Healthline Media has decided to block all political advertising from its network of properties, which includes Healthline.com, MedicalNewsToday.com and Greatist.com.
Its flagship property, Healthline.com, publishes health-related content reviewed by doctors and experts, according to the company. Healthline Media says the site attracts 86 million monthly U.S. unique visitors.
“Our goal is to present the most accurate and unbiased information anywhere, both when it comes to your health care and discussions about potential changes to the current healthcare system in America,” stated David Kopp, Healthline Media’s president-CEO. “It’s imperative we’re not perceived as political in any way, especially through political ads that advocate one candidate over another.”
Healthline is supported by advertising (mostly programmatic), “because we believe [our health-related] information should be available to everyone,” Kopp told Publishers Daily.
The company will now blacklist political campaign advertising and issue-related advertising. That could include ads about family planning or related to mental-health issues and violence, according to the company.
Healthline has already banned vaping ads.
“We are not going to promote a product that is unsafe,” Kopp said.
Kopp told Publishers Daily that Healthline puts ample resources into ensuring its content is medically reviewed. He did not feel it was appropriate to also focus efforts on verifying the accuracy of political ads on the site.
“We aren’t experts in political fact-checking,” he said.
Many of the ads on Healthline.com come from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and diet companies, as well as retail and ecommerce ads on the site.
This spring, Healthline.com will also produce a series of articles about U.S. healthcare issues related to the presidential election. It will launch on March 3, Super Tuesday, when a number of states hold their primary elections and caucuses, and run till November 3, Election Day.
The series will publish information on each of the leading presidential candidate's stances on the U.S. healthcare system, as well as explainers like this one on “Medicare for All” to help readers better understand the health-related issues relevant to the upcoming election.
In late December, Spotify also decided to ban political ads.