People’s Postcode Lottery and Canterbury Christ Church University have both acted to remove their brands from Urban Dictionary after Campaign Against Antisemitism alerted them to their advertisements featuring alongside antisemitic and offensive entries on the controversial website.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has contacted numerous household brands after they were discovered to have been advertising on the controversial website by Dr Daniel Allington in peer-reviewed research published yesterday and seen in advance by Campaign Against Antisemitism. Earlier today, the well-known furniture retailer DFS acted particularly rapidly to remove its advertisements from Urban Dictionary.
Dr Allington, who is Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London and a volunteer with Campaign Against Antisemitism, showed that many entries in the Urban Dictionary appear to have been written by white supremacists and other bigots and that well-known brands are advertising alongside their racism.
Dr Allington said: “I realised that hardcore racists were exploiting Urban Dictionary’s ‘anything goes’ philosophy to promote their extremist views. It wouldn’t matter so much if it was an obscure website that nobody’s heard of, but the Urban Dictionary is one of the most popular websites in the world and it carries adverts for household name brands.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been in contact with People’s Postcode Lottery and Canterbury Christ Church University, who both noted the role of third parties in placing their advertisements online and have advised that they are taking immediate remedial action. They thanked Campaign Against Antisemitism for bringing the matter to their attention.
Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We are pleased that several brands have taken swift action to remove their advertisements from Urban Dictionary after we contacted them, as they agree the website is not an appropriate venue for their marketing publicity. We are also grateful to Dr Daniel Allington for his research which has enabled us to take this action, alerting these household brands to protect their reputations.”