Stop Funding Hate - let's lock in the change

by Stop Funding Hate in Brighton, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 4th March 2019 we successfully raised £5,067 with 172 supporters in 91 days

The fightback against hate is gaining ground. Now we need to lock in the change, and build our movement to make hate unprofitable for good.

by Stop Funding Hate in Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Together we’re making hate unprofitable. Over the past two years, thousands of Stop Funding Hate supporters have taken action, and a string of advertisers have publicly dropped the Daily Mail, Sun or Daily Express.

We're now seeing improvements in the UK press, but there is a way to go - and hate is still rife on social media. Now we need to lock in the change, widen the campaign, and build a movement for "ethical advertising" to make hate unprofitable for good.

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Stop Funding Hate is working

The fightback against media hate is gaining ground. Earlier this year the Daily Mail removed online banner ads from its entire opinion section after Center Parcs, the Southbank Centre, EA Games and several other brands walked away. Weeks later, both the Daily Express and the Sun publicly acknowledged past mistakes in their coverage. Then the Daily Mail brought in a new editor and revealed plans to “detoxify”

Every week, Stop Funding Hate staff and volunteers look through the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun. While there’s still a way to go, we’re no longer seeing the scale of hostile stories that we saw when the campaign began in 2016.  

Feedback from media insiders suggests that Stop Funding Hate supporters helped bring about this change.

Together we’re showing that this model of campaigning can work. Now we need to make the change sustainable, and remove the temptation for newspapers to revert to bad habits when the pressure’s off. 

How can we lock in the change?

Pulling ads from one hateful newspaper is an important step. But to achieve long-term systemic change, advertisers need to apply this principle across the board. 

We have to permanently change the business model, and tackle the financial incentives which have been driving extreme coverage.

So how are we going to do this? We’re going to establish ‘ethical advertising’ as a principle.  

A Fair Trade movement for advertising

Together we’ll use our voices as consumers to persuade more big brands to publicly commit to ensuring they don’t advertise with media that fuel hatred - and incorporate this into their day-to-day working practices. 

*We'll build a “Fair Trade movement for advertising”, including a wide network of civil society groups and communities directly affected by hate. The more of us join this movement, the stronger our collective voice can be.

*We will build our offline presence through outreach at Pride events, festivals and student conferences across the UK. 

*We will develop more online tools to help consumers engage with the companies they shop with to raise concerns about their advertising.

*Following the success of this year’s Co-op Group AGM motion on Responsible Advertising, we’ll support Co-op members in seeking to ensure it is properly implemented in the run-up to the 2019 AGM.

*We'll work with the United Nations and other international partners to establish ethical advertising as a globally-recognised business ethics issue.

Wherever possible, we will work together with the growing number of brands who want to do the right thing. To strengthen our case, we will pilot a “watchdog” system to give every UK newspaper an objective score, and produce a league table of the most and least “hateful” publications. 

Every year, over £22 billion is spent on advertising in the UK alone. Globally, that figure is more than £425 billion. If even a fraction was switched away from media that fuel hatred, and towards those that report accurately and fairly, this could help to fix the broken business model, and change our press for good.


Let’s make social media great again

Stop Funding Hate began life on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve seen for ourselves the power of social media in mobilising thousands of people to take positive action.

But during this campaign we’ve also seen the shocking anti-Semitism, misogyny, racism, and anti-Muslim hatred that is regularly posted online - including chilling calls for violence. 

Whether in print or on social media, this drip-drip of hatred can have deadly consequences.

As print sales decline, and more and more advertising moves online, social media is also increasingly where the profits from hate are being made.

The internet was meant to bring us closer together. But now far-right extremists are weaponising this technology to divide us and spread messages of hate. 

Yet as with the traditional press, advertising money and consumer engagement could be the key to bringing about change.

 

What we will do

We will use the tools of social media to organise a large-scale consumer campaign to persuade Facebook, Twitter and the other big tech firms to enforce their rules on hate speech. 

Some big advertisers have already called for more effective action. Facebook makes over 95% of its income from advertising, so when brands speak out they have to listen. 

But as social media consumers, each of us who uses Facebook and Twitter also has a voice. The more effectively we organise ourselves, the stronger our collective voice can be.  

Stop Funding Hate will develop an open and participatory campaign to put direct pressure on the big tech firms - and to encourage the companies we shop with to use their influence too. 

We’ve seen this work elsewhere. Successful campaigns have already pushed Facebook into disclosing who is behind political adverts. A mass blocking of Twitter’s advertisers helped persuade the platform to improve enforcement of their hate speech rules. 

We know that together we can mobilise support. We've successfully challenged the UK press to clean up its act - now we can do it with social media too. 

Online hate speech is a difficult and complex issue. But the status quo can’t continue - the health of our democracy and wider society is at stake.

Budget

To make this happen we need to raise £45,000 to fund the campaign for the next six months. This will cover staff, campaigning resources, research & organisational support.

*£17,000 to fund our community organising work with student groups, faith groups, trade unions and communities directly affected by hate.

*£8,000 for a research pilot to give every major UK newspaper an objective score, and produce a league table of the most and least “hateful” publications.

*£4,000 to fund our digital and social media campaigning activities.

*£11,000 to cover campaign strategy development, communications, and outreach with brands.

*£5,000 for a programme of outreach at UK Pride, student events and festivals during 2019.

Every penny raised will be spent on achieving our goals. We're a registered non-profit CIC (10737024) and will share updates on how the money is spent with all supporters.

Who we are

Stop Funding Hate is a community of people who refuse to be demonised or divided against each other. Our core team includes volunteers from a range of backgrounds - media, advertising, law, human rights and campaigning - who have come together because we believe something has gone wrong with the way the press portrays some of the most vulnerable in society.

Our partners include the United Nations human rights office, hate crime monitoring group Tell MAMA, and the National Union of Students. Last year, Stop Funding Hate was proud to receive an award in memory of Jo Cox MP at the national No2H8 Crime Awards. 

Stop Funding Hate supporters are from all ages, backgrounds and political allegiances. We’re open to anyone who shares our values of fairness, respect, empathy and honesty. 

We are not pushing for any change in the law or regulation. Our aim is simply to tackle the financial incentives that encourage hostile and inaccurate content.

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