NewsGuard Announces ‘Responsible Advertising for News Segments’ Menu to Allow Brands to Stop Funding Misinformation While Restoring Ads to Quality News Publishers, Including Sites Serving Minority Communities and Local News Sites

NewsGuard Announces ‘Responsible Advertising for News Segments’ Menu to Allow Brands to Stop Funding Misinformation While Restoring Ads to Quality News Publishers, Including Sites Serving Minority Communities and Local News Sites

Fully transparent RANS tools enable CEOs, CMOs and ESG board committees at companies that make Corporate Social Responsibility a priority to stop enabling misinformation and hoaxes–and return revenue to trustworthy news sites 

(March 30, 2021, New York and London) NewsGuard, a company that deploys journalists to rate the credibility of news and information websites, has launched new exclusion and inclusion tools for marketers. The new Responsible Advertising for News Segments (RANS) include a constantly updated exclusion list to protect companies from having their ads unintentionally fund thousands of misinformation and hoax websites. The RANS inclusion list restores advertising to quality news sites, from trustworthy global news brands to smaller publishers serving communities of interest, which are being denied much-needed advertising revenue. 

RANS will include the industry’s first inclusion list giving advertisers the option to include high-quality news and information news sites targeting the communities harmed by over-use of keyword blocklisting, including hundreds of websites serving Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities.

“We’ve done multiple reports highlighting the problem of thousands of trusted brands funding COVID-19 and election hoax sites at the same time that their use of the verification companies’ blocking words de-funds trusted news sites,” said NewsGuard co-CEO Steven Brill. “Even for brands whose CEOs, boards, and shareholders have so admirably made corporate social responsibility a priority this has been a blind spot—not because they want to advertise irresponsibly, but because ad tech alone cannot do the job or even report accurately where it is failing. RANS gives CEOs and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) board committees a simple, inexpensive way to measure CSR success, ensuring that corporate advertising dollars match their values by no longer unintentionally funding the online misinformation and disinformation that has become such a scourge.”

NewsGuard reports have found that programmatic advertising—which represents more than 85% of all digital advertising, totaling $80 billion in annual spending in the U.S. in 2020—currently funds misinformation and defunds quality news. For example, more than 4,000 blue-chip companies are funding COVID-19 misinformation sites, and more than 1,000 of these companies along with their programmatic advertising service providers funded “Stop the Steal” sites leading up to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. At the same time, much of the advertising inventory is currently deemed brand unsafe by keyword blocklists of terms such as “COVID-19,” “Black” and “gay,” cutting off ad revenue from hundreds of reliable news sites. 

“Artificial intelligence tools can be trained to identify pornography and hate speech, but until now there hasn’t been a tool available for the programmatic advertising process—for ad agencies, demand side platforms (DSPs) and verification companies—to protect brand safety against websites publishing hoaxes and misinformation,” said NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz. 

Media planning and buying agencies including IPG Mediabrands and Omnicom Media Group are making NewsGuard’s tools available to their clients, as will demand side platforms, supply side platforms and marketing technology firms. NewsGuard is in discussions with companies in numerous industries including financial services, technology, consumer goods and e-commerce about adding this new layer of brand-safety protection and corporate responsibility tool.

“These tools will be an important step forward in helping our clients advertise responsibly by avoiding websites that spread misinformation while supporting legitimate news sites that adhere to the basic journalistic standards that NewsGuard assesses,” said Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital Officer of UM and Global Brand Safety Officer of Mediabrands.

“We have enabled our clients to block misinformation via inclusion lists for some time,” said Megan Pagliuca, Chief Activation Officer, Omnicom Media Group NA. “In working with NewsGuard, we can provide our clients deeper granularity to curate the right inventory and  support publishers with editorial integrity,” she added.

The new RANS provide one-click options for advertisers to exclude thousands of websites publishing misinformation and hoaxes—many of which would not have financial support without this unintended advertising—and to include thousands of high-quality news sites. The “Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+” segment, for example, enables advertisers to support quality news sites serving these groups, while delivering valuable audiences to marketers.

“The combination of COVID-19 hoaxes and the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol has made it urgent to solve the longstanding misinformation crisis plaguing the programmatic advertising industry,” said NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinksi. “No responsible advertiser or ad tech company intends advertising to fund thousands of misinformation and hoax sites, yet until now there has not been an effective solution available to them. At the same time, it’s an outrage that ‘keyword blocklists’ are boycotting advertising inventory on quality news sites.”

“We’re especially glad to launch the advertising industry’s first inclusion segment created to restore advertising to websites serving Black, Hispanic, Asian and LGBTQ+ communities,” said Carter Stone, NewsGuard ‘s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “NewsGuard has identified high-quality news and information sites serving these communities that are effectively being boycotted through overuse of keyword blocklists.”

Clients can leverage NewsGuard’s unique, constantly updated data about news credibility, curated by trained journalists based on nine basic, apolitical and fully disclosed and transparent journalistic criteria:

  • Exclusion Segments: To exclude thousands of NewsGuard-identified misinformation websites from their campaigns, solving the urgent brand safety problem of ads supporting hoax sites and getting ahead of the current threats of shareholder litigation and media focus.
  • Inclusion Segments: To target quality news websites by adding thousands of trusted sources vetted by the NewsGuard team and certified as credible and brand-safe. This enables marketers to increase campaign reach by creating exceptions when using keyword blocklists, so that pages on credible news sites are included even if they mention a blocked term.
  • “Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ News” segment: To restore advertising to high-quality sites serving specific communities of interest. Keywork blocklists banning terms such as “Black,” “Asian” and “gay” deny hundreds of websites much-needed advertising revenue. By using the NewsGuard curated list of these Green-rated (Trustworthy) sites, advertisers can end what has effectively become boycotts of these sites.

RANS Pre-Bid Segments

“Responsible Advertising for News Segments” Continuously Updated Exclusion Lists: 

“NewsGuard Misinformation Websites Exclusion List” is our recommended off-the-shelf solution. Exclude known misinformation websites: Exclude all websites with Red (Untrustworthy) ratings from NewsGuard, meaning their NewsGuard Trust Scores are below 60 out of 100. Choose this option for the strongest protection against misinformation. (All other exclusion segments are included in this segment.)

(Optional) Custom exclusion list categories:

  • Exclude health misinformation websites: Exclude all websites flagged as untrustworthy by NewsGuard for publishing health hoaxes such as false cures, anti-vaccine misinformation, or other medical falsehoods.
  • Exclude partisan political misinformation websites: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for partisan political misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • Exclude election misinformation websites: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for publishing falsehoods about voting or election integrity.
  • Exclude QAnon conspiracy websites: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for content advancing elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
  • Exclude COVID-19 misinformation websites: Exclude websites flagged as untrustworthy for publishing falsehoods about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Responsible Advertising for News Segments” Continuously Updated Inclusion Lists:

“NewsGuard Highly Trusted News Inclusion List” is the recommended off-the-shelf solution. Target highly trusted news websites: Include or target websites with overall Green ratings from NewsGuard and high trust scores (85 out of 100 or higher). Sites in this segment adhere to all of NewsGuard’s key credibility criteria and are highly unlikely to publish false, inflammatory, or irresponsible content that could damage a brand’s reputation.

Or advertisers can choose from one of these custom allow list categories:

  • Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ News Inclusion List: Includes websites with high NewsGuard trust scores (85+) and a focus on communities of interest disproportionately harmed by keyword blocklists. This segment consists of sites serving communities of color, including the sites of Black, Hispanic, and Asian newspapers, broadcasters and digital-only sites, as well as sites serving LGBTQ+ communities.
  • NewsGuard Trusted Local News Inclusion List: Includes websites with high NewsGuard trust scores (85+) and a focus on local and regional news. This segment consists of local newspapers and TV stations, local blogs and digital-only outlets.
  • NewsGuard Trusted Nonpartisan News Inclusion List: Target websites with high NewsGuard trust scores (85+) and no noticeable partisan or political leaning.

Activating NewsGuard’s RANS Segments

NewsGuard’s RANS offering can be activated at various points within the digital ad ecosystem: 

  • Activate RANS through NewsGuard’s pre-bid contextual targeting options in Amobee, MediaMath, Basis by Centro, AppNexus, and Undertone DSPs offered within the Peer39 contextual marketplace.
  • Activate RANS through NewsGuard’s agency partners, including IPG Mediabrands and Omnicom Media Group, which have made NewsGuard available to clients. 
  • Activate RANS by partnering directly with NewsGuard to enhance your brand’s advertising domain inclusion or exclusion lists. 


About NewsGuard

Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top hoaxes.

NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable.

Advertisers, advertising agencies and advertising tech companies can license NewsGuard’s brand-safety product, BrandGuard. NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can access these ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs $2.95/month and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and NewsGuard’s ratings can also be accessed free through the Edge mobile browser. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.

NewsGuard Contacts:

Steven Brill, Co-CEO, steven.brill@newsguardtech.com
Gordon Crovitz, Co-CEO, gordon.crovitz@newsguardtech.com
Matt Skibinski, General Manager, matt.skibinski@newsguardtech.com
Carter Stone, VP, Strategic Partnerships, carter.stone@newsguardtech.com