This interim report provides some background and preliminary data from OHPI’s forthcoming “Spotlight on Anti-Muslim Internet Hate Report” due to be released in March 2016. It is released for International Human Rights Day (10th of December 2015) and in light of the need to urgently address this growing problem which threatens the inclusivity of our society and the human dignity of people in our communities.
Anti-Muslim hate has accelerated sharply in 2015. It is based on a misplaced fear of Muslims in general in response to the actions of specific terrorist groups claiming to act in the name of Islam. As a result of the spread of messages of hate online, our values of multiculturalism, religious pluralism, and a fair go for all are being challenged. They are being challenged not only at public rallies, but around the office coffee machine and the water cooler. The messages of hate are being spread around the dinner table, both at home and when eating out in public. The messages of hate which spread online are not staying online. They are shared through social media, and then in person as mobile devices are used to show others memes and anti-Muslim messages. If we can tackle the problem of online hate, we can make a real difference in the spread of hate both online and through society.
This report is based on over 1,100 items of anti-Muslim hate in social media reported and categorised by the public through our FightAgainstHate.com reporting tool. The vast majority of the hate this report is based on was found on Facebook. The report indicates the volume of content by category, and how effective Facebook has been in responding to content in each category. The vast majority of this hate has not yet been removed.
Earlier today, December 9th in the US, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.” We strongly support Zuckerberg’s words, but our data shows that Facebook is currently falling far short of this ideal. We hope this interim report, and the later final report, help Facebook focus their efforts and improve their response when users report anti-Muslim hate.
We invite the public to continue reporting new instances of anti-Muslim hate through our FightAgainstHate.com software. The final report will include a preliminary breakdown by category of any further data collected prior to the report going to press. We also invite interested journalists to contact us in the lead up to the final report’s release. A Press Release is also available for the release of the interim report.
Please help us share this important report. If you like our work, you can join us on Facebook to take a stand against all forms of online hate. If you would like to see more work like this, you can donate to help make it possible.