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Major ad company drops Breitbart.com for publishing hate speech

AppNexus, an online advertising platform, is no longer allowing Breitbart.com to monetize off of its platform due to hate speech.

According to spokesman Josh Zeitz, AppNexus has a policy of not allowing its ads to appear on sites that espouse hate speech or condone violence against any specific groups.

“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line,” Zeitz told Bloomberg Technology.

“This blacklist was solely about hate speech violation,” Zeitz continued, emphasizing that his company’s decision to no longer run ads on Breitbart wasn’t due to Breitbart’s editorial decisions.

AppNexus — which is backed by Micrsoft and NewsCorp — isn’t an advertiser in and of itself, but provides ad revenue by serving as a third party for a plethora of advertisers to buy real estate on sites like Breitbart, who then monetize off of clicks and impressions. AppNexus is a major advertising platform, serving top media clients like USA Today, Bloomberg, ESPN, and Fox News. Bloomberg reports that AppNexus handles roughly $2.5 billion in total advertising by its clients.

The decision to blacklist Breitbart is huge, considering Breitbart’s massive online audience. According to website ranking tool Alexa, Breitbart is ranked #127 in total traffic among all sites in the United States, and #674 worldwide. That’s more than 200 spots higher than MSNBC.com, which is ranked #338 in the US. More than 19 million unique visitors clicked on Breitbart.com’s links in October.

Steve Bannon, who is currently President-elect Donald Trump’s top White House advisor, was hired away from his position as Breitbart.com’s publisher to be the billionaire real estate mogul’s campaign CEO earlier this year. Bannon’s site has drawn criticism from across the media spectrum for publishing loaded headlines and content celebrating the Confederate flag, implying that the Black Lives Matter movement applauds the killing of police officers, and various headlines encouraging Islamopohobia and an entire tag devoted to “black crime.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks and monitors white supremacist groups, has called Breitbart.com the “media arm of the alt-right,” a reference to the rabidly pro-Trump movement with strong neo-Nazi undertones.

Other ad platforms, like Google and OpenX, are still running ads on Breitbart.com as of this writing.


Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog

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