Cornell restricted advertisements for its online certificate program, eCornell, from appearing on political websites after an alumnus raised concerns on Tuesday about one of the University’s ads appearing on Breitbart, the conservative news outlet.
The University has never previously requested that its eCornell postings not appear on specific websites, Paul Krause, associate vice provost for online learning at Cornell and the head of eCornell, said in a statement to The Sun. But, after being alerted to the advertisement’s placement on the website, Cornell, which purchases ads through Google Display Network, changed its settings.
“We have recently worked with Google to ensure that our ads will no longer appear on any platforms that Google has classified as political in nature,” Krause said.
The move follows a wave of companies that have kept their ads from appearing on Breitbart, the conservative news website frequently accused of publishing racist articles and conspiracy theories, and which is run by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
In May of this year, 26 brands advertised on Breitbart.com, down from 242 in March, according to MediaRadar, a firm that tracks internet advertisements. The conservative website, and others, have faced pressure from groups like Sleeping Giants, which urges advertisers to keep their ads away from websites the group deems racist or sexist.
“I wanted to make sure the university took swift action to opt out of placement on the site as the website’s values are not aligned with what I know Cornell to be and stand for,” Jonas S. Chartock ’97, one of at least two Twitter users who alerted Cornell to its ads’ placement on Tuesday, said in an email.
“Breitbart is a hate-fueled website with which Cornell should have no affiliation,” he added. “As an alumnus, part of the global Big Red community I am happy to see the university take such swift action to stop their ads from appearing there.”
In addition to temporarily disabling its ads from websites Google deems political, Cornell also has “taken the extra step by adding the Breitbart.com web domain as a specifically excluded website,” according to a screenshot of a message eCornell sent to Chartock on Twitter.