Google punishes financial website Naked Capitalism.

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The future of AI-powered censorship is here, and the early returns are as error-filled and clumsily destructive as Google’s infamous Gemini rollout.

On March 4th, Yves Smith — nom de plume for the editor of Naked Capitalism, a popular site containing economics commentary and journalism — received an ominous letter from its ad service company:

Hope you are doing well!
We noticed that Google has flagged your site for Policy violation and ad serving is restricted on most of the pages with the below strikes…

The letter went on to list four data fields: VIOLENT_EXTREMISM, HATEFUL_CONTENT, HARMFUL_HEALTH_CLAIMS, and ANTI_VACCINATION. From there the firm explained: “If Google identifies the flags consistently and if the content is not fixed, then the ads will be disabled completely to serve on the site.”

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“So this is a threat of complete demonetization,” says Smith.

She discovered a spreadsheet listing her offenses. Excerpts are reprinted below. The third image is the enhanced view of Google’s explanation for the last two entries:

Spreadsheet sent to Naked Capitalism by Google.

Naked Capitalism is run by Smith, a Harvard Business School graduate and longtime financial services sector expert. The site often tackles issues the financial press avoids and gained renown in the wake of the 2008 crash. (I appeared with Yves on a Moyers and Company show about banking years ago.) Naked Capitalism helped force the resignation of the SEC’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Inspections, Andrew Bowden when it described Bowden telling a Stanford audience containing many private equity executives how his son would like to work in private equity. Later, California Pension Fund chief Ben Meng resigned in the wake of the site’s reporting.

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Naked Capitalism is a home for smart, independent commentary about a financial services industry that is otherwise almost exclusively covered by writers and broadcasters who’d jump at a job offer from the companies they cover. It’s unique, useful and full of links and primary source material. What 16 items did Google find objectionable in its archive of 33,000 posts?

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