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Google's Role in Ocean Protection

An interesting new fight has emerged in the ad censorship arena. Much like TV, radio and newspapers, Google has stepped into the ad censorship business. Oceana's campaign is based on irrefutable facts. The ships are not designed to treat human waste nor do they claim that they do. The method of management of the waste is to dump it in shipping lanes. Oceana's campaign is targeted to put pressure on the industry to stop dumping waste overboard.

Google is making the distinction of critical vs. factual and seems to be on the wrong side of the issue. The advocacy movement can not afford to be filtered from Google ads.

Ask Google Why They Canceled Oceana's Ads Google shut them down. The reason? The ads, they said, linked to sites that contained "language critical of Royal Caribbean" and "language critical of the cruise industry"! So what are you allowed and not allowed to say in a Google ad? What companies are you prohibited from criticizing? Who knows?

Oceana has provided a tool to respond to this censorship and target Google Founders and their Corporate and Consumer Public Relations team.

The google choice is difficult to accept in this case. Although, I am not sure that the typically underfunded, non-advertising advocacy movement wants to see ads next to searches on group names or critical issues like environmentalism, forest protection, etc. I can think of lots of ways those industries that could afford ads could use this as a message shooting range in a way that really hurts the movement.

February 13, 2004 in Advocacy, Current Affairs, Environment, Organizing, Web/Tech | Permalink

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