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Global Disinformation Index removes funders from website

Clare Melford, CEO of the GDI

May 13, 2024 - 9:00pm

The Global Disinformation Index, an organisation that blacklists disfavoured media organisations, has removed several funders — including those affiliated with the US and UK governments — from its website following an UnHerd investigation.

The GDI aims to disrupt the business model of outlets accused of disinformation by blocking their advertising revenue, producing a list of supposed offenders for advertisers to avoid working with under the auspices of “brand safety”. Its algorithm for determining which content to defund doesn’t merely target false information, but also anything deemed part of an “adversarial narrative”, which in practice has meant targeting gender-critical and conservative ideas. UnHerd, for example, was blacklisted for publishing Kathleen Stock and other gender-critical columnists.

Before
After

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Disinfo Cloud, all of which were listed as funders in March, are no longer on the site. However, both the European Union and German Foreign Office remain listed, under a new heading cryptically entitled “select past and present funders”.

Disinfo Cloud, which was created and funded by the US State Department, is currently at the centre of a lawsuit from the Daily Wire and the Federalist over the government’s alleged funding of censorship projects targeting American speech. The conservative American media outlets are suing the federal government for allegedly throttling their journalism by funding and promoting Disinfo Cloud, which in turn funded the GDI.

British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron confirmed that the FCDO had stopped funding the GDI last year in a recent letter obtained by UnHerd, commenting that efforts to counter foreign disinformation needed to align with free speech values and underlining that there were no plans to resume funding.

The Times today ran a leading editorial against the GDI, citing the UnHerd case as an example of “stymying valuable and independent-minded journalism on the basis of little more than ideological prejudice”.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was contacted for comment.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
7 days ago

Kudos to Unherd, and a victory for independent thought.
I do wish those who accuse Unherd of bias on almost a daily basis just stopped to think a bit harder. On any given day, or series of days even, articles may swing in one direction or another as they’re commissioned and published.
This demonstrates the editorial team here are very much able to not just take on board varying points of view, but to stand up for themselves against the Blob.

J Bryant
J Bryant
7 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

I agree. It’s also worth mentioning that, thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the GDI, the voices most suppressed are conservative voices. So, to the extent part of Unherd’s mission is to let marginalized opinions be heard, there will inevitably be more right-leaning articles than left-leaning articles.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

‘Bias’, ‘disinformation’ and ‘impartiality’ are utterly bogus notions anyway. Every single human being on planet earth who is sentient is also biased. ‘Disinformation’ almost invariably turns out to be something the Oxbridge mafia just don’t want you to know or talk about.

When I hear or read about someone like Nick Robinson claiming to be an objective observer , in contrast, say, to a GB News commentator, I never cease to be gobsmacked by how utterly lacking in self-awareness our supposedly educated elites are.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
7 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Not content with being ridiculously materially and socially privileged, they also feel the need to arrogate total moral authority to themselves

Terry M
Terry M
6 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Unherd publishes quite a few articles that I think are rubbish. But I’m glad they do because it provides the readers a chance to actually reflect on and debate the issues in the comments. That’s what is badly needed in our society.
Question: Did the governments actually stop funding, or did this so-called Disinfo website merely remove their names to hide their involvement?

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

I’m quite sure that if anything the American State Department (the equivalent of your Foreign Ministry) is kicking things into high gear, insofar as disinformation/subterfuge efforts, as we have the presidential election this November.
They may or may not try to launder or conceal the sums they’re handing out, they’ve really been quite brazen.
These “disinformation rating” organizations also use university endowments and family foundations – which are in effect large investment firms – for funding. All three were tapped by the Biden administration to fund the censoring of information they don’t like, or with which they disagree.
Social media firms and web hosting sites, whose main product is consumer data, are so terrified of regulation that they’ll essentially follow whatever directives, or direct orders, the federal government gives to them.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

That’s my question too. It’s not clear from the article.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 days ago

Kudos to Unherd. Keep fighting the good fight. Freedom isn’t free. It requires effort and I am proud to support you.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Me too (as they say)

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
6 days ago

This is an important article and a reason why I’m glad I pay my UnHerd subscription.
Well done, guys!

R Wright
R Wright
6 days ago

This might be the first time in half a decade I have been impressed by an editorial stance of The Times.

McLovin
McLovin
6 days ago

At what point are advertisers going to realise they are missing out on revenue by not reaching a substantial proportion of the population?

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
7 days ago

“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

Peter B
Peter B
7 days ago

Excellent work by Freddie and UnHerd hear. You’ve even managed to knock some sense into The Times !

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
6 days ago

Great work by Freddie & Co. Real investigative journalism as no longer practiced by the MSM, shining the light on the nooks & crannies of the censorship industrial complex where these cockroaches think they are safe from our gaze.

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke
6 days ago

Well done UnHerd. It takes hard work but it is possible to uncover so much attempted manipulation of the narrative.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 days ago

The GDI is clearly a spookfest.

J Bryant
J Bryant
7 days ago

Unherd switched the light on and the gremlins are heading for cover.

T Bone
T Bone
7 days ago

Whats amazing about Totalism is not that a Vanguard of elites tries to control a narrative but that a critical mass of seemingly normal people help them enforce it.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
6 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

The “normal people” are getting nervous because they drunk the collectivist Kool-Aid and their identity is invested there.
Free thinkers here on Unherd have faith in a bigger reality, faith in Truth or God. We don’t rely on faith in clever people for our happiness. We don’t have to defend our faith with rage or threats. It’s a very peaceful place to be.

Andrew R
Andrew R
7 days ago

Has Unherd received any comment from Clare Melford regarding their investigation into the GDI?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

She’s gone to ground, I think.

Eve Behr
Eve Behr
7 days ago

What baffles me about this situation is that Kathleen Stock is downright moderate in comparison with most in our school of thought (I also believe that women are women and transwomen are in a somewhat different category). And I am pretty far to the left of most people.
It’s disheartening that her very presence could cause a governmental ban.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
7 days ago
Reply to  Eve Behr

In a sense that’s the point.
Stock simply expresses what the vast majority of people on the planet believe – that biological sex is a real thing, that it has real world consequences, and that humans cannot literally change sex. Usually she expresses herself in accessible, thoughtful and courteous ways.
What better way to prove their power than to shut down an accomplished academic expressing the majority view in a civil manner?
Its about control and making people too scared to speak unless they espouse the approved orthodoxy. The more ridiculous the orthodoxy is, the better, because what greater power is there than to compel people to deny what they know to be true.
I know I quote him ad nauseum, but it is terrifying how prescient Orwell was:
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
George Orwell, 1984

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
6 days ago

Has anybody heard anything from Claire Melford?
Like the Twitter Files, no discussion or news items about this will appear in the mainstream broadcast media – BBC, ITV, SKY or C4.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
6 days ago

I view the lists of funders and partners as a compendium of evil.