Stop Taking the Click Bait: Emma Watson, The Media, & Bullshit Ad Revenue

Emma Watson's speech to the UN was derailed by click-bait articles from advertisers

[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Brent Courtney Frost. Brent is a Salt Lake based Australian graphic designer who, when not drawing pictures for grown-ups, can be found advocating on their behalf for important causes such as mental health, and less important causes such as making breakfast menus available 24/7.]

As a man, a feminist, and an advocate for mental health issues, I watched Emma Watson’s powerful speech to the United Nations launching the new gender equality initiative HeForShe with excitement, knowing the much-needed exposure these issues were going to receive. She invited men to get involved in the cause, “Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too… How can we effect change in the world, when only half of it is invited, or feels welcome to participate in conversation.”

The following days’ conversation should have been about highlighting these issues, exposing more people to this way of thinking, but as all too often in the media, the focus turned to the negative responses. We should have been talking about ending gender inequality and inspiring more men to be involved, but instead we were talking about the possibility of nude photos of Emma being released.

I was appalled by the response, but not surprised.

Fortunately, the whole “Emma You Are Next” debacle was a hoax, but critical attention was taken away from the speech.

Below is a screen shot I took a few mornings after, showing the top three articles that came up when you searched “Emma Watson.” People may argue that they are just reporting the current stories, but I think this is bullshit. The media needs to be more accountable for the content they are putting out. They are as much to blame for the content these websites are putting out, as the websites themselves. These anonymous websites only exist because of the exposure they receive from these articles. They exist because of the free advertising. 

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A large proportion of news websites’ revenue come from advertising. They charge for advertising space based on how many clicks their website receives. It becomes less about reporting the news and more about what headlines people are going to click on. By clicking on these articles we are contributing to the problem. The news website continue to publish articles like this and these anonymous websites get the exposure they are after.

We need to take a stand on this kind of journalism. We need to take away the power of these anonymous websites by not reading about them. 

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