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Cyberhate Response
BEST PRACTICES FOR RESPONDING TO CYBERHATE

BEST PRACTICES

It is our hope that the following Best Practices will provide useful and important guideposts for all those willing to join in the effort to address the challenge of cyberhate. We urge members of the Internet Community, including providers, civil society, the legal community and academia, to express their support for this effort and to publicize their own independent efforts to counter cyberhate.

PROVIDERS

  1. Providers should take reports about cyberhate seriously, mindful of the fundamental principles of free expression, human dignity, personal safety and respect for the rule of law.
  2. Providers that feature user-generated content should offer users a clear explanation of their approach to evaluating and resolving reports of hateful content, highlighting their relevant terms of service.
  3. Providers should offer user-friendly mechanisms and procedures for reporting hateful content.
  4. Providers should respond to user reports in a timely manner.
  5. Providers should enforce whatever sanctions their terms of service contemplate in a consistent and fair manner.

THE INTERNET COMMUNITY

  1. The Internet Community should work together to address the harmful consequences of online hatred.
  2. The Internet Community should identify, implement and/or encourage effective strategies of counter-speech — including direct response; comedy and satire when appropriate; or simply setting the record straight.
  3. The Internet Community should share knowledge and help develop educational materials and programs that encourage critical thinking in both proactive and reactive online activity.
  4. The Internet Community should encourage other interested parties to help raise awareness of the problem of cyberhate and the urgent need to address it.
  5. The Internet Community should welcome new thinking and new initiatives to promote a civil online environment.

Background

The Internet is the largest marketplace of ideas the world has ever known. It enables communications, education, entertainment and commerce on an incredible scale. The Internet has helped to empower the powerless, reunite the separated, connect the isolated and provide new lifelines for the disabled. By facilitating communication around the globe, the Internet has been a transformative tool for information-sharing, education, human interaction and social change. We treasure the freedom of expression that lies at its very core.

Unfortunately, while the Internet’s capacity to improve the world is boundless, it also is used by some to transmit anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia and other forms of hate, prejudice and bigotry. This hate manifests itself on websites and blogs, as well as in chat rooms, social media, comment sections and gaming. In short, hate is present in many forms on the Internet. This diminishes the Internet’s core values, by creating a hostile environment and even reducing equal access to its benefits for those targeted by hatred and intimidation.

In an ideal world, people would not choose to communicate hate. But in the real world they do, all too often. And hate expressed online can lead to real-world violence, nearby or far away. The challenge is to find effective ways to confront online hate, to educate about its dangers, to encourage individuals and communities to speak out when they see it, and to find and create tools and means to deter it and to mitigate its negative impact.

Working Group

In May 2012, the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, an organization comprised of parliamentarians from around the world working to combat resurgent anti-Semitism, asked the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to convene a Working Group on Cyberhate. The mandate of the Working Group was to develop recommendations for the most effective responses to manifestations of hate and bigotry online. The Working Group includes representatives of the Internet industry, civil society, the legal community and academia.

The Working Group has met four times, and its members have graciously shared their experiences and perspectives, bringing many new insights and ideas to the table. Their input and guidance have been invaluable, and are reflected in the Best Practices that we are proposing in this document. Obviously, the challenges are different for social networks, search engines, companies engaged in e-commerce and others. Nevertheless, we believe that if adopted, these Best Practices could contribute significantly to countering cyberhate.

Ask.FM style=

"ASKfm is happy to support ADL's Best Practices efforts – it’s a perfect fit with our safety philosophy and commitment to our 150 million global users, many of whom are under the age of 18. ASKfm strongly believes educating and empowering our community with the right tools and information will help maintain their safety while providing fun, positive and fulfilling online experiences as well. "

Facebook

"Facebook supports the Anti-Defamation League's efforts to address and counter cyber hate, and the Best Practices outlined today provide valuable ways for all members of the Internet community to engage on this issue," said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook. "We are committed to creating a safe and respectful platform for everyone who uses Facebook."

Facebook's Community Standards

Read about "Facebook’s Community Standards"

Google

"Every day, millions of people post content on YouTube, Blogger, and Google+. In order to maintain a safe and vibrant community across our platforms, we offer tools to report hateful content, and act quickly to remove content that violates our policies. We support the ADL’s continued efforts to combat hatred online."

Read the Google Public Policy Blog article "Fight Online Hate Speech"

Microsoft

"Microsoft is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable online experience for our customers, and to enforcing policies against abuse and harassment on our online services, while continuing to keep freedom of speech and free access to information as top priorities. The Best Practices document is a tool that can foster discussion within the community and advance efforts to combat harassment and threats online."

– Dan Bross, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship at Microsoft

Quizlet

"Quizlet is committed to being a safe learning environment for all students, and we support the ADL's effort to combat cyber hate. We prohibit the posting of hateful or intolerant content in our Community Guidelines, and encourage users to report any inappropriate content or activity. Our team strives to address reports quickly, as well as identify and remove bad content proactively. We aim to reinforce our values with every new feature we build, and will continue to work towards a more supportive, respectful online community through best practices."

Sound Cloud

"We are committed to providing our community with a space that is free from hatred and intolerance. Our team strives to develop and enforce policies designed to combat reported content which goes against our Terms and Community Guidelines. We fully support the ADL’s continued efforts to educate and encourage individuals to take action against online hate, including the recently published Best Practice guidelines.

You can find out how to report content to our dedicated team by reading this article."

Twitter

"Twitter supports the Anti-Defamation League’s work to increase tolerance and raise awareness around the difficult issue of online hate. We encourage the internet community to seek diverse perspectives and keep these best practices in mind when dealing with difficult situations online."

To find out what you can do, and for more information on Twitter’s reporting and policies, check out Twitter’s Safety Center and follow the @Safety account.

Whisper

"Whisper believes that all digital platforms maintain a fundamental responsibility to proactively mitigate online hate and bullying. We take every effort to combat cyberhate on our platform, with a hybrid community safety operation that includes both robust human and advanced technical moderation systems. We are grateful that the ADL is leading the charge against cyberhate by developing and articulating best practices in the space."

Whisper Community Guidelines can be found here: https://whisper.sh/guidelines

Yahoo

"Yahoo is committed to confronting online hate, educating our users about the dangers and realities, and encouraging our users to flag any hostile language they may see on our platform. As a member of ADL’s Working Group on Cyberhate, we support the ADL’s efforts to promote responsible and respectful behavior online."

Read Yahoo’s Global Public Policy blog article "Standing Up to Cyberhate"

YouTube

Read about YouTube " Community Guidelines"

Anti-Defamation Commission

"I applaud and wholeheartedly support the incredibly important work of the ADL in fighting anti-Semitism and hatred on the Internet through Best Practices. As is clear, the Internet has become a vital recruiting tool for racists and extremists and a vehicle for them to inexpensively and easily disseminate their ideology of incitement and messages of bigotry, conspiracy theories, prejudice, bullying and calls for violence. Like the ADL, the ADC is strongly committed to meaningfully tackling this growing problem head on, and this wonderful initiative by the ADL is a critical and laudable step in promoting an inclusive, safe and respectful environment for all users.

– Dr. Dvir Abramovich, Chairman, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Australia



To learn more about the Anti-Defamation Commission

Community Security Trust

"During the meetings between the social networks representatives and the Working Group, they came to appreciate that, for all the benefits it has brought, the internet also acts as the primary medium for encouraging and promoting hate. Their support for the statement of principles demonstrates their growing commitment to combating hate, and marks the start of a developing relationship determined to reduce harmful content which involves all the players in this process.

CST believes that this positive development will encourage users to hold the social networks to the principles contained in the statement and looks forward to continuing participation in the joint initiative."

More information on Community Security Trust

DAIA

"The DAIA has the mission of fighting against all expressions of anti-Semitism, discrimination, racism and xenophobia, to preserve human rights, promote interfaith dialogue and harmonious coexistence among all citizens, in a mark of respecting differences, denouncing international terrorism, ensuring the security of the institutions and members of the Jewish community of Argentina. Fighting tirelessly against hate online; [DAIA] receives complaints daily, which are analyzed in the Complaints Board Annually, the DAIA receives around 200 cases of anti-Semitism expressed through Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Together with the ADL, in 2010 the DAIA started to cover a series of trainings aimed at eradicating hate and to develop projects in this regard.".

FISESP

"The Israelite Federation of the State of São Paulo (Brazil) is dedicated to the fight against online hate through legal and political actions and clarification to the community and general public.
From the legal point of view we have lawyers specialized in this type of crime, that act when expressions come from sources and countries in which the attackers rely on the distortion of the concept of freedom of expression. Politically we work with municipal, state and federal authorities, showing that its fundamental to rapidly develop mechanisms that impede that in Brazil all types of hate and discrimination are spread with impunity by the virtual world. Internal communication material is done to educate youth and their families on safe usage of social media networks and the internet in general, and together with Brazilian society supporting initiatives that lead to educate our country to prevent and if necessary to punish such manifestations. The FISESP has permanent contact with international organizations that also are devoted to this fight, in this case the ADL and several others.
".

Muslim Advocates

View Muslim Advocates "Click Here to End Hate" campaign

Danielle Keats Citron

Danielle Keats Citron

Lois K. Macht Research Professor & Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

"The Working Group's efforts are important for what they do and say. Its recommendations urge transparency at every stage of a provider's engagement with destructive online hate and harassment. Users should know what sites expect of them: how providers define prohibited content, how they deal with content that violates their guidelines, and fair warning of their decisions with regard to reported content. This advice comports with the aspirations of due process--fair notice and a chance for users to be heard. The efforts of the Working Group send the powerful message that there are social media providers and others that care about equal opportunities for speech and dignity."


Author website: Danielle Keats Citron

An Amazon best seller available at Amazon and Harvard University Press

Contributing writer to the Concurring Opinions website.

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