Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean last night tweeted his approval of a New York Times opinion piece on the continuing advertiser boycott of Breitbart. From the article:
In mid-November, a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants became the hub of the new movement. The Giants and their followers have communicated with more than 1,000 companies and nonprofit groups whose ads appeared on Breitbart, and about 400 of those organizations have promised to remove the site from future ad buys.
“We’re focused on Breitbart News right now because they’re the biggest fish,” a founder of Sleeping Giants told me. (He requested anonymity because some members of the group work in the digital-media industry.) Eventually, Sleeping Giants would like to broaden its campaign to take on a menagerie of bad actors, but that would require a much bigger army of Giants, and “it has only been a month since we started doing this,” he told me when I talked to him in December. Then he added, “This has been the longest month of my life.”
“We are trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars,” reads the Sleeping Giants profile. “Many companies don’t even know it’s happening. It’s time to tell them.” They say it’s not about taking away Breitbart’s right to free speech, but about giving consumers and advertisers control over where their money goes. The group’s Twitter page offers a simple set of instructions to anyone who wants to follow suit. Step 1: “Go to Breitbart and take a screenshot of an ad next to some of their content.” Step 2: “Tweet the screenshot to the company with a polite, nonoffensive note.”
The activists’ back-and-forth with companies reveals a fog of confusion surrounding online advertising. Many organizations have no idea that their ads may end up next to content they find abhorrent. You might blame this — in part — on robots. According to the research firm eMarketer, American companies are now spending more than $22 billion a year on “programmatic ads,” the kind of advertising that is bought with little human oversight.
Thanks to NYT article I am going to look at Breitbart next week and refuse to buy any product I see advertised there. Please RT.
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 9, 2017