Oxford’s Said’s business school have stopped their ads from appearing on fake news websites. The school was contacted by the organisation Stop Funding Fake News, and were alerted that their adverts were appearing on sites that proliferate extremist or inflammatory content online.
Stop Funding Fake News is a small organisation run by activists who have identified the problem that ‘the fake news industry is largely funded by online advertising by big brands, who usually have no idea where their money is going; they just pay a middle-man who places the ads’, which benefits websites that prioritise sensationalist “clickbait”, which are often factually inaccurate and provocative. The organisation therefore aims to undermine fake news by encouraging brands to withdraw their advertising from fake news sites.
The organisation was inspired by the Sleeping Giants campaign which target advertisers on Steve Bannon’s alt-Right site, Breitbart news.
Josie Powell, spokeswoman for the Business School said ‘these sites are not consistent with our values as a school and as soon as we became aware that one of our adverts was used on this channel measures were put in place to exclude the platforms’
She also told The Oxford Student that the school is ‘reviewing internally and discussing with our media buying agencies who have brand safety measures in place’.