Some large companies, such as Target and MTV, have decided not to run ads in articles that have to do with the Black Lives Matter movement. Keywords the companies have moved to avoid are “Breonna Taylor” and “George Floyd” and “protests” when choosing ad placements.
The companies maintain they are merely respecting the sensitivity of the issue and wish to keep away from appearing to exploit tragedy, according to the Wall Street Journal, but by doing so, they punish media companies covering important issues since they earn less ad revenue on content where ad-blocking is relevant.
“It’s defunding our journalism at a time when it’s imperative for us to be the front lines doing this sort of work,” Paul Wallace, Vice Media’s president for global revenue products and services, said to Wall Street Journal. “Essentially, the most frustrating part of all of this is that the brands that are sending this stuff are standing on a pedestal saying they support BLM.”
The companies have compiled “blocklists” of key terms to avoid when placing ads, and these blocklists are not new. Keywords companies have previously steered clear from are “capturing,” “bomb,” “immigration,” and “Trump,” in an effort to keep away from being associated with controversial terms. Recently added to the list have been “COVID-19” and “coronavirus,” in addition to the BLM terms.