Activist group says automated advertising responsible for funding hate on massive scaleAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, March 20th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 1,500 companies worldwide have confirmed they have pulled their advertising dollars from Breitbart, the international media outlet infamous for its hate speech, false reporting and support of white nationalism. The global Breitbart boycott is organized by international activist group Sleeping Giants, which says the problem isn’t advertisers, but automated “programmatic advertising” platforms online.
The majority of companies joining the global Breitbart boycott, which include multinational corporations like Visa, Chase, Nestle and BMW, have stated they never explicitly intended to support Breitbart with advertising dollars. Hewlett Packard Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio called its ad placement on Breitbart a “mistake” before blacklisting the site from its ad campaigns, as have hundreds of other multinational corporations.
“Programmatic advertising has funneled millions of dollars from the pockets of unknowing advertisers to these hate sites, turning racism, misogyny and xenophobia into a profitable industry,” says the anonymous founder of global activist group Sleeping Giants, which organized the boycott by alerting companies of their ads on Breitbart. “The advertising industry must be held accountable. If advertising networks can keep their clients’ ads off porn sites, they can keep their ads off hate sites.”
While Sleeping Giants has confirmed more than 1,500 companies have pulled their advertising dollars from Breitbart through direct conversation with organizations, many more have likely joined the boycott on their own. Omnicom, one of the world’s largest ad-buying networks representing international corporations including Apple and McDonald’s, has instructed its staff to ensure their client’s ads do not fund Breitbart, saying in an internal email, “Many of our global clients have already requested that we block this site [Breitbart] on our activity.”
“The market is speaking loud and clear, demanding strong safeguards that keep ad money out of the pockets of those who profit from inciting hate,” says Sleeping Giant’s founder. “But other ad networks, like Taboola, Google and Facebook Audience Network continue to funnel the money of unsuspecting advertisers to fund hate.”
Sleeping Giants says advertising network giant Taboola is an international leader in funding Breitbart. While Taboola CEO Adam Singolda has said in a November 2016 blog post, “Are we accountable for what we distribute? Absolutely,” and Taboola policy states that it will not partner with sites that are “hateful, discriminatory, abusive, intolerant, obscene, offensive, exploitative, harassing, threatening, or inciting violence,” Taboola categorizes racist, sexist, xenophobic and false content like Breitbart’s as not “intentionally false,” and thus acceptable for the company to partner with for profit.
“While advertising networks are the root of the problem, corporations like Microsoft and Amazon continue to knowingly send advertising revenue to fund Breitbart,” says Sleeping Giant’s founder.
Amazon remains one of Breitbart’s most visible and prolific advertising sponsors despite their advertising agreement’s prohibition of sites that “promote discrimination,” international condemnation and Amazon’s own employees urging the company to cease funding of Breitbart.
Across eleven countries, more than 100,000 Sleeping Giants activists continue to alert companies of their ad placements on Breitbart, but the founder of Sleeping Giants says, “These companies shouldn’t need the public to tell them who they are funding with their money. The ad industry needs to be held accountable for the hate it is funding with its clients’ dollars.”
You can view the full list of more than 1,500 companies who have publicly confirmed their advertising boycott of Breitbart here.
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