Stop Funding Fake News, the social movement pressuring brands to boycott newsbrands that it believes routinely spread misinformation, is turning its attention to media agencies.
Anonymous officials from the activist group told The Drum that for it to achieve its goals of demonetising fake news sources, it has realised it must court the middlemen between brands and publishers.
Inspired by Sleeping Giants in the US and Stop Funding Hate in the UK, the group operates anonymously, claiming activists could be at risk if their identities were known.
Adobe, Chelsea FC, Harry's, Experion, eBay, Moonpig and Manchester United are among the 40 brands and charities that the group has convinced to block out a number of sites off the back off a campaign it launched March 2019.
Now, it's looking to advertising and media agencies to engage in a dialogue about the news industry. A spokesperson said agencies have approached the group, keen to grasp what sites should be considered for blacklist.
This is particularly beneficial for Stop Funding Fake News' cause as agencies handling multiple clients ought to be able to widely blacklist offending sites - a step-up from the brand-by-brand approach the group previously took.
It said it is now expanding its network to help "persuade" ad agencies that it is "bad for their clients to be associated with the lies and racism found on these sites, so it's in the interest of ad agencies to ensure they don't put them there."
It urges agency figures to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for discussion.
STATEMENT: Please RT & share the below pic.twitter.com/EMM7mA0vd4— Stop Funding Fake News (@SFFakeNews) June 25, 2019
Misinformation has been linked with deaths around the world, not to mention that fact that generating clickbait lies can be a lucrative trade. Earlier this year, The Drum explored the harms fake news causes globally, talking to misinformation experts, Wikimedia, and BBC News about how to curtail the issue.
As a largely ad-funded media, greater scrutiny is being placed upon the brands that are enabling these stories.