Who’s Responsible for Racist “SPICS” Ads on @DailyKos Site?

Mar 9, 2012
7:56 AM

UPDATE, 1pm EST: Daily Kos founder @Markos has told us (see below or click on link) that advertiser will be blocked and he thanked us for bringing this to their attention.

Last night, we reported the news that automated "customized" CafePress racist ads appeared on the Daily Kos website, and that such type of advertising really needed to be monitored by web pages. The fact is, we can get all the "inside baseball" explanations about online advertising that many people are raising: it's not DK's fault, blame Google Ads, blame CafePress for generating the ad, etc. etc.

The fact remains: our staff went to the Kos' site last night (four times) and four times they saw a CafePress product ad that promote racist anti-Latino products with a coupon that promised 20%.

So who is responsible for this?

  • Daily Kos: in the end, the people who own and run the DK site are responsible for the page's content and they are also responsible for the ads that appear there. Daily Kos has no problem promoting how popular they are to advertisers, and it is clear to us that they are part of a larger online ad network that pushes this content out. We have sent DK several emails and tweets for clarification, and we have yet to hear anything, which quite frankly, totally goes against their online vibe. DK and @Markos are known online to be quick engagers and even take pride in their engagement power. Yet as of this morning (after two emails, a few tweets, and several FB wall posts last night), they have yet to contact us. (Ironically, Kos founder @Markos is half-Latino and has also generated a LatinoKos section on the site. So, basically, the message to us is this: Yes, the Latino audience is growing in the US, let's add a section to our page but at the same time let's display offensive and racist ads against Latinos.)

  • Google and its automatic algorithms: Google is a private company, and as such, it has a responsibility to tag ads that might be seen as offensive. Google should know better that ads such as the "SPICS" one from CafePress won't play well on a web page for "progressives." Enough with the automatic and technological systems, where are the actual human Google employees who need to monitor ads like these?
  • CafePress: we have spent plenty of page space the last week covering CP's racist products. They hide under freedom of expression, but in the end, they profit from "SPICS" ads and other offensive products. To us, that is just shifty. CP makes money off of racism. Simple as that. They can spin it all they want, until they actually enforce their own policy and content guidelines, we say #NoMames to them.

So, to all three we say: There Is a Sucker Born Every Minute. Take back the Internet, people. More humans in charge and leave the algorithms to the machines.