Leading charities have urged a united front to combat hate speech online after a survey, conducted by Charities Against Hate, revealed that 81% of charity beneficiaries had experienced hate online themselves or witnessed others being targeted.
Beneficiaries said that their experiences of online hate made them feel angry (61%), frustrated (51%) and upset (47%). Almost half of those who have experienced online hate reported that it had a lasting impact on them.
Meanwhile, 77% of charity staff have not received any training to support them in dealing with online hate.
Charities Against Hate, a diverse collective of UK charities, has launched a A Guide to Best Practice in Ethical Digital Marketing & Comms Practices, which outlines recommendations and support for those working in digital marketing and communications in the charity sector.
Recommendations include visibly engaging with hate speech on social media channels, where appropriate. Other suggestions include promoting positive, diverse and inclusive content on charity-owned channels that represents the charity’s audiences.
Ensuring adequate wellbeing support is in place for charity social media moderators and campaign staff is also recommended.
Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, commented:
Not enough is being done to stop posts which incite hate and violence being made visible. No one should have to see these messages in their day to day lives, and especially not when trying to access ongoing information and support.
I commend all the organisations involved in Charities Against Hate for taking this vital first step to ending hate speech online.
Simon Francis, Founder Member of Campaign Collective and chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity Group, commented:
While the increased use of technology to keep us connected during the pandemic has been a positive step, we have also seen a drastic increase in hate speech online. This hate speech affects almost every group of society – no matter what cause you are fighting for, it is a sad reality that putting your head above the parapet can be met with abuse.
Today’s research reveals the extent of the problem and enough is enough. The first step is for charities and their supporters themselves to take action. The recommendations published today will help the sector do more to address hate speech online and in the new year Charities Against Hate will be making recommendations for media owners to follow.
More information, full survey results and the Guide to Best Practice are available at www.charitiesagainsthate.com.
Charities Against Hate is a collective of UK charities working together to review ethical social media, marketing and communications policies. The group ranges from small organisations to household names representing a diverse range of sectors from older people and health causes to veterans groups and mental health charities. The collective is developing long-term recommendations for real changes to prevent hate speech on social media.
The collective has seven work streams, each collaborating to create a variety of resources and recommendations. The group’s aims include helping to prevent online hate, to better support charity beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and supporters and to deliver on their promises as charities.
400 third sector staff and beneficiaries were surveyed in September 2020. Image: Shutterstock.