Sleeping Giants is an organization that you’ve likely never heard of. It hasn’t been reported on much in the mainstream media other than The New York Times, but Sleeping Giants is quietly working to take down Breitbart using a simple but effective trick. It is also something the average person can participate in using social media, an effort which is far more productive than signing MoveOn.org petitions or sharing memes on Facebook.
This isn’t the first time the boycott and public shaming tactic has been used. However, the approach here is to alert companies to the fact that their advertising is appearing on a website that the corporation may not want to be associated with in any way, especially if their name and logo is turning up on a website that does not reflect their values.
For example, if you’ve been looking at purchasing a new home like I am currently, chances are you may see a banner for a local real estate company or a bank offering loans. If you’re a gun fanatic, you’re likely to see links for the NRA and/or Viagra.
Here is how it works, a business makes an ad buy from an agency like Google Adsense which is supposed to put their product in front of customers most likely to sign up or make a purchase, but that doesn’t always turn out as intended. Through a series of algorithms and bids which begin as soon as someone clicks on a link to a website, the advertising that person will see is determined in fractions of a second, often based on their web history.
Slate provides additional clarification as to how this campaign against hate speech for profit works:
“Targeting advertisers—the only major source of revenue available to most online media—is the surest way to bring a site to its knees. Ad representatives, not terribly worried about the value of ads at niche sites like Breitbart and Gawker in a world with millions of others to choose from, may well cave to avoid the PR fallout of a viral effort. The losses incurred by Gawker demonstrated that these kinds of attacks can inflict real damage, even if they don’t ultimately bring sites down.” (Source)
Naturally, Breitbart fans will call this an attack on free speech. They’ll also likely call this cyberbullying, which is amazingly hypocritical considering one of Breitbart’s main contributors (Milo Yiannopoulos) was banned from Twitter for encouraging harassment and hate speech.
A number of public figures are following or have joined this campaign against Breitbart, including Shaun King, Soledad O’Brien, Margaret Cho, Howard Dean and Montel Williams.
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
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) January 13, 2017
According to Sleeping Giants’ Twitter, here is how you can join in shutting down Breitbart’s revenue. Remember, this is NOT a violation of free speech. It is simply alerting companies to where their ads appear, and it is up to them to decide whether or not they want to send advertising dollars to a site that promotes hate speech.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) December 16, 2016
Please share this article and spread the word on how you can financially cripple Donald Trump’s biggest media ally. You can also follow Sleeping Giants on Facebook here.