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Conservatives say Google engaging in political bias after blog loses ad revenue

Conservative blogs accuse Google of political bias after popular blog loses AdSense revenue.
Conservative blogs accuse Google of political bias after popular blog loses AdSense revenue.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Is Google targeting conservative blogs? Some conservatives now say that yes, it is. On Friday, the popular conservative news aggregator Weasel Zippers told it believes it was targeted by Google after losing its primary source of income. Earlier in the week, the blog said it lost its Adsense account for allegedly violating rules that call for original content.

The award-winning blog says it "scours the bowels of the Internet" to find news appealing to conservatives. It then posts snippets of articles with brief commentary and links to the original article. Weasel Zippers says it has done this for years without problems but Google now says that isn't sufficient.

The blog said Thursday "the only problem is according to their vague guidelines this would make almost every news website on the Internet that uses Adsense (and the vast majority do) out of compliance." As a result, the blog said it lost about 90 percent of its income.

"Hard not to see that I am being unfairly singled out, almost certainly because of my political views," the blog said.

But it turns out Weasel Zippers is not alone. On Friday, Townhall said Google was subjected to criticism and ridicule several years ago when it decided to "take a stand" against guns. Michael Schaus wrote that Google changed its Adsense agreement and algorithms to exclude tools of self-defense.

"In their 'prohibited' content section any website that sells or advertises 'weapons or ammunition (e.g., firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, or stun guns)'… Right," Schaus wrote. "Because selling a tool that is enumerated as a 'right' under America’s founding document is clearly antithetical to good business practices."

RedState's Ulysses Arn said Friday he was subjected to similar treatment by Google in April. Arn said Google's email "referenced a short piece I wrote about a story involving a possible Trayvon Martin revenge murder in Memphis." The appeal is in the works, but Arn said he has "extreme doubts" it will even be considered.

On Thursday, the conservative blog Poor Richard's News said the same thing happened to it about a year and a half ago. The blog said a number of conservative sites have received similar treatment as a result of what it called Google's political bias.

Google, to be fair, told Weasel Zippers it was not being singled out for its conservative political views, according to a transcript of a customer service call posted by the blog. The blog's owner, however, made it clear that practically every news site with the exception of the Associated Press and Reuters, could easily run afoul of Adsense policies.

The blog encouraged readers to politely ask Google to reverse its decision and warned that other sites could easily be targeted.

"If they are coming after me then it’s only a matter of time before other sites are taken down," the blog said.

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