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Those creepy sexual ads next to news stories might soon be a thing of the past

Those creepy sexual ads next to news stories might soon be a thing of the past
[Photo: Igor Ovsyannykov/Unsplash]

There’s nothing worse than reading an article on a perfectly respectable news site only to come across a sleazy ad featuring a half-naked woman flashing her cleavage at you. These kinds of soft-porn images have become par for the course as we surf the web, thanks to content recommendation companies like Taboola, Outbrain, and Revcontent, which help media sites place stories on other sites in an effort to get more viewers.

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However, things might be changing for the better. Revcontent–which is ranked the top content recommendation platform according to Quantcast and serves 250 billion recommendations a month–is working to eradicate sexually explicit and objectifying content from its network. It’s been partnering with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to create better guidelines to rein in these images. In the past, Revcontent had several maturity filters. It will now no longer allow any content that was previously classified as Maturity Level 3, which includes sexually objectifying images.

This shift comes in part because of the #MeToo movement, which has drawn attention to the rampant culture of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. In this context, Revcontent believed that it was no longer appropriate to normalize hypersexualized material that dehumanizes women. “We need to change the advertising industry to reflect the importance of this (#MeToo) movement,” John Lemp, CEO and founder of Revcontent said. “We cannot allow sexually explicit imagery to continue to degrade women if we hope to win the fight against sexual harassment and assault. It is a mindset that needs to be destroyed.”

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