Antiwar.com, an alternative media organization that has been covering war crimes and American interventionism for over a decade, was recently dropped by Google adsense. The context advertising service claims Antiwar.com has displayed content that was "too gory."
Google has drawn a rather crooked line on the sand this March 18 by dropping Antiwar’s adsense support in reference to images of Abu Ghraib detainees being abused by US troops in Iraq, dating back to 2006.
After the word got out and Gawker reported on it, Google seemed to back down, contacting Antiwar.com and reassuring them adsense would be restored. The next day however, they received another message from the adsense team, asking them to remove this article, which contains images of dead soldiers killed by the Ukrainian Government last year.
Google’s policies dictate that publishers are not to advertise on “content that contains graphic or gory images such as bloodshed, fight scenes, and gruesome or freak accidents,” subtly leaving out war as one of the examples. Where the line begins to get crooked is in their consistent application of this policy, or the apparent the lack thereof.
Eric Garris, founder of Antiwar.com wrote in regards to Google’s Abu Ghraib page take down request:
“This page has been up for 11 years. During all that time Google Adsense has been running ads on our site – but as Washington gets ready to re-invade Iraq, and in bombing, killing, and abusing more civilians, they suddenly decide that their ;anti-violence’ policy, which prohibits ‘disturbing material,’ prohibits any depiction of violence committed by the U.S. government and paid for with your tax dollars. [The Abu Ghraib page] is the third-most-visited page in our history, getting over 2 million page views since it was posted.”
Adding to the case made by Garris, multiple other news sites have reported on the Ukrainian killings and posted the same images shown on their article, meanwhile their adsense is yet to be dropped. Some examples are the Dailymail and Ktar, among others.
Though Google adsense certainly has the right to chose who uses their adsense services - as any libertarian would argue - it is also plausible that by withdrawing their support of sites containing images of war, they are making it more difficult for journalists to fund their research, consequentially enabling the war machine through silence.
Or perhaps it is a freak coincidence that the Google block dice rolled over Antiwar.
Either way, after the second take down request was submitted, Garris declared “We have no intention of letting Google dictate our editorial policies,” soon after making a call out to advertisers who want to take Google’s place, as well as for donations to help ease the loss of revenue.
Do they accept bitcoin? Of course!
As Operations Developer Angela Keaton put it early last year “Bitcoin transactions are inherently pro-peace,” referring to decentralized money’s potential to replace fiat currencies and central banks, who routinely create new units out of thin air to fund the war machine, among other things.
Antiwar has been accepting bitcoin since 2012 and could use your help right now. Here’s their donation page.
You can also put some pressure on Google if you wish, Antiwar suggests that you “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.”
1600 Amphitheater Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
You can also interact with Google at their forum.
You can confirm Antiwar has been blocked at Adsenseblockchecker.
Here is Antiwar’s full post about the event.
How to dodge Google’s omnipresence
Last but not least, out of outrage with Google’s actions were born various comments on Antiwar’s blog post on how to avoid Google’s services. Here are some suggestions, which are almost as good while protecting your privacy.
Startpage is a search engine that claims to use the same database as google, while encrypting your traffic and searches, which reveal a shocking amount about your thoughts, deepest interests and concerns. For a taste, check out this leaked data base of searches on AOL -back in the day-, which is searchable per user.
As far as a replacement for Google docs and Google drive, to my knowledge we don’t have a privacy focused alternative yet, though Kim Dotcom’s Mega seems to be working on it and they already offer encrypted cloud storage with 50gbs for free!
What about social media? Well, if you even use Google plus, than maybe you would be interested in Synereo, the privacy centric “decentralized social media” platform that launched their crowdfunding on March 23rd. Also... #DumpFacebook.
Perhaps this will be a catalyst to changing the way we think about the internet. If Google is going to boycott anti-war efforts, than I say we #boycottGoogle, as well as any other arm of the NSA while we are at it.
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