ZeroHedge has Google’s permission to use its advertising platform again after they carried out a thorough “cleaning” of its comment section which, according to the technology giant, was full of inappropriate comments.
The popular website dedicated to economic and political issues had some problems with Google in mid-June when Google told the outlet that they were going to demonetize them and prevent them from earning revenue through Google ads. Google has a monopoly over the website advertising market.
The issues Google alleged, however, were not caused directly by the site’s content, but by the comments section, which Google says contained messages that violated Google’s policies. Supposedly, users could post “derogatory” comments without being sufficiently moderated.
During June, Google also threatened The Federalist to cancel its advertising services for the same reason. The Federalist reacted by deleting its entire comments section and avoided the sanction. The website’s owner, Sean Davis, said that these measures jeopardize free speech; he sees it as “terrifying” that a mega-corporation can indirectly control the content that comes to market simply by denying its monetization.
2020 has not been an easy year for ZeroHedge. Earlier this year, its Twitter official account was banned for publishing an article that linked a Wuhan lab to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, after several months the account was reinstated and Twitter reported that the cancellation was an error when mainstream outlets also ran with similar stories.
Google is rumored to be facing antitrust lawsuits from the US, Europe, and Australia in the next year over its web advertising market share and search dominance.