Consortium News Files Lawsuit Against Government and NewsGuard

( – NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. reviews websites and rates their trustworthiness, reliability, and any potential financial conflicts of interest. Paid subscribers can access that information using a browser extension or mobile app. The company’s clients include online advertisers, tech companies, and the Defense Department. Consortium News (CN), officially known as Consortium for Independent News, Inc., recently filed a lawsuit against NewsGuard and is in the process of adding the United States of America as a defendant in that action.

On August 11, Consortium filed a civil complaint against NewsGuard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging the rating company slandered and defamed its investigative and political review magazine. The pleading’s preliminary statement claimed that NewsGuard placed libelous and false “brand safety” warning labels on all CN articles accessed by subscribers’ mobile devices and computers/MACs.

The 28-page complaint accused NewsGuard of “falsely” labeling “each and every CN article or video production… as [presenting] ‘false content.'” Additionally, the filing accused NewsGuard of warning its subscribers that CN failed to correct factual errors on its site and violated accepted “journalistic standards.” NewsGuard allegedly went as far as accusing CN of being an “anti-US” news organization.

On October 23, CN filed an amended complaint, adding the United States of America as a defendant. The 52-page document accused the Department of Defense Cyber Command of contracting with NewsGuard to track and report any media organization challenging or disputing “US foreign and defense policy” relating to Russia and Ukraine.

The complaint also claimed NewsGuard attached warnings to any sites, labeling them”‘anti-US,’ [providers] of Russian ‘disinformation’ and propaganda.” Echoing the initial complaint, the latest filing accused NewGuard of branding sites for failing to follow standard journalistic practices and for publishing inaccurate/false content.

However, the court docket for Consortium v. United States, 23-cv-07088-KPF, indicated that the court rejected the new pleading on technical grounds. It remains unclear when CN’s lawyers will file a corrected amended complaint.

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