This is the first briefing in a new project documenting anti-Asian hate on Facebook and Instagram. This project is being conducted in partnership with Meta’s Australia office and the Race Discrimination Team at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In this briefing we explain the project and the data collected so far. In later briefings we will focus on providing examples and commentary on specific examples.

Gathering the data

We began by gathering a sample of over 180 items of anti-Asian hate from Facebook and Instagram. Most of the items were posted by Australians. We determined an item was posted by an Australian if the poster’s profile explicitly said they were from Australia, or other content they posted demonstrated a clear Australian connection (e.g. discussion of Australian entertainment, sport, politics, local news, etc). In some cases content from outside Australia was included where it was both visible in Australia and received reinforcement (e.g. positive reactions / sharing) from Australians.

Using the collected data we created an ontology of anti-Asian hate with 5 major categories of anti-Asian hate and 14 sub-categories. We have shared these categories in discussions with experts internationally.

The categories of anti-Asian Racism

We have added a new category page for anti-Asian Racism (a topic we have covered since 2012) and added a button to it on our homepage, alongside the other major categories of hate we cover, such as, racism, cyberbullying, misogyny, antisemitism, Islamophobia etc.

On the new anti-Asian Racism page we have set up our Fight Against Hate online reporting tool, configured for Anti-Asian hate, which enables members of the public to report anti-Asian hate to us and categorise the content being reported using the ontology above. To report an item please share the exact web-address. For a comment or post you can get this by clicking on the “date/time” information.

Image of the reporting tool

Australian based community groups can add the tool to their own website using the following code:

<iframe loading="lazy" src="https://fightagainsthate.org/hatemonitor/gateway?gateway_id=eeed9d81-50c0-4111-88f5-86a5193be883#!/reportHate" width="100%" height="800"><span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span></iframe>

Community consultation

We have already shared our sample of data with both the Australian staff of Meta (formerly Facebook) so they can take action to remove this content. We have also shared it with the Australian Human Rights Commission so they can better understand the nature and scope of the problem.

In May / June we will be consulting with community groups from across the Asian-Australian communities, sharing the data we have gathered (including that submitted by the public), discussing our analysis, listening to their thoughts on the data, and the experiences of their communities. Community groups will be approached through the Australian Human Rights Commission with an invitation to participate. Community organisations also email ceo [at] ohpi.org.au to express their interest.

A limited set of data will be published, along with commentary, through a series of briefings. The articles will be collated on our Anti-Asian Racism page. Each will be shared through a post on our Facebook page and via our email newsletter (sign up here). The articles will include links to there Facebook post where members of the public can leave comments and thoughts.

The data we gather, our analysis, the views of the impacted communities, and some responses from the public, will be included in a report we publish at the end of this project (June / July).

Expanding the Project

We are currently fundraising to expand the project (donate here). If sufficient funds are raised, we will offer workshops on identifying, reporting, and responding to anti-Asian hate. It will also allow us to produce additional briefings and spend more time gathering additional examples of the problem.

Support for this project

This project is led by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, directed by our CEO Dr Andre Oboler, and overseen by the OHPI Board of Directors. The Race Discrimination Team at the Australian Human Rights Commission and Meta’s Australian office are partners in the project and providing valuable advise and assistance.

The project is made possible thanks to a donation from Meta (in the US), we are grateful for this support and for the manner in which it was provided which helps to ensures our work remains independent.

This work follows earlier work on COVID and Online Hate which we completed at the request of the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2020-2021, and which also led to a report delivered to the Victorian Parliament as part of the inquiry into anti-Vilification protections.

Feedback and support

You can provide feedback on this briefing by commenting on this Facebook post. You can also assist us by sharing this post on social media and directly with individuals and community groups within the Asian-Australian community. Donations to support an expansion of the work, and reports of online anti-Asian hate you see are also greatly appreciated as discussed above.