Source: Hate speech ‘not OK’, Deadly Vibe Magazine, January 31 2014

DeadlyVibe_February2014_cover_webWith the growth of online media, the Online Hate Prevention Institute is one organisation that’s doing its best to help people experiencing hate, racial and religious discrimination or bullying online. The Institute has developed a program designed to keep social media platforms responsive to unacceptable pages and posts.

The independent system will allow OHPI to monitor response times to such issues, and includes all types of hate speech of Indigenous, ethnic and religious groups across Australia, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) charity has explained.

“This will then allow the incidents to be tracked and companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can then be held to account when legitimate complaints are not properly handled,” CEO of OHPI, Dr Andre Oboler says.

“At the moment the vast majority of legitimate complaints are rejected by the companies.”

An example of this occurred over the recent long weekend when a report to Facebook against the Aboriginal Memes 2014 was originally not actioned because the page was not considered as ‘hate speech’, however the page has since been taken down.

OHPI says that Facebook’s initial reaction was due to a knowledge gap Facebook employees and what is and is not racially acceptable in Australia – an inevitable culture gap when dealing with international companies.

“Facebook are getting faster at recognising hate against Indigenous Australians, not initially when users report it, but at least when further inquiries are made – there was a point in 2012 where they refused to consider it a real problem,” Andre says.

“The fast response may in part be a result of the Government’s recent announcement that they are looking at the option of legislation targeting large social media platforms to address issues like rampant bullying of young people.”

Some explanations of why reports are not initially dealt with can range from culture gaps, legal technicalities and technical glitches.

While OHPI doesn’t respond to individual claims, the charity helps to take action against larger issues such as the Aboriginal hate page.

OHPI hopes to have the new system up and running shortly, allowing social media users to lodge a complaint to the organisation at the same time that they lodge one with the social media website in question.

OHPI is a charity funded by tax deductible donations from the public. Andre and the OHPI team would like to invite readers to support them by joining them on Facebook andTwitter, or for more information visit the OHPI website.