A new report and resource kit to address hateful content online has been published by WACC Europe, the European region of the World Association for Christian Communication.
Titled “Breaking Down the Social Media Divides: A Guide for Individuals and Communities to Address Hate Online,” the report was released during a webinar on 13 October.
The report offers case studies, tips and strategies, as well as resources for further action and specific examples of how people have responded to hateful online content. It is the result of a one-year project to identify and promote strategies to counter online hate speech.
Stephen Brown, president of WACC Europe, said: “As social media is now a feature of our lives, we need to find ways to break down divides, to build conversation, and to promote diversity and respect online.”
Presenting the report at the webinar, project consultant Francesca Pierigh highlighted the importance of increasing media literacy.
“The more we understand about how content is created and shared and how it spreads on the internet, the more we will be able to stop hateful content from spreading,” she said.
There is a need not just for “critical thinking” but also “critical clicking,” she added.
Annegret Kapp, a communication officer for the World Council of Churches, shared personal experiences of dealing with online hate speech.
Kapp said social media accounts regularly posting on topics such as religion, migration, women’s rights or anything that has to do with group identities often generate responses that are hateful.
“We don’t want to provide a platform to people who want to spread hate,” said Kapp. “We want to provide a platform for dialogue and we want to see comments as much as possible as a way to respond to things that are not clear, when questions are asked to provide a response.”
The project was supported by the Otto per Mille Fund of the Waldensian Church in Italy.
WACC Europe promotes communication as a basic human right, essential to people’s dignity and community. Rooted in Christian faith, WACC works with all those denied the right to communicate because of status, identity, or gender.
For more information and to download the report:
Watch the webinar: