NBC, along with the Center for Countering Digital Hate, pressured Google into taking action against ZeroHedge and the Federalist. Google ended up temporarily restricting the two news sites’ advertising capabilities due to content in certain comment sections.
The Federalist resolved the issue by temporarily disabling their comment sections altogether, and ZeroHedge announced plans to implement a filter in order to get advertising capabilities back while they work on other solutions.
Comically, after lobbying Google to hinder two of their online competitors, NBC botched their own story. The original article claimed that Google outright banned both The Federalist and ZeroHedge from advertising, which actually caused Google to issue a statement to correct the record.
Commenting on the matter a few days later, Sargon of Akkad gave a really interesting summary:
This is the position we’re in: you have a publisher [ZeroHedge / The Federalist] who can’t act as a platform for comments, but a platform [Google] can act as a publisher and direct the publishers [ZeroHedge / The Federalist] to censor those things that they themselves [Google] are not going to become responsible for.
About six months later, ZeroHedge introducded ZeroHedge Premium, a paid version of their site that offers no ads and freer comment sections among many other features.