Last month, we launched Imposter Buster, a unique Twitter bot. Its goal: to unmask and undermine racists who impersonate Jews and other minorities on social media, then say bigoted things in order to defame those groups. Since the bot began calling these imposters out, over a dozen such accounts have been suspended, and others have given up their trolling in frustration at being exposed.
Imposter Buster was designed to combat a very specific problem in the world of online hate. But there are many more that cry out for creative, bottom-up solutions. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool, but it is available to all, including the racists. Those opposed to bigotry need to compete in the online marketplace of ideas. They cannot rely on social media companies to censor and self-police their content. Fortunately, thanks to the Anti-Defamation League and the Natan Fund, there’s now a way for users to take the fight into their own hands.
The two groups have just launched a competition designed to identify promising projects to beat back online hate and empower their progenitors to see them through to completion. “Innovate Against Hate,” they explain, is an innovation prize “intended to catalyze the creation of grassroots approaches to counter the rise of hate online, to deter abuse, and to protect users from cyber harassment.” The first prize is $35,000. The runner-up will receive $15,000.
Per the ADL’s web site, they are looking for proposals that:
Develop positive, constructive efforts to understand, expose and undermine some form of online hate, such as harassment, extremism, or cyberbullying;
Educate diverse audiences about the contours and dangers of hate online, particularly those that chill the ability or willingness of people to use social media;
Build awareness of existing tools available on various social media platforms to tackle hate, and encourage not only their active use, but also ways to improve them; and
Encourage counterspeech initiatives that bring Jewish and other ethnic and religious communities together to speak out against and overwhelm hate speech online.
Application are due by February 20. Apply here.