GOOGLES ANTI-BREITBART PLOT: Employees Targeted Ad Revenue in 2017
Emails leaked exclusively to Breitbart News reveal a group of Google
employees, with encouragement from the tech giant’s director of
monetization, began plotting the downfall of this website shortly after
the 2016 election.
The group sought to strike at Breitbart News’ revenue by kicking the
site off Google’s market-dominating ad services. Although their efforts
ultimately failed, the discussion featured senior Google employees
speaking frankly about their reasons for targeting the site. These
included unfounded allegations of “hate speech” and “fake news.”
In the leaked emails, Google employee Richard Zippel advised a fellow
employee that Google would act against Breitbart News “at the site
level” if sufficient examples of “hate” were found. This kicked off a
concerted effort to find evidence of “hate speech” on Breitbart.
Another employee, David Richter, then forwarded Zippel’s email to his
colleagues, urging them to scour Breitbart for examples. Of course,
according to the far-left definitions used by Silicon Valley, even the
term “illegal alien” can be categorized as hate speech.
According to LinkedIn, Richter is now a technical lead at Google Cloud
Storage, where he oversees privacy and security.
The Monetization Director
In the email thread that followed, Google’s Director of monetization, Jim
Gray, confirmed that his team had been monitoring Breitbart News on a
weekly basis “since the origin[al] fake news kick-off discussion.”
The comment, made in February 2017, was little over three months since
left-wing media kicked off the fake news panic – allegedly over Macedonian
bloggers publishing genuinely fake articles for clicks and ad revenue.
Gray’s statement confirms that in Silicon Valley, conservative media was
a prominent target of the fake news panic from the very beginning. For
these Google employees, the chosen method of attack was Breitbart News’ ad
revenue – which like most websites on the internet, makes use of Google’s
Gray’s enthusiasm to deplatform Breitbart News also raises questions over
how he managed YouTube, where he also directed monetization according to
his LinkedIn profile. His time in that role overlaps with a period
of widespread complaints about
the unfair removal of ad revenue from political channels on YouTube.
Instead of challenging the transparently political (the internal
discussion group was labeled “resist”!) effort to demonetize the web’s
leading conservative website, Gray instead sought to reassure the group
that action was being taken. Using the jargon-rich corporate talk beloved
on Silicon Valley, Gray hinted at efforts underway at Google to make it
easier to strip ad revenue from inconvenient websites.
“A Moral Argument”
The discussion was then joined by Jeff Lakusta, head of technical support
for Google’s ad buying software. Inviting colleagues to join a
collaborative project, Lakusta said it would be “tough” to prove Breitbart
is hate speech only a “thorough” approach would result in Google
demonetizing the website.
As Breitbart News previously reported, Lakusta would
later follow up his efforts by co-authoring an open letter to
Google’s management, demanding that Breitbart News be demonetized.
Later in the discussion, employees directly involved in the policy area
chimed in, including a member of the legal team for AdSense, the Google
platform relied upon by many digital publishers for ad revenue.
The employee, Emily Garber then assured Google employees that Breitbart
was “very much on our radar.”
“There is obviously a moral argument to be made as well as a business
case,” chimed in another Googler employee, Ryan Garza.
Garza’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he liaises directly with Google’s
large advertising clients to help them solve “policy and technical
Emily Garber later returned to the discussion thread, where she confirmed
that the anti-Breitbart spreadsheet had been passed to Google’s trust and
The Digital Ad Monopoly
Earlier this year, Breitbart News revealed that a cabal of employees in
Google’s ad department were directing the company’s ad clients to the page
of Sleeping Giants, a far-left organization that attempts to deplatform
conservative media organizations – including Breitbart News – by spreading
slander to their advertisers.
In the same report, Breitbart News revealed that Jeff Lakusta, Pierre
Fite-georgel, and Tim Chevalier had authored an open letter to Google’s
management formally requesting that Breitbart be demonetized. It now
appears that the letter was the tail-end of a long process within Google
to smear Breitbart as a place for “fake news” and “hate speech,” that
began mere months after the 2016 election.
Being kicked off the service would be a major financial blow for any
website – which is no doubt why Google’s famously far-left employees worked so
hard to make it happen.
Update — A Google spokeswoman responded to
Breitbart News’ request for comment with the following statement:
We have extensive and very well publicized policies for publishers
who choose to monetize with Google ads. We enforce these policies
vigorously, consistently and without any political bias. We regularly
and routinely review sites in our ad network to ensure compliance with
our policies. These emails from early 2017 simply show the AdSense
team explaining that such a periodic review was underway.
Google did not answer Breitbart News’ more specific inquiries, including
whether the company has any formal internal safeguards against internal