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Charities mark a year of battling online hate

 

Charities Against Hate ranges from small organisations to household names representing a diverse range of sectors

A group of charities who came together to tackle online hate is marking a year since their campaign started – and have vowed to step up their fight against abuse.

Charities Against Hate is a collective of 37 groups – including the likes of Barnardo’s, Mind and Parkinson’s UK – which vowed to work together to working together to review ethical social media, marketing and communications policies.

It has threatened to curb spending on social media engagement if platforms like Facebook do not tackle hate speech.

Over the past year, the collective has met with MPs, politicians and governments and produced resources and guides for charity staff and their wider communities.

In 12 months it has distributed and analysed experience surveys from more than 420 charity staff and members of their communities to learn about their experiences of hate online and what can be done to stop it taking place.

It has also created a Guide to Best Practice in Ethical Digital Marketing & Comms Practices for charities to help them engage in ethical marketing and comms and support them in tackling hate speech.

The project started in July 2020 when the charities met to consider how social media platforms can become more inclusive and places for connecting and debate, rather than places for hate.

Charities Against Hate 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 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.

Working groups were set up to review ethical marketing policies, create guidance for staff, volunteers and the wider third sector community, and work together with people who have experienced hate speech online to create recommendations for social media platforms to show how they can do better for the people and communities we support.

Sarah Clarke, head of membership at CharityComms, a volunteer on the Comms group, said: “There is still a long way to go before social media platforms become more equitable and safer spaces for everyone. The creation of campaigns such as #StopOnlineAbuse, #ReclaimSocial, and the continuing work of organisations such as Kick It Out and Stop Funding Hate, demonstrates that, as one participant told us, this is a huge issue, one that isn't going away, and one that lots of other people are sitting up and taking notice of – there is a real sense that people want change.”

A recent survey among participating charities overwhelmingly showed that working collectively to make a difference has been one of most appreciated aspects of being part of the group.

One participant said: “The meetings have been very collaborative, I feel I've been heard internally and able to give ideas and put my hand up and offer to do things.”

Next steps for Charities Against Hate include an event in the autumn and consideration of the future focus of the group so that people can continue to be involved on a variety of levels and combined efforts can have maximum impact and make a real difference to charity staff and the communities that they support.

 

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