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Google now censors anti-war website featuring images of Western human rights abuses


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(NaturalNews) A U.S.-based web site critical of interventionist conflict has alleged that Google has censored some of its content, calling the action "authoritarian" and accusing the media giant of acting like "an arm of the U.S. State Department.

The complaint from the founders of AntiWar.com, a news portal which has been online for more than a decade, came after they said Google stopped providing adverts on a number of its stories. Officials from Google said the content violated the company's policies.

As reported by Russia Today:

The conflict erupted [March 22], when the tech giant notified the website that its advertising service AdSense would be disabled, due to depictions of "violence" and "gore" next to its ads, in what Antiwar.com said was a "big hit" to its funding. As an example of the violations it listed a 2006 article containing photos of torture from Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq - which Antiwar.com says has been viewed over 2 million times - and urged the administrators to "check all other remaining sites in your account for compliance."

Censorship or good policy?

"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 US government and paid for with your tax dollars," said a statement from Antiwar.com, which went on to urge readers to complain directly to Google about the policy.

"To say this is an utter outrage would be an understatement: It is quite simply the kind of situation one might expect to encounter in an authoritarian country where state-owned or state-connected companies routinely censor material that displeases the government. Is Google now an arm of the US State Department?" the statement continued.

The offending article, again, has been online for nearly a decade and had gone unnoticed by Google censors. According to the media giant, the article is improper because it violated the following Google policies:

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.

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.

Moving on from Google AdSense

However, Angela Keaton, AntiWar.com's director of operations, told RT in a televised interview that Google removed the story without providing a requisite 72-hour warning. Also, she said even if the content was in violation of Google polices, it was "equating news with titillation" and therefore suppressing legitimate reportage.

After the story was picked up by wider media, Google reexamined its position. AntiWar.com editors say that a member of Google's AdSense team pledged to review the content personally, and apologized for "poor service."

Google eventually reinstated AdSense, but the conflict between the site and the media giant flared again within days over a May 2014 article published by AntiWar.com containing an Associated Press photo of Ukrainian rebels killed by government forces. Google officials said that photo, too, violated the company's policies.

AntiWar.com says it won't play "whack-a-mole" with Google over its content. As such, the site has decided to end its contract with Google AdSense altogether.

"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," said the editorial team.





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