Sleeping Giants is a social media activism organization aiming to persuade companies to remove ads from conservative news outlets that promote "bigotry, sexism, and racism". The campaign started in November 2016, shortly after Donald Trump's victory in the United States presidential election, with the launch of a Twitter account aiming to boycott Breitbart News. The first tweet targeted personal finance company SoFi. Most tweets on the account are messages to companies advertising on Breitbart - of these, most are not from the account itself, but are retweets of the messages of independent volunteers.
The organization primarily operates from its twitter account, and also has a Facebook account. It has regional twitter accounts for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
As of February 2017, 820 companies have joined the campaign and stopped advertising on Breitbart News, according to statistics provided by the organization. By May of 2017, thousands of advertisers have stopped advertising with Breitbart.
The list of advertisers includes AT&T, Kellogg's, BMW, Visa, Autodesk, Lenovo, HP Inc., Vimeo, Deutsche Telekom, Lyft, Allstate, Nest, EarthLink and Warby Parker. The Canadian Government also stopped advertising on Breitbart News after declaring that its contents "did not align with the Government’s Code of Value and Ethics". Sleeping Giants' strategy combines traditional approaches to pressure advertisers with direct online activism, aiming to recruit and mobilize a large population of social media users. According to Slate, Sleeping Giants' strategy is similar to the one adopted in 2014 by the Gamergate movement against Gawker Media.
It was involved in the campaign pressuring advertisers to drop The O'Reilly Factor after the discovery of five sexual harassment settlements by host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, which resulted in the show's cancellation.
Starting in May 2017, the Canadian section uses the same methods to persuade advertisers to removed ads from the Canadian conservative news outlet The Rebel Media.
The French section also campaigns in a similar manner with regards to the French far-right website Boulevard Voltaire.
The French and Italian sections of the organization have also lead an effort to pressure companies such as PayPal to suspend the accounts of a far-right organization funding a mission to interfere with the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean using the hashtag #DefundDefendEurope. This resulted in the group only accepting payment in the form of Bitcoin.
- Kerr, Dara. "Lyft, HP won't advertise on Breitbart. Uber, Amazon remain". CNET. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Kennedy, Pagan (2017-01-07). "How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- "These Protesters Are Hitting Trump Where It Actually Hurts". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- Quittner, Jeremy. "Why Shopify Won't Remove Breitbart's Online Shop". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Guaglione, Sara (3 February 2017). "Various Companies, Canadian Government Pull Ads From 'Breitbart News'". MediaPost. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Perlberg, Steven (2016-12-01). "Breitbart Takes Aim at Kellogg in Ad Dispute". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Nwanevu, Osita (2016-12-14). ""Sleeping Giants" Is Borrowing Gamergate’s Tactics to Attack Breitbart". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
- Woolf, Nicky (2016-11-30). "Breitbart declares war on Kellogg's after cereal brand pulls advertising from site". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
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