Major online ad exchange AppNexus has blacklisted news site Breitbart for “breaking their service rules regarding hate speech”.
The move means that Breitbart can still sell ads, just not on AppNexus’ online marketplace, the second largest to Google’s.
In a statement, AppNexus said it would no longer allow Breitbart to sell ad space via its platform, after determining that the site had broken its code on hate speech and incitement to violence.
However, the ad exchange has not given examples of “hate speech” found on the site.
Breitbart responded saying it “has always and continues to condemn racism and bigotry in any form”.
AppNexus is a technology and programming company that also acts as one of the highest-grossing ad networks for news websites.
Breitbart was not a direct client of AppNexus but its access to some advertisers will be cut as a result of the move, although it’s unclear how much this would hurt its revenue.
A spokesman for AppNexus said that a “human audit” of Breitbart had flagged several articles that had caused it concern because of the language they had featured.
“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language,” the company said.
Breitbart is a highly-conservative news agency that has drawn criticism from those who say that it perpetuates anti-semitism, white nationalism, and various sentiments favoured by the so called “alt-right” movement epitomised by figures such as President elect Donald Trump.
The site has remained a point of discussion after its controversial former chief, Steve Bannon, was selected to become chief strategist to Trump during his upcoming presidency.
Facebook and Google have said recently that they are prohibiting fake news sites from using their ad networks. This case is different though — AppNexus is not banning Breitbart for posting fake news, but for posting “hate speech”.