ISBA launches initiative to #challengehate

ISBA has today launched an initiative to help advertisers tackle hate speech on their social media platforms and created the hashtag #challengehate to be used to flag abuse.

The initiative, which was created in collaboration with Nationwide Building Society, the Metropolitan Police and Stop Hate UK, aims to ensure that ISBA members know how to respond to online hate.

As the organisation representing advertisers, ISBA believes it is important to stand up to hate, to ensure that those who resort to hate speech understand that responsible brands will not tolerate intolerance. ISBA believes that turning a blind eye or deleting abusive comments is not enough and has produced guidance that offers practical advice on how to deal with them.

The guidance which has been issued to all members today offers advertisers a clear simple route to counter hate speech that does not inflame or open further dialogue with the individual(s): identify what you regard as unacceptable; flag unacceptable content using the hashtags #challengehate and #reported; report to the relevant platform and where appropriate the police; monitor the volume of flagged comments so ISBA can build a clearer picture of the scale of the issue; and support any individuals who have been personally subjected to abuse. The principles behind the advice to members are very clear:

  • Don’t be abusive yourself: make sure your words and any content you share doesn’t spread hate
  • Don’t spread hate: if abuse has come from someone with only a few followers don’t give them any public attention – just report them to the relevant platform
  • React promptly: responding to old comments risks reviving a conversation and have an adverse effect
  • Be consistent in what and how you tackle hate speech.

The guidance was developed in consultation with Google, Facebook and Twitter who gave their advice on how hate speech can be flagged on their platforms and is available to download here >

Commenting on the initiative Tanya Joseph, ISBA’s Director of Public Affairs said “One of the negative consequences of social media is that it has created an environment in which far too many people think making vile, threatening comments is acceptable. ISBA thinks it is time we stand up to hate which is why we are today asking our members and indeed any other organisations which feel the same to do their bit to change things. By challenging hate online we can clean up the online space, both for brands, for our consumers, for our colleagues.”

Sara Bennison Chief Marketing Officer of Nationwide added “We fully support the launch of ISBA's #challengehate initiative due to the impact we believe the rise of divisive and hateful comments online has on society. Adverts featuring people of different colours, backgrounds and perceived sexuality appear to attract the most criticism and vitriol. We, like others, have experienced this first hand through our Voices Nationwide campaign.

"It is often the case that organisations will remove and delete offensive posts as that is the easy thing to do, but by doing that there is a danger we are unintentionally condoning a world where hate speech and threats are deemed ok. Of course, there is a line between what can be considered 'banter' and what is fundamentally crossing the line. But, as organisations, we need to establish when someone has clearly used unacceptable language, particularly towards an individual.

"We look forward to working closely with ISBA, brands, social platforms and the appropriate authorities to look at how we, as advertisers, can play our part in tackling this broader social issue.”