Earlier today the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian charity whose work many of you will have seen over the past 18 months, launch its first appeal with a new video highlighting the nature and risks of online hate.
The appeal is based on the crowd funding platform Indiegogo and the ROI Community are backing the campaign, matching donations dollar for dollar in real time. The appeal democratizes giving, allowing all members of the public to support OHPI’s important work. The funds raised will further democratize the fight against online hate with the bulk of the fund earmarked to support the development of advanced online tools to empower the public and hold social media companies accountable when they fail to properly respond to users reports of online hate.
OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, explained “we’ve waited 18 months before launching this appeal. In that time we’ve building our track record including responses to antisemitism, Holocaust denial, racism against Indigenous Australians, religious vilification against Muslim, hate directed against military veterans and reports documenting online content mocking the death of children and no doubt compounding the grief of their parents, family and friends. Now we’re going to the public, with a video highlighting the issues we deal with, explaining the danger such hate poses, and we’re asking people to help us build the tools to take the fight against this hate to the next level.”
The appeal is scheduled to run for 60 days, but on day one had already reach 13% of its total fundraising target. “People know OHPI and its work. They know we’re doers and that we have an impact, and they want to be part of helping us grow and enabling us to empower a generation of online activists”, Dr Oboler explained.
The appeal target aims to cover just the first stage of the development of online tools. This will empower users and will enable data to be gathered, but the tools will initially lack the functionality to empower other civil rights organisations and researchers to work with the data. If the appeal target is exceeded, the extra funds will enable phase two of the tool development to begin as soon as phase one is completed.
“We believe this work will revolutionize the fight against online hate, and we’re incredibly pleased to see so many people getting behind the appeal, not only with their donations but also in sharing the appeal page and its video with others. The awareness being raised has its own impact in stopping hate. We’re just the facilitators; the online community is now making this happen. With this support behind us, once the tools are built and start to be used, the impact will be huge.”
Progress on the campaign will be regularly reported on the OHPI Facebook page over the coming weeks.