Statement: Ad Tech Companies: Stop Journalism-Harming Keyword Blocking Practices

The News Media Alliance and Digital Content Next call on digital advertisers and digital advertising companies to stop using keyword blocking practices that jeopardize the sustainability of high-quality journalism during this critical time. While many advertisers have decreased or ceased their spending on digital advertising altogether due to the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, others are using keywords to block their ads from appearing on COVID-19-related content.

Alliance President & CEO David Chavern said, “News organizations are working tirelessly to provide reliable and trustworthy information to their communities; a life-saving service at this unprecedented time. Keyword blocking serves to punish publishers for this very same coverage, with potentially catastrophic effects.”

Digital Content Next President & CEO Jason Kint said, “At the same time newsrooms have necessarily shifted coverage towards informing the public on this global pandemic, immature tech platforms are blocking the funding of this journalism. We repeat our call for the advertising technology and verification platforms, including Google and Oracle, which have a strong history of reducing friction, to dedicate urgent resources towards solutions here, including exempting or encouraging trusted news organizations as a default.”

Fact-based, reliable journalism supports the online ecosystem by providing readers with invaluable information and advertisers with high-quality content and access to these readers. Keyword blocking threatens this symbiotic relationship at the worst possible time.

Chavern continued, “We risk a very real information disaster if we do not ensure the continued sustainability of high-quality journalism at this critical juncture. This is a global emergency, and the public needs access to information that helps them protect their families, plan for their futures, and learn about public health efforts to combat this pandemic.”


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