Microsoft terminates its association with the organisation that blacklists conservative news

Following many Washington Examiner exposes, Microsoft has suspended its membership in a misinformation monitoring group's covert blacklist of conservative media organisations and has started an internal probe.

The Global Disinformation Index, a group that seeks to "defund" and stifle unpopular speech, has covertly developed a blacklist of conservative websites that is adhered to by the Microsoft-owned ad network Xandr. 

Microsoft has started a review of its connection with GDI and has ceased use of the organization's services in response to the Washington Examiner's findings.

A spokeswoman said on Saturday night that "we attempt to adopt a fundamental approach to accuracy and combating foreign misinformation." "While we do a deeper evaluation, Xandr has stopped utilising GDI's services while we work rapidly to solve the problem."

According to publicly available records, Xandr subscribed before GDI's exclusion list, which is reported to cover at least 2,000 websites. Microsoft has reversed course after the Washington Examiner reported on Friday that Xandr had barred important advertisers from funding conservative websites because they were "false/misleading," "hate speech," or "reprehensible/offensive."

Whistleblowers in the advertising sector came forward, and internal Xandr data was released to the Washington Examiner, leading to that discovery. The data revealed that the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Newsmax, Breitbart, the Blaze, the Washington Times, and Judicial Watch were some of the websites tagged by Xandr as "false/misleading."

Emails reveal that in September 2022, Xandr alerted publishers that it will start using the GDI blacklist. It is on the list, the Washington Examiner has discovered. 

The American Spectator, Newsmax, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News Network, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, and the New York Post are among the ten "riskiest" publications and greatest purveyors of "disinformation," according to GDI.

An official from the advertising sector recently told the Washington Examiner that in this instance, Xandr made it impossible for us to communicate with our voters in the crucial days preceding Election Day. "They read the Examiner, Daily Wire, Townhall, and other publications.

These news and opinion websites are visited by voters to help them make decisions. Microsoft is deliberately prohibiting us from speaking to voters on the public squares where their decisions are being influenced if they are using their technology to prevent us from placing advertising on these websites."