The website The Liberty Conservative received a letter from Google which threatened to remove all ad revenue if the site didn’t remove an article the web giant deemed offensive.
Writer Shane Trejo said the article in question “contained no offensive content” and “merely distinguishing the many differences between the alt-right and literal Nazis.” But Trejo believes the piece was targeted because it was authored by James Allsup, who was involved in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
Trejo explained that the website “had to comply with Google’s strong-arming tactics for the time being.”
“An independent publisher such as The Liberty Conservative needs revenue from the Google ad platform in order to survive,” he added. “We look forward to the day where rival ad platforms who respect the intellectual freedom of their customers can outcompete Google, but those days have not arrived yet.”
A screenshot of Google’s e-mail was included in the story. It reads:
This is a warning message to alert you that there is action required to bring your AdSense account into compliance with our AdSense program policies…
As stated in our program policies, Google ads may not be placed on pages that contain content that:
- Threatens or advocates for harm on oneself or others;
- Harasses, intimidates or bullies an individual or group of individuals;
- Incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity. or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.
Google suggested the best way to “resolve” this was to “remove the violating content.” For good measure, Google also urged The Liberty Conservative to review all of its content for violations to avoid receiving another letter.
Trejo noted how “deliberately vague and open for interpretation” Google’s policies are so it can use any “excuse to target any website or individual they so choose for any reason.”
“An incredibly dangerous precedent is obviously being set here, and if you think that it won’t impact you directly at some point, think again,” Trejo warned. “These tech companies have us all by the short hairs, and post-Charlottesville, they are all working in unison to enforce the Orwellian nightmare. Nobody is safe.”
In light of Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, et al. censoring conservative content en masse, Trejo's words are quite prescient:
All conservatives and libertarians must realize that the Orwellian nightmare enforced by private hands is just as harmful to human freedom as if the dystopia was enforced by the hands of government commissars. The results will be the same, as freedom of expression will be sacrificed to the God of political correctness. After they destroy free speech, the rest of our rights won’t be far behind. A world where digital lynch mobs can ruin people’s entire lives–harming their reputations, making it impossible to feed their families, and potentially subjecting them to retaliatory violence–for merely expressing an honest opinion would amount to a dark age for liberty…
This situation is much bigger than just a few fringe political figures being humiliated. If they can censor us and target people like Allsup to be digitally scrubbed from the internet, it will happen to you next. A world where Big Brother is judge, jury and executioner is right on the horizon, and that does not bode well for anyone except a small handful of oligarchs and elites. We all must band together, eschewing mindless partisanship, to defeat the burgeoning Orwellian surveillance state before our rights are lost forever.