Independent news outlet Zero Hedge has been targeted by the media several times this year with various outlets flagging alleged policy violations to Big Tech companies.
The outlet was temporarily suspended from Google’s advertising program, which allows publishers to monetize their content via display ads, and also had its Twitter account with more than 670,000 followers suspended.
However, despite the recent reinstatements, Zero Hedge hasn’t come out unscathed with Wikipedia recently blacklisting the outlet after this negative mainstream media coverage.
The discussions on whether to blacklist Zero Hedge on Wikipedia began on July 19 – three days after NBC News published a controversial article about Zero Hedge’s Google advertising ban.
This NBC News article noted that Zero Hedge had been banned after Google was notified of research from the pressure group Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and the author of the article, NBC News journalist Adele-Momoko Fraser, promoted the article by thanking the CCDH for their collaboration before deleting the tweet after facing backlash.
The Wikipedia editors ultimately decided to blacklist Zero Hedge on July 16. This NBC News article and an article about Zero Hedge being banned from Twitter were the first two articles cited as reasons to blacklist Zero Hedge, despite the outlet having both its Twitter and Google advertising accounts reinstated before it was blacklisted.
Wikipedia blacklists sites by adding them to its list of deprecated sources. Wikipedia editors are generally prohibited from citing these deprecated sources and when they attempt to cite deprecated sources, they’ll often be presented with a warning message.
Wikipedia currently has 33 sites on its list of deprecated sources and has rapidly expanded this list since the first site was added to this list in 2017.
In that first year, just one site, the Daily Mail, was deprecated. Since then, five sites were deprecated in 2018, 19 sites were deprecated in 2019, and eight sites have been deprecated in 2020.
Critics have noted that the majority of sites on Wikipedia’s deprecated sources list are right-leaning.
Deprecated sites such as Zero Hedge lose access to the huge amount of exposure that Wikipedia provides.
Not only does Wikipedia have billions of monthly visits but it’s also heavily embedded in ecosystems with Google Search often placing Wikipedia at the top of its search results, Safari’s browser suggestions often serving up Wikipedia results, voice assistants often citing Wikipedia, and social media sites often citing Wikipedia in their information and fact-checking panels.