Reports in January noted how Gerald Hensel, a high-ranking employee of Scholz & Friends, one of the two largest advertising agencies in Germany, used his professional position to launch a private war against the freedom of expression, under the slogan “No Money for the Right Wing!”
“Right wing” websites — those which have criticized the German government for its policies on, for example, Muslim mass-migration, the euro rescue or climate policy — should, according to Hensel, be cut off from advertising revenues. If they have no more money, so the thinking goes, it will be more difficult for them to stay in business; perhaps they would give up, and opinions differing from the mainstream would not be put into circulation.
Hensel explained his strategy on his private blog, which featured a red Soviet star: Large conglomerates that want to advertise on the Internet usually do not directly contact specific websites. Instead, computer programs recognize who is interested in a particular product or service, based on the user’s search behavior. The advertisement is personalized: a car maker will only approach users who are looking for cars. The advertisement, however, will not only appear on car websites, but on all sites the user visits in the following hours or days.
Hensel urged all of those who are disturbed by diverse views on the internet to exert pressure on companies, by branding particular websites as “right wing.” This pressure alone, according to his calculation, would ensure that the company would block the website in question.
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