Online Civil Courage Initiative Takes Aim at Hate Speech

By David Cohen Comment


Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced an initiative aimed at encouraging Internet users to speak out against hate speech.

Sandberg announced in a Facebook post that Facebook, Peter Neumann, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Amadeu Antonio Stiftung teamed up to launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative, with support from Germany state secretary Gerd Billen and that country’s Ministry of Justice.

She wrote:

The Internet gives voice. It helps people share the moments that matter to them and stand up for the things they believe in.

In the past year, we’ve seen millions of people come together online to support refugees and stand in solidarity with the victims of terror attacks. But we’ve also heard voices of hate growing louder. With extremism damaging lives and societies across the world, challenging those voices has never been more important.

Deleting content won’t make the hatred go away. We can’t just treat the symptoms–we have to treat the cause. We need the voices of tolerance and love to ring out across the world, because the best remedy to bad speech is more speech.

Today Facebook joined Peter Neumann, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Amadeu Antonio Stiftung to launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative–a joint project to encourage people to speak up against hate. Thank you to State Secretary Gerd Billen and the Ministry of Justice (Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz) for your support and leadership.

Hate speech has no place online–or in society. Together, we can make sure the voices of peace, truth and tolerance are heard. Love is louder than hate. #zivilcourage #civilcourage

Readers: What is the first thing the Online Civil Courage Initiative should focus on?