Canadian Government Adds The Rebel, Breitbart, Drudge Report To Advertising Blacklist

The Canadian government have updated their list of websites added to a blacklist of sites that will not receive any kind of advertising from Canada’s government or subsidiary ad services.

CBC is reporting that there are no 3,071 websites that are blacklisted from receiving advertising support from the federal government in Canada. The list is maintained by Cossette Media, and the list is an exhaustive manifest of sites that usually deal with gambling, porn, promoting hate speech, or extreme violence.

However, some of the new sites added to the list include what the CBC labels as “conservative” media, including The Drudge Report, the Washington Times, Gateway Pundit, National Review, Breitbart, and The Rebel. These sites are classified as “far right”, and promoting “hate speech”.

Additional sites that also made the blacklist includes TMZ, Esquire, and Cosmopolitan.

CBC acquired the list through an Access to Information request.

The blacklist was established in 2012, and according to the report…

“The released version of the blacklist is non-alphabetical and uncategorized, with no information about the date a website was added nor about the reasons for its inclusion.”

According to Niclas Boucher, a media relations representative for Public Services and Procurement Canada, mentioned to the CBC that they’ve been steadily growing the list and expanding it as the internet continues to grow and change shape, saying…

“[…] as the internet landscape and industry trends change and technology advances […] Categories have expanded, and sensitivities evolve over time.”

[…] “”Sites may also be excluded if there have been comments or complaints about the content.”

According to Boucher, sites may also be excluded due to underperforming in advertising campaigns, but that would was not the case for a site like Breitbart, which saw record numbers during the Presidential Campaign last year. Boucher told the CBC that Breitbart was added in December, 2016 after receiving “complaints”.

The Rebel was added sometime after May of 2017, but CBC couldn’t determine when.

According to a document the outlet obtained, it explained that the whitelist and blacklist were about picking and choosing outlets that maintained an appropriate publication of media that didn’t tarnish the Canadian government as a brand…

“The screening process is based on criteria that the Government of Canada has been using for traditional media. These include ensuring that editorial content does not incite racial hatred, discrimination or the subversion of Canada’s democratic system of government.”

Other criteria for making the blacklist includes covering crime, death, tragedy, military conflict, bizarre or gross content, profanity, rough language, sexually suggestive content, sensational content, gambling content, shocking content, or “sensitive social issues”.

This advertising blacklist is almost identical to how YouTube has been operating recently. After August 8th, 2017, YouTube began utilizing a new content policing policy that saw them go on a wide-sweeping demonetization spree, adding many channels to an advertisement blacklist, where any new content uploaded by the user to a specific channel would be demonetized automatically.

These efforts of demonetizing content is set to have a chilling effect where it deters content producers from covering certain kinds of content in order to maintain an “advertiser friendly” appearance. Breitbart is no stranger to blacklists and advertisers pulling out. According to 디지 데이, the publication lost nearly 90% of its ads in a single quarter.


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