Posted on June 21, 2020

Google’s Double Standard

Ian Jobling, American Renaissance, April 2004

On Dec. 29, 2003, American Renaissance started a “sponsored links” ad campaign to promote AR when people did Google searches on terms like “race and IQ,” “race and intelligence,” “black crime,” etc. The results of a search on these expressions would include a small ad for the American Renaissance conference, with a link to our site. The campaign was useful: in three weeks, our ad came up 35,142 times, and 192 people clicked on it and came to our site. We paid five cents for every click.

On Jan. 21, Google stopped our campaign, saying our website contained “language that advocates against an individual, group, or organization.” Google also told us it did not allow anyone to buy “sponsored links” for the terms “race and IQ,” “innate race differences,” “anti-white,” “racialism,” and others, also on the grounds that this language advocated against an individual, group, or organization. They let our ads run for three weeks only because they hadn’t gotten around to looking at them.

I asked Google to explain its decision, pointing out that many websites that advocate against an individual, group, or organization buy sponsored links. Conservative websites that advocate against liberals and liberal websites that advocate against conservatives buy sponsored links. Besides, I noted, Google searches on “American Renaissance” and “Jared Taylor” bring up an ad for a book called Homeland: Into a World of Hate. Clearly, this ad was advocacy against Jared Taylor and AR readers.

Google replied with a cheery “Hello Ian,” explaining that “it has been determined by the AdWords editorial staff that the American Renaissance website contains content that portrays images of particular groups of individuals, some of which are negative.” “As a business,” my correspondent continued, “Google must make decisions about where we draw the line in regards to the advertising we accept, both from a legal and company values perspective.” He assured me that “Google believes strongly in freedom of speech.” Furthermore, only our ads were affected: normal search results for “American Renaissance” were not filtered. Google promised to review the ad for Homeland, but it is still running.

What Google said about the normal search results was not entirely true. There is no filtering in the American version of Google. However, AR is one of many websites the French and German versions of Google will not list. Google is not to blame for these exclusions: Under the “anti-racism” laws of both these countries, it could be illegal for Google to list our site.