Unity Starts with U: A Case Study of a Counter-Hate Campaign Through the Use of Social Media Platforms

Hate has been a growing concern with hate-groups and individuals using the Internet, or more specifically, social media platforms, to globalize hate. Since these social media platforms can connect users around the world, hate-organizations are using these connections as opportunities to recruit candidates and spread their propaganda. Without opposing views, these extreme viewpoints can establish themselves as legitimate and then be used to incite hate in individuals. Thus, these extreme viewpoints must be countered by similar messages to discourage this online hate, and one such way is to use the same platforms through grassroots movements. This paper presents a case study which was conducted on a class of Criminology students who implemented a grassroots community-based campaign called Unity Starts with U (USwithU) to counter-hate in a community by using social media platforms to spread messages of inclusion and share experiences. The results from the campaign showed improvements on people’s attitude towards hate at the local community level. Based on literature and this campaign, policy recommendations are suggested for policymakers to consider when creating or making improvements on counter-narrative programs.

Tags: community-based, counter-hate, counter-radicalization, grassroots, Internet, Online, Policy, Social Media