Saturday was World Day Against Cyber Censorship and in a unique partnership Amnesty International and AdBlock combined to deliver 156,789,119 impressions of messages by prominent privacy and free speech advocates Edward Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy Riot in a campaign conceptualized and brokered by advertising agency ColensoBBDO.
Amnesty International experienced their highest ever daily web traffic.
For 24 hours AdBlock served banners with messages from these three influential individuals where they would normally remove banners altogether. During this period it’s estimated that over 50 million internet users were reached with these thought provoking messages speaking out against the dangers of cyber censorship.
At the heart of ad block usage is the users desire to tailor their online experience, but for many people around the world, their online experiences are tailored by what their governments are willing to let them see. This made this channel the perfect way to share quotes and information from Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy Riot, who are heavily censored themselves, to be broadcast across the internet whilst creatively bypassing a number of current censorship restrictions.
Gabriel Cubbage, CEO of AdBlock, explained why Adblock got behind this campaign.
People use Adblock for a number of reasons but ultimately no one except you has the right to control what shows up on your screen, or who has access to the contents of your hard drive. Not the websites, not the advertisers, not the ad blockers. And not your government, either.
This is a view, which is shared by Salil Shetty, International Secretary General at Amnesty International:
Some states are engaged in Orwellian levels of surveillance, particularly targeting the lives and work of the people who defend our human rights — lawyers, journalists and peaceful activists. This continuing development of new methods of repression in reaction to increased connectivity is a major threat to our freedom of expression,.