Responses from non-profits

Doctors Without Borders

Jolina Blier, Doctors Without Borders U.S. senior digital marketing manager:
“Doctors Without Borders USA has multiple digital advertising block lists that currently include more than 1,500 sites. These lists are updated regularly to filter out harmful sites, including misinformation. We added this website to our block list as soon as it was flagged to us on Friday. We work to keep our exclusion lists as up to date as possible to maintain the integrity of our digital marketing program.”

Franklin University

Sherry Mercurio, executive director of Franklin University’s Office of Community Relations:
“Franklin University, as with many institutions and organizations, uses a number of different digital platforms to augment its digital advertising strategy. This approach is utilized for its ability to amplify and match audience insights and behaviors with potential target websites. Ad placement reporting is monitored and adjusted weekly to assess alignment. When necessary, specific websites are identified as being out of alignment with the University’s placement criteria and are therefore placed on a list of websites prohibited from displaying Franklin advertising. With this new notification, the University will add the website in reference to its prohibited site list and reach out to its digital ad placement provider to discuss how this particular situation can be avoided in the future, as well as examine how the University’s advertising policy can be more broadly analyzed.”

Hillsdale College

Emily Stack Davis, Hillsdale College executive director of media relations and communications:
“Thank you for making us aware of this situation. We had never heard of the website in question until your inquiry. As an academic institution, Hillsdale College is dedicated to “Pursuing Truth—Defending Liberty” in all its endeavors, including advertising. The ad you reference is the result of ad retargeting, a technique that serves ads to individuals who have previously expressed interest in Hillsdale College, either by visiting one of its websites or clicking one of its advertisements. We will review this matter internally and with our advertising partners in an effort to better reflect the audience the college is attempting to reach.”

Red Cross

All of our media is purchased via our media partner Havas who take brand safety extremely seriously across all channels, and as standard they implement ‘IAS’ Brand Safety measurement. The team have looked into the screenshot shared, and have found that the creative is similar to the content of the creative for a Legacy campaign but is not the exact creative that we ran and have on file, so potentially isn’t linked to our digital activity.

For further context:

  • What is the site: The Pravda paper is run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, whereas the online is privately owned and has international editions published in Russian, English, French and Portuguese. Content covers Russia, World, Society, Science, Incidents, Opinion and Business
  • Why have we appeared?: From our site report pulled directly from the Yahoo DSP (which is the digital activity we had live for legacy) and then also an IAS report we appeared on the Ukraine Pravda ( 239 times, not the Russian site shared by Newsguard in their email.  The screenshot NewsGuard have shared doesn’t look like it relates to the BRC Legacy campaign we have run.
  • For the Ukrainian version of the site, given we appeared 239 times, this would equate to £0.26 of campaign spend.
  • Prevention: To ensure we don’t appear against any harmful content, we have the IAS brand safety measure in place as mentioned.

Once again, thank you for contacting The British Red Cross (BRC) and alerting us, however the screenshot which you shared is not part of a BRC campaign and the site which you refer to is restricted via Brand Safety Measurement.

The following non-profits did not respond to NewsGuard’s attempt for comment

  • Planned Parenthood
  • Girl Scouts of the USA
  • Amnesty International
  • Purdue University
  • Elon University
  • Moreland University
  • Suffolk University
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • The City of New Haven’s vaccination program