Google is helping to fund one of India’s worst disinformation outlets — during elections (Check Myads)


As India holds its elections, Google is monetizing one of the country’s biggest propaganda and disinformation outlets.

OpIndia is a Hindu nationalist media site with a reputation for publishing Islamophobic content and other disinformation supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Google’s own publisher policies prohibit the monetization of content that “incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion,” and other criteria. Google also forbids monetizing content that “makes claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.”

But that doesn’t stop Google from monetizing OpIndia. Take, for example, ads placed by Google alongside this racist AI-generated image of Muslims.

A racist, AI-generated image of Muslims on OpIndia’s site is surrounded by ads served by Google.

India’s Muslims have faced discrimination for decades. They are increasingly the target of violence, and recent laws passed by the Modi government have further limited their rights, experts told the Council on Foreign Relations.

And while OpIndia works to spread Islamophobic content, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party government has worked to make the site profitable. In 2020, the BJP stepped in and asked Facebook to monetize OpIndia’s page.

OpIndia’s tendency to prop up Modi is so overt that, in 2019, its own co-founder Rahul Raj tweeted he had “distanced himself” from the outlet, which he said had become a “blind mouthpiece” of Modi’s government.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.

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