Website advises where not to post ads

An initiative should prevent conspiracy websites from receiving money from online ads.

(Source: Sme)

A team of experts will help advertisement agencies which place ads online to distinguish the websites sharing conspiracy content.

The first to report about the problem of many well-known companies in Slovakia having their campaigns advertised on these websites was the Sme daily. The problem is that these websites then receive money for displaying them and a companies’ reputation may be harmed.

The advertising networks do not distinguish whether the ad is displayed on a serious website with unbiased news or websites sharing hateful and conspiring content. This can be revealed only by later scrutiny of statistics data. Yet the authors of the Konšpirátori.sk project launched on April 19 hope to change this. They compiled a list of conspiracy websites, which they will exclude from ad campaigns.

The project was developed by digital agency NetSuccess, co-owned by the Petit Press publishing house, which co-owns also The Slovak Spectator.

Read also:Well-known Slovak firms advertise on conspiracy sites Read more 

“Advertisement systems usually filter erotic content or websites openly violating a law,” Ján Urbančík, head of NetSuccess, wrote in the website. “Especially conspiracy and extremist websites require more detailed scrutiny, which is the main task of our project.”

The list of websites will be gradually updated and checked by a team of experts based on their own motion or someone else’s report. The latter can be submitted via a form directly at Konspiratori.sk (in Slovak only).

One of the members of the 12-member expert committee is teacher and activist Juraj Smatana, who describes the project as an example of how a civic society should work.

“The state preserves the freedom of speech and does not ban these websites,” Smatana told Sme. “Subsequently, the commercial subjects merged with people from academia and created a voluntary system where users can choose whether they want to publish their ad on such websites or not.”

Among other members are political analyst Pavol Hardoš, marketing specialist Juraj Mýtny, head of Petit Press Alexej Fulmek, project manager of Sme Dávid Tvrdoň and editor of the Denník N daily Filip Struhárik.

The list will contain also websites sharing deceiving information and propaganda, extremist content as well as websites which do not correct the stories which proved to be untrue or which do not provide space for different opinions or mix news with opinions, Sme wrote.

If the website improves the standards, it can be removed from the list.

The initiative has already been supported by several agencies which started publishing a list of controversial websites, Konšpirátori.sk wrote in the press release.

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