Aug 29, 2022
It is shocking, but no longer surprising, that the hate and disinformation which permeates social media provokes real-life harms. Conspiracy theories promulgated by a small cadre of hatemongers persuaded thousands to reject life-saving vaccines leading to preventable deaths. Children persecuted by anti-LGBTQ groups have succumbed to suicide. White nationalist groups breached the Capitol on January 6, based on an internet-based lie, that the presidential election had been stolen. This is the unsafe social media ecosystem that the Center for Countering Digital Hate, led by Imran Ahmed, intends to end. In 2016, Imran experienced the brutal murder of his colleague, member of Parliament Jo Cox, attacked during the referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. The far-right Britain First party targeted MP Cox as a “traitor to white people,” setting her murder in action. CCDH counters social media companies’ failure to enforce their own code of ethics, a legislative framework that is woefully outdated and a business model that rewards hate. Imran suggests nonprofit leaders talk to staff about how social media induced hate impacts the implementation of their mission. As Imran says, this is our collective generational struggle.