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Leading Ad Company Bans Breitbart News Over Hate Speech

AppNexus takes a stand against racist, sexist, and homophobic “news.”

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As Facebook and Google struggle with criticism that fake news stories may have influenced the recent presidential election, major digital advertising company AppNexus Inc. has banned Breitbart News for violating its hate speech rules. After President-Elect Trump named former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon White House chief strategist last week, AppNexus examined the Breitbart website and decided that the site's content violated their hate speech policy.

"We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language," AppNexus spokesman Joshua Zeitz said. "This blacklist was solely about hate speech violation," Zeitz added, pointing out that the ban was not due to misleading or fake news.  Breitbart used to display ads via AppNexus' exchange, and the ban may lower the price of ads on the website, decreasing the news service's revenue.

Recent headlines on Breitbart have called out “Muslim invaders,” a “Renegade Jew,” as well as a “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” Other headlines assert that “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy” and compare feminism to cancer. Breitbart has been criticized for sexist, homophobic, and racist headlines like these, but AppNexus is the first advertising company to block the site from using its service. "We would ban this as quickly as a site that has pornography and violence," Zeitz said. Other major ad services like Google continue to serve ads to Breitbart's site, however.