and Fox News Channel host Dan Bongino on Friday, pulling Google ad services from his website Bongino.com.
The action follows YouTube’s decision Wednesday to ban Bongino from the video platform, citing its Covid-19 misinformation policy. (Google and YouTube are owned by the same company, Alphabet.)
A Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “We have strict publisher policies in place that explicitly prohibit misleading and harmful content around the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrably false claims about our elections. When publishers persistently breach our policies we stop serving Google ads on their sites. Publishers can always appeal a decision once they have addressed any violating content.”
Google’s advertising platform is widely used by many websites. Google acts as an intermediary, with advertisers paying to show ads around the internet and websites receiving a cut of the revenue from Google for showing the ads.
Google has in recent years severed advertising ties with a variety of websites that hosted misinformation or extremist content.
Bongino did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Friday morning, his show’s Twitter account tweeted at Google Ads, saying, “We deeply appreciate your efforts to try & silence us, it presents the perfect foil for the free speech parallel economy.”
On his show published Friday, Bongino said Google is “at full-blown war with us,” urging his followers to sign up for his newsletter. Bongino then said a Google representative cited a series of articles as containing harmful and unreliable claims.
According to Google’s website, its “Unreliable claims” policy prohibits “making inaccurate claims or claims that entice the user with an improbable result (even if this result is possible) as the likely outcome a user can expect.”
One of the articles Bongino said Google cited was titled “Fauci Admits to Masking After Vaccination Solely for Optics,” which made the claim that Fauci’s “use of masks despite being vaccinated had nothing to do with science.” Bongino’s ban from YouTube followed a video he posted where he questioned how effective masks were at preventing viral transmission.
Google’s actions against Bongino follow a series of major moves from Big Tech platforms against conservative personalities regarding Covid-19 content. In January, a personal account for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., was permanently suspended from Twitter after the platform said she violated its Covid-19 misinformation policy.
Amid the bans, conservatives have increasingly created new profiles on alternate social media platforms such as Gettr and Parler. In February, it’s anticipated that former President Donald Trump will launch his own social media platform, Truth Social.
Ben Goggin is the deputy editor for technology at NBC News Digital.
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