“We always try to maintain the integrity and quality of our marketplace and if we see inventory that violates that, we turn it off. But we don’t turn off a newspaper because of political ideology," Zeitz said. “If people, either internally or externally, bring to our attention the possibility that something in our marketplace violates our rules, whether that’s technical, creative or content specific, we will take a look. We have an obligation to.”
Emails shared with AdExchanger by AppNexus appear to show O'Kelley treading carefully, requesting that his team clearly demonstrate hate speech from Breitbart rather than basing the argument for removal on content with a merely objectionable tone or on personal political belief.
Breitbart, which enthusiastically supported Donald Trump throughout his campaign, courts controversy with its far-right stances and what some consider racist content. The site’s former executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, was tapped by Trump for a key White House post on Nov. 13.
It’s worth noting that AppNexus and Breitbart were not direct partners, and Breitbart was never a client. Its inventory was exposed to buyers on the platform through third-party SSPs or networks that work with Breitbart and hook into AppNexus.
A human team at AppNexus first started looking into Breitbart about a week ago and shortly thereafter the company added the domain to its blacklist for disseminating what it considers to be inappropriate content, defined by AppNexus as sites that include “porn, piracy, hate speech, etc.”
Conduct a search for any derogatory and discriminatory word you can think of for women, minorities or homosexuals on Breitbart’s internal search engine and you’ll get numerous hits.
It’s unclear how the ban will impact Breitbart’s monetization. AppNexus is an ad tech unicorn and second only to Google in terms of scale, but the right-wing publisher isn’t hurting for ad tags.