Microsoft Ad Company Suspends Subscription to Biased Site’s Blacklist: Report

February 15th, 2023 12:37 PM

Microsoft has launched a review of its relationship with a so-called “disinformation” tracking company after the blacklist compiler was exposed for anti-“conservative” bias and connections to George Soros.

Xandr, a Microsoft-owned ad company, suspended its association with the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) after it was revealed that GDI blacklisted some 2,000 sites, including “conservative websites,” according to a Feb. 11 Washington Examiner report. MRC Free Speech America also uncovered that GDI has three advisory board members with ties to leftist billionaire George Soros.

“It’s good that Microsoft has reportedly decided to suspend its relationship with a group that has targeted outlets for censorship,” stated MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “But it’s telling that Big Tech companies like Microsoft rarely seem to know or care about bias and censorship until after they’re called out for it.”

Microsoft tried to defend its supposed ignorance. “We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda,” a Microsoft spokesperson claimed in the Washington Examiner report. “We’re working quickly to fix the issue and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review.”

GDI’s website claims its mission is to “remove the financial incentive" to spread alleged "disinformation." It adds that its "core output" is a "Dynamic Exclusion List,” rating news outlets on the basis of a supposed “risk” factor of so-called “disinformation.”

Three Soros-tied members sit on a GDI’s advisory panel. Advisory Panel member Finn Heinreich is the division director for transparency, accountability, and participation at Soros’ Open Society Initiative for Europe. This makes Heinrich one of Soros’ flunkies. GDI identifies Advisory Panel member Ben Nimmo as part of the Atlantic Council on its website.

His profile states he was a nonresident senior fellow with the leftist organization, which Soros funds. The Washington Examiner reported that Nimmo also works as global lead for threat intelligence at Facebook parent company Meta. Cris Tardáguila, another GDI advisory panel member, was the former director of the Soros-funded Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). GDI currently shows Tardáguila as representing the IFCN on its website.

The Washington Examiner reported that GDI receives State Department funding and that First Amendment experts are now questioning if that is legal. GDI’s censorship may also interfere with elections, making government’s and tech companies’ relationship with the group even more sketchy.

“In this case, Xandr prevented us from talking to our voters in the critical days leading up to Election Day," an ad industry executive reportedly told the Washington Examiner. "Our audience reads the Examiner, Daily Wire, Townhall, etc. Voters go to these news & opinion sites [to] inform their decisions. And if Microsoft is using their technology to block us from showing ads on these websites, they're actively preventing us from talking to voters on the public squares where their decisions are being informed.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Microsoft here and demand that Big Tech be held to account to uphold the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.