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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Google Pausing All Political Ads, Airbnb Canceling All DC Reservations This Week

Google has informed its advertising partners that beginning Jan. 14, its platforms will block all political ads, as well as any related to the Capitol insurrection, “following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration,” Axios reports citing an internal email.

Advertisers won’t be able to run any political ads or ads ”referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the ongoing presidential impeachment process, violence at the U.S. Capitol, or future planned protests on these topics,” according to the email, which also said that “there will not be any carveouts in this policy for news or merchandise advertisers.”

The ban applies to ads running through Google’s ad tech platforms including Google Ads, DV360, YouTube, and AdX Authorized Buyer.

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The company said it will be “extremely vigilant” about enforcing its Dangerous and Derogatory Content policy, and added that it will “carefully examine a number of factors before deciding to lift this policy for advertisers,” but that the current plan is to keep this policy in place until at least Jan. 21, after inauguration.

Google’s announcement is in line with a broader strategy that the tech giant has been using for years to prevent confusion around sensitive events. In March and early April, it implemented a temporary ban on advertising with COVID-19-related terms to stop confusion from spreading around fake goods or price-gouging related to the pandemic.

Separately, Airbnb announced on Wednesday morning that it will cancel reservations in DC area during inauguration week, saying that the company has “identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol … they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.”

The full statement is below:

Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week. Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations.

Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb’s expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations. HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled.

Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration. Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.

We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community. As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb. Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.

We expect that with just one week left until the inauguration, even more tech giants will severely curb – or block – activity altogether as the media frenzy boils over.

Zerohedge

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