Microsoft has stopped partnering with a foreign think tank, pending review, that was designed to blacklist conservative media. The tech company also reportedly removed negative flags for conservative media outlets.
After Breitbart News, the Washington Examiner, and the Daily Caller News Foundation highlighted how a Microsoft-owned ad network, Xandr, employed foreign think tank Global Disinformation Index’s (GDI) media blacklist, otherwise known as the “Dynamic Exclusion List,” Microsoft said it has stopped using its blacklist, pending review.
“We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda. We’re working quickly to fix the issue and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Breitbart News.
Now, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Gabe Kaminsky, Xandr has removed “rejection flags,” for conservative outlets.
“I just checked in Xandr’s platform again and can confirm that all rejection flags have been removed from domains,” a senior ad executive told Kaminsky.
The Microsoft-tied activity got a lot of attention from alternative news reporters. Now, the Micronauts have ceased their labeling… Yes, for now: Disinformation Inc: Microsoft removes conservative sites from blacklist ‘defunding’ outlets https://t.co/Ec7MJs6mV6
— Gardner Goldsmith (@gardgoldsmith) February 13, 2023
The outlet reported that 39 prominent conservative media outlets including Breitbart News, the Blaze, the Washington Times, Judicial Watch, MRC.TV, RealClearPolitics, the Daily Wire, and the Examiner were flagged as “false/misleading.”
Breitbart News’s Hannah Bleau noted:
GDI’s CEO, Clare Melford, cited Breitbart News in a 2022 podcast appearance, noting that a “whole ecosystem of organizations” targeting the outlet has led to it being deplatformed. She went a step further, pointing to Breitbart News’s coverage of crimes committed by illegal aliens. While she admitted those stories are “probably perfectly true,” she said it creates an “adversarial narrative.”
Many of these outlets that Xandr flagged as “false/misleading” were included on the GDI’s top ten list of outlets that were most at risk of spreading disinformation.
The Examiner elaborated:
However, according to an updated internal Xandr dataset provided to the Washington Examiner, all of these websites do not currently have a designation. It is unclear whether this means they now are receiving ads from certain brands, given that domains allowed to obtain ads are provided an “approved” classification, data show.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that GDI also receives taxpayer money from the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC).
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.