Google Doubles Down: Demands Review of All Antiwar.com Content

Eric Garris, March 20, 2015

On Wednesday morning (3/18/15), Google AdSense suspended ad delivery to Antiwar.com demanding that we remove our 11-year-old pages that showed the abuse by US soldiers of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib. We publicized this and got a bit of coverage.

Yesterday (3/19/15) Google contacted us and told us that they had given in and would be restoring ad service to Antiwar.com shortly.

However, this morning they contacted us demanding that we remove this article.

Antiwar.com has no intention of allowing Google to dictate our content. We are looking into alternate sources of advertising and will not likely be working with Google AdSense in the future.

Don’t let them get away with it! We need your help today, and you can do that in two ways:

Make a donation to help us recover the lost revenue. We run this web site on a shoestring, and the money we fully expected to bring in from Google ads now puts a big hole our budget. We simply can’t afford to lose this income – but we’re not taking down any of our content. No way, no how! Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

Contact Google ads and give them a piece of your mind. Tell them that you don’t appreciate their efforts on behalf of the Washington censors and demand that they reinstate us immediately.
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheater Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Telephone: 650-253-0000
You can also interact with Google at their forum

Thank you to all our supporters.

You can confirm that Antiwar.com is being blocked by going to Adsenseblockchecker.

Below is the text of the latest contact from Google:

From: adsense-noreply@google.com
To: adsense-noreply@google.com

Hello,

Thank you for submitting an appeal. However, after thoroughly reviewing antiwar.com and taking your feedback into consideration, we are unable to enable ad serving to your site again at this time, as your site appears to still be in violation.

Example page where violation occurred: http://original.antiwar.com/chris_ernesto/2014/05/28/heads-up-the-us-is-losing-in-ukraine/

VIOLENCE/GORE: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with violent or disturbing content, including sites with gory text or images. More information about this policy can be found in our help center ( https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348688?utm_source=crs&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=notificationhl=en&answer=105954 ).

VIOLENCE: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with violent content. This includes sites with content related to breaking bones, getting hit by trains or cars, or people receiving serious injuries. More information about this policy can be found in our help center ( https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1348688?utm_source=crs&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=notificationhl=en&answer=105954 ).

Please take some time to review your site again for compliance. When making changes, please note that the URL mentioned in your policy notification may be just one example and that similar violations may exist on other pages of your website. Appropriate changes must be made across your entire website before ad serving can be enabled on your site again.

If you’d like to have your site reconsidered for participation in the AdSense programme, please review our programme policies and make any necessary changes to your webpages.

Once you’ve fully resolved any issues with your site, please review this Help Centre article to learn more about how to create a successful appeal.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team




  • CalDre

    Again they are only demanding you remove ads from pages with gore. Maybe someone does not want their ad for a car or cereal on a page of gory dead bodies. Does that make sense? It does to me! And libertarians respect that choice and Google's contractual obligations.

    You are essentially demanding that Google breach it's contracts to its advertisers, and display ads (and charge the company) to put ads on pages they don't want their ads to be on. And you say you support libertarianism and freedom? What????

    • AngelaKeaton

      Actually, Google violated their own standards and practices beginning with the 72 hour notice. We appreciate your concern however. Please add further readings of our contract below. We will be sure to note and provide our lawyers with your memos. We so appreciate your research. When I graduated from the University of Florida's College of Law, I never realized how handy a legal background would be even when working for independent news outlets.

      Peace,
      Angela

      • http://www.TheHardcoreNews.com SzaboServices

        Google demanded me to remove a chat messenger a couple years ago they said it was against their standards, I wrote them back telling them it was easier to remove 3 pages of Google ads that it was to remove my chat box from 20 or so pages SEE YA, I would suggest that you look for YOUR OWN ad sense script, create your own advertising server, you can buy clones on the web, I did! John R Szabo (TheHardcoreNews)

        • jsgalt

          You are assuming the advertisers even know their adds are going on antiwar and rather them not be there. Where's the evidence for that?

          • http://www.TheHardcoreNews.com SzaboServices

            Most ad servers are self service for the advertiser, they have a stats page and notifications if wanted, Anti-War could also use it for affiliation purpose to make up their own ads for affiliates, as I do with Amazon and a few others, I know how many clicks in and out, I guess you need to do your homework or ask questions, do some research before you try to discredit my postings next time, we are looking to generate funds to keep going, since people like you are to cheap to send donations

    • http://icymi.co James

      Google has the right to have crappy, restrictive policies and everyone has the right to shame Google for those crappy policies. Unless you're under the impression that antiwar.com is lobbying the government to force Google to change it's government-propaganda-friendly ad policies, then you're confused about what "libertarianism" is.

    • Tuyzentfloot

      Parent post does make some valid points. An advertising company is free to decide what policies they want to have and if they're smart they put ads on pages that are 'safe'. Content publishers on the other hand are free not to make use of the advertising and the money it brings.
      But there are reasons to be worried. The reasons are not 'they're out to get us' but more the general direction things are moving in. And then one should think about what Chomsky and Herman wrote about, how advertising became one of the constraints that caused news providers to gradually become more safe and conformist. And that is what advertising will do to online publishing as well. Well, to some degree. Advertising will only affect a small fraction of the sites but it will be the small fraction with the most hits.

    • El Tonno

      Personally, I welcome cereal ads along with the gore in the morning.

      Particulary on Saturday. It's way better than seeing MSM airheads "debating" on TV.

    • Edward

      I do not comprehend the problem either.. Google = private company. The most lucrative choice but Not the Only choice. If you are about the $$, you must play the game. If it is about getting the info out, then simply go the alternate route.

      And to the violator of Google Policy: I admit, I would be upset that a business plan hits a bump. And this is just a bump, my friend. The way will be found. Honestly though, I dont see the need for outcry on this matter. Facebook, Google, McDonald's, Walmart — all have policy and code of conduct that customers are obligated to follow once the decision to use their services is decided.
      Good luck.

  • CalDre

    Just one further observation – they are not demanding you take those pages off the site. If I understand the policy correctly you must only remove ads from the pages at issue. Their policy states: "Our program policies don't allow Google ads to be placed on content that contains graphic or gory images such as bloodshed, fight scenes, and gruesome or freak accidents. Publishers are responsible for every page on which their ad code appears and for screening any text, images, videos, or other media which will appear on a page with Google ads". Note the use of the word "page" here (in context of gore/violence), whereas other prohibited content refers to "site".

    I don't personally agree with Google's policy but you should not misrepresent the situation. They are a private company and can make reasonable policies.

    In fact I'd be happy if you moved to another ad network. There are a lot of alternative sites who are dependent on Google's "goodwill" to exist and since Google is fully part of the Establishment, that's a bad idea. It would be nice to have an alternate ad delivery system that was not for alternative sites that is not so tied to global multinational company.

    Now if you want to point out Google's hypocrisy that is also a simple matter. For example, their policy states "Google ads may not appear on content that incites or advocates for harm against an individual or group." Yet you can find Google Ads on all types of pages that advocate for war against Iran or ISIS , etc., all of which are "groups", like Washington Post (not sure they use Google Ads but they are war-mongerers).

    • egarris

      The problem is that this is new. We have over 100,000 articles spanning the past 19 years. Google will only tell us, one-at-a-time, which articles they object to.

      The photo on the front page today might qualify. As webmaster of the site, I don't want to have to consider Google's shifting sensibilities when I choose photos. The current photo they are objecting to is a wire photo that sites like Google News feature themselves.

      Google has the right to do what they want, but the way they deal with us has the potential to be chilling. As a result, we will be looking for partners who appreciate our content.

      • Fran Macadam

        Google's become a monopoly and so now they can effectively dictate content by economic strangulation. Schmidt's one of the most arrogant individuals I've encountered and has a sense of entitlement his wealth has given him to determine the course of events for the planet. Like his NSA and State Department partners, he avers the right for his corporate side, just as for his unaccountable spy allies, to "collect it all," even telling the world that if they don't like being spied on, they just need to make sure they don't do anything they don't want in public and secret databases. Yet he himself is fanatical about his own privacy while abusing ours.
        One might define freedom as that of a rogue elephant being allowed to stomp to death underfoot all the others in the room – a bad actor without accountability, claiming their right to determine who lives and who dies and what truths can be afforded to report on. Just more of "too big to jail," our current American sickness of zero accountability for the powerful.

    • AngelaKeaton

      Yes, we would be happy to use another service. Several have stepped forward. If you represent one, please submit your bid to my email address which can be found at the general inquiry box. Thank you.

      Peace,
      Angela

      • John Dowser

        At first I wanted to disagree but when I looked around and noticed Google ads being served for the same photo plus more at the Daily Mail, it seems weird to target only Antiwar.com. Unless they work on some complaint basis? Is someone targeting this site on purpose perhaps?

        If Google does react on individual complaints (and how could they automate it?) then it's not a mystery why Google tells you, one-at-a-time, which articles are violating the terms. While I do understand that a webmaster might not want to react each and every time that Google applies irregular and apparently randomly their own terms, it doesn't seem that of a big deal. Do these articles really have to shock with imagery to make a point? Is that really the type of journalism Antiwar.com is after, as if the readership cannot conceive of all the horrors from the text? Anyway, that's my personal opinion as regular reader. For me, the important content is text and illustrations are just that.

        • carnaptious

          "A picture is worth a thousand words." Remember the Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a Vietnamese girl with third degree burns – caused by US dropped napalm – running down the road? Ten thousand words could not have conveyed the starkness of that image, and that single photo probably did more to end the Vietnam War than any anti-war text article could have done.

          Google ad policies could easily be applied to text content as well as photos, so unless AW.C wants to let Google become the managing editor of this site, Google ads have to go. Google is certainly entitled to run their business as they see fit, even if they choose to do so selectively as your Daily Mail link makes clear. But AW.C is similarly entitled to run this website as the editors see fit, without being second guessed by selectively applied Google policies.

          The transition may be difficult, but I'd hate to see AW.C become just another mouthpiece of establishment approved propaganda and "official" truth.

          • John Dowser

            It remains rather hyperbolic to say that changing one or two illustrations or disabling ads on those particular pages equals becoming some "mouthpiece of establishment approved propaganda". At that stage I think energies are spent on the wrong things and generally waisted. Like fighting wind mills!

          • carnaptious

            That is not what I said, or wrote. There is nothing in my comment that refers to "changing one or two illustrations or disabling ads on those particular pages." My comment concerned policies, not pages.

          • John Dowser

            Your comment was about Google ad policies leading to Antiwar being asked to change some illustrations or disabling ads on certain pages. But introducing potential "Pulitzer Prize winning" photos or some theory that Google might, at some point, extent their policy to textual content remains wild speculation. Or more accurate: hyperbole. Google's policy does not apply to text content according to their own policy but correct me if I'm wrong.

        • http://icymi.co James
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  • http://www.washingtonsblog.com Rob

    "A federal trade probe found Google skewed search results to favor its own services and products while demoting rivals, but the government decided not to pursue antitrust action, newly released documents show."
    http://rt.com/usa/242713-google-ftc-search-result

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  • Peter

    I wonder if there is a good alternative to gmail after reading this. Google has their right to run a business as they see fit (even though I think they get told by someone what to see fit) but we also have our right to walk away from using their services.

  • http://tutanota.de Tutanotafan

    Tutanota – the best replacement of the spying Gmail.

    • AngelaKeaton

      Thank you. Any suggestions like this are great.

      • jsgalt

        ptoronmail.ch is rising similar to tutanota

        For VPNs cryptostorm.is seems to be the best.

    • John Dowser

      If it comes to reliable mail, I'd recommend Fastmail for personal, family or business use. It's an Australian company so legally in a bit different position from US companies. They correctly encrypt all central email storage and communication between data centres (while Google didn't in the past) and there's no agreement in place to let anyone access anything. They have proven to me to be reliable over many years now while many new super-secure start-ups still have themselves to prove. The really paranoid should set up their own systems but at some point it's a trade-off between costs, effort and trusting external parties to do as they say.

  • ssemans

    How about a campaign to boycott click ads on google searches? If you see an interesting ad, don't be lazy and click on it, just copy the company name or the url as it appears in the ad and . . . . . google it – how much harder is that? Make it a habit. The advertiser still gets a shot at your business, you don't have to convince people to use another search engine, but google gets no revenue.

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  • t. mauel

    Google doesn't allow gore? Get real. They own Utube and a great deal of the content at that site is loaded with gore and worse and is heavily advertised at the same time.
    Google is trying to suppress this photo because it doesn't correspond to the Washington narrative concerning Ukraine. Do not give in to their political suppression of the facts of another disastrous war fueled by Washington.

  • mary

    When you are dealing with google, you are apparently dealing with a private company but are you? Who is intel-q anyway?

  • Sam

    If Google really had "standards" for its advertising operations, then 75% of the ads posted BY Google would fail to meet true standards. Why? These ads are from scammers trying to lure people to depart with their money. Only a small percentage are from consumer products companies. For example on this site, scammers know the readers are politics-oriented. They post something which appears to ask some "newsworthy" question. If the viewer clicks, they go to a place trying to sell them something that appeals to certain political views. "Financial Apocalypse" scams are popular. The ad says there are signs of economic collapse. Click on the ad and you can buy a guide to "survival" in hard times. I am here critical of both Google and Antiwar.com because both know what those ads are doing.

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  • FrankInFL

    "That’s what desperate, crumbling powers do when things don’t go their way."

    Eff Google.

  • Monster from the Id

    Google has apparently dropped the "Don't" from their famous motto.

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  • http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org Andy Wilcoxson

    Google are such hypocrites. I tried to post a video on YouTube about Serbs who had been massacred by Bosnian-Muslim soldiers around Srebrenica, but they pulled the video from YouTube because it showed the bodies of the dead Serbs and they said it violated their prohibition on violence/gore. However, YouTube hosts many other videos about the Srebrenica massacre that show the bodies of Muslims massacred by Serbs. Not only that, YouTube even hosts some videos of people actually being lined-up and shot whereas the video I tried to post only showed the aftermath of the killings. There are also any number of videos on YouTube that show the bodies of people allegedly massacred by the Syrian government. The double-standard is pretty obvious. They don't apply their rules in an evenhanded manner at all, they apply them in whatever manner suits the State Dept. If the United States or ally perpetrates a war crime, then Google suppresses the images of those victims by claiming that their rules prohibit violence and gore, but if an "enemy" or an entity that the State Dept. wants to demonize perpetrates a war crime then Google has no problem with publicizing gory images of those victims. The hypocrisy is blatant.

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  • Daryl

    consortiumnews.com has also been blocked from Google Adsense.

    I think it is a good practice that web pages abstain from loading files
    from sites like google.com. If not, it allows Google to keep track of
    which machines read certain pages, as in such cases the http “referer”
    received by Google identifies the address the website, and actually
    the webpage which originated the request for the resource (image or
    file). [Of course one could use browser extensions like RefControl
    to fake, or to send no “referer” information, but most people are
    not so careful or disciplined to use such tools.]

    Even library catalogues, such as those run by external companies
    such as BiblioCommons, often incorporate elements from google.
    However one should be aware that complaints to libraries about
    their use of catalogs which allow google to spy on users
    do not always go unnoticed. For example, Stanford’s SearchWorks
    online catalogue now offers the option of opting out of google-analytics,
    (although it comes with a note that the information collected by Google
    is useful to Stanford.). For years I have been uncomfortable
    about antiwar.com loading elements from google, but have not said
    anything. Hence I am happy to see that now google might be purged out
    from antiwar.com.

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  • http://teologiacompleta.com teologiacompleta

    Complex thing to discuss. When you are dealing with google, you are apparently dealing with a private company. Now if you want to point out Google's hypocrisy that is also a simple matter. For example, their policy states "Google ads may not appear on content that incites or advocates for harm against an individual or group." Yet you can find Google Ads on all types of pages that advocate for war against Iran or ISIS , etc., all of which are "groups", like Washington Post (not sure they use Google Ads but they are war-mongerers).

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