Corsairs against sleeping giants, that could be the title of a strange Christmas TV movie. It is actually a confrontation that has lasted since the fall, opposing two virtual groups. The first, Sleeping Giants, active since 2017 in France, wants to fight against the funding of conservative media sites considered as relays of far-right ideas, such Current values or CNews, by calling on advertisers so that they do not run advertisements. The second, the Corsairs, born in the fall, scam Internet users to counter the action of the first, by challenging brands, to ask them not to give in to the “Woke piracy”.
The parallelism stops there, because the resources involved are not the same. Where Sleeping Giants consists mainly of a modest Twitter profile, the Corsairs have got their hands on the treasure chest: their birth was announced with great fanfare to all the Parisian press by letters sealed in wax; they have a site, very sophisticated graphic material; they launched a wild poster campaign in Paris; and they even offer themselves advertisements on Google or YouTube. A debauchery of means of communication which is explained by the close links, revealed by StreetPress and DNA, between the Corsairs and the communication agencies of a conservative Catholic, a specialist in agit-prop: Emile Duport.
To understand this naval battle, you have to cross the Atlantic Ocean like real privateers. Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 worries activists, who attribute it to the influence of ultra-conservative media such as Breibart News, founded by Steve Bannon, influential adviser to the new president. This site is financed through so-called “programmatic” advertising: the agencies act as intermediaries between the brands and display spaces. The former are generally not kept informed of the sites on which their advertisements appear. The idea of Sleeping Giants is therefore to challenge them to inform them, so that they boycott Breitbart and other media of the same movement.
It’s a success: more than 800 companies are committed to stop advertising on Breitbart. And the initiative appeals beyond American borders. The French branch of Sleeping Giants launches in February 2017. “We’re just consumers”, explains to World Rachel, his spokesperson, who wants to remain anonymous: “The consumer pays for advertising by buying the product, so it’s your money that will finance media condemned for racism, homophobia or other, that poses a problem”.
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