Destruction of advertising-supported hate businesses

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How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News describes Sleeping Giants, a loosely organized effort to get advertisers to pull advertising from hate sites. First I’ve heard of it, though “Sleeping Giants” Is Borrowing Gamergate’s Tactics to Attack Breitbart from last month strikes me as a better article for acknowledging that public efforts trying to get advertisers to pull advertising from media that group dislikes is old. I’m motivated to note “How to Destroy…” for a few reasons:

  1. Framing of destruction of businesses as a means to change knowledge production structures and social outcomes. OK, the framing is not that explicit, and I’d prefer “How to Destroy Breitbart and other Fake News Businesses” (model being anti-information), but it’s a start. Destruction of businesses that rely on treating knowledge as property is fundamental to the WIFO theory of change.
  2. Comming advertising is a crucial part of commoning the knowledge economy and policy, as advertising drives so much production of enclosed material. Publication of material that readers do not have full autonomy over and that comes with spyware is hateful. Until that is more broadly recognized, building up a repertoire of consumer advertising activism against advertising support of narrowly defined hate sites seems useful.
  3. One of the activists mentioned in “How to Destroy…” is identified as “Nicholas Reville, a board member of the Participatory Culture Foundation”. I’m not sure what PCF’s current status is (their website has no dates, and absurdly blocks ia_archiver) but it has in the past anyway done interesting work on free software and at least not totally enclosed media.

What I really want to know is whether Sleeping Giants is actually significantly harming Breitbart’s business.

In the meantime, I am shocked that anyone browses the web without the assistance of an ad blocker, and thus ad-supported web businesses exist.

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