Google demonetizes content which "exploits, dismisses, or condones the war" in Ukraine

Google is notifying publishers that content that "exploits, dismisses, or condones the war" in Ukraine will not be monetized.

Dear Publisher,

Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.

Please note, we have already been enforcing on claims related to the war in Ukraine when they violated existing policies (for instance, the Dangerous or Derogatory content policy prohibits monetizing content that incites violence or denies tragic events). This update is meant to clarify, and in some cases expand, our publisher guidance as it relates to this conflict.

This pause includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.

Until next time,
The Google Ad Manager Team

It's Google's money (or, rather, that of advertisers using its ad-delivery infrastructure), and publishers aren't entitled to it. It's also a sharp reminder of how much influence this particular technology company has over the tone and content of coverage due to its strong position in the online ad market.

Google hints strongly that it's only targeting the most batshit dark-money nonsense ("such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide") which it's surely reasonable for an advertising middleman to say no to. But terms like "dismisses" and "exploits" are wide open to interpretation. Is it "dismissing" the war, for example, to speculate about the possibility that the war might embolden, empower and even equip the Ukrainian far-right in ways the U.S. and Zelenskyy's liberal government might later find hard to contain? Is it "exploiting" the war simply to post a lot about it, in the knowledge that war content has a large audience? Difficult times and difficult questions for everyone.