FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) will be launching a new online tool “Fight Against Hate” at a launch event in Sydney on December 9th, the evening before International Human Rights Day.

The tool, which is a game changer in the fight against online hate, will be launched by the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications. Once launched, users from around the world will be able to use the system to register reports of online hate which will be visible to experts in real time. The system will also monitor and report on how the major social media platforms respond to users’ reports. The launch event will also feature a number of short speeches and a panel discussion about issues related to online hate.

OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, said that, “There is a urgent need for greater transparency when it comes to online hate on major social media platforms. At present there is no way for the public, civil society or governments to accurately judge how effective social media platform are at removing hate speech which violates their terms of service. Anecdotally we were of many cases where content which clearly breaches the terms of service is reported, yet the platforms reject the complaints.  Research, including that published by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, has found seriously difficulties in getting hate speech removed.”

Last International Human Rights Day the Online Hate Prevention Institute published a detailed report looking at 50 anti-Muslim hate pages on Facebook, a year later, 34 of these Facebook pages are still online. Disappointingly, the largest of these pages, with over 50,000 supporters, has more supporters coming from Brisbane than from any other city on the planet.

“Online hate is a global issue, but it should be of particular concern to Australians both because of the threat to multiculturalism which is a key part of our national identity, and because what data we do have clearly shows Australians are over represented when it comes to online bigotry. Fight Against Hate, which uses crowd sourcing to tackle the problem of scale, will allow us to start putting real numbers on the scale of problem for the first time. That data will allow researchers, policy makers, and the public to better address the danger online hate poses. In the mean time, the online tool will bring together activists from across Australia, and around the world, who are willing to stand up and do something about the growing problem of online hate. That itself is an important step forward,” Dr Oboler explained.

NGOs, community organisations, and relevant government departments and agencies who are interested in being involved are invited to contact the Online Hate Prevention Institute. The event is open to the public and tickets are on sale via the event page. All proceeds from the tickets will support OHPI’s work combating online hate.