The Center for Countering Digital Hate is a not-for-profit NGO headquartered in London, England that seeks to disrupt the architecture of online hate and misinformation.
Digital technology has changed forever the way we communicate, build relationships, share knowledge, set social standards, and negotiate and assert our society’s values.
Digital spaces – forming an important new plane of human existence – have been colonised and their unique dynamics exploited by fringe movements that instrumentalise hate and misinformation. These movements are opportunistic, agile and confident in exerting influence and persuading people.
Over time these actors, advocating diverse causes – from anti-feminism to ethnic nationalism to denial of scientific consensus – have formed a Digital Counter Enlightenment. Their trolling, disinformation and skilled advocacy of their causes has resocialised the offline world for the worse.
They have done so by skilfully simulating widespread support – social proof – in order to shift behavioural and attitudinal norms.
Such movements have emerged in multiple places simultaneously and are a product of deep changes in our technological base, rather than contingent circumstances or formal coordination.
The Center’s work combines both analysis and active disruption of these networks. CCDH’s solutions seek to increase the economic, political and social costs of all parts of the infrastructure – the actors, systems and culture – that support, and often profit from hate and misinformation.
Solutions such as Stop Funding Fake News have proven effective in demonetising and reducing the reach of websites that masquerade as real news but in fact contain conspiracy theories, misinformation and propaganda, intermingled with shoddy journalism.
Programs such as Don’t Feed the Trolls and Don’t Spread the Virus aim to reduce visibility of hate and misinformation by persuading social media users not to engage with provocative statements – because engagement is rewarded in social media algorithms with wider exposure – and instead to ignore, block and report.
CCDH have also forced social media companies to establish precedent and remove hateful or dangerous speech by holding them directly accountable for their tolerance of hateful content.
The Center’s solutions have proven effective against a number of different types of hate and misinformation, like identity-based hate, climate change denial and health misinformation. The aim is to produce practicable, efficient and scalable strategies and tactics to counter hate and misinformation globally.
The Center works with practitioners in diverse fields, such as political science, behavioural psychology, the law, countering violent extremism (CVE), counterterrorism and child protection to develop strategies that strengthen tolerance and democracy, and counterstrategies to new forms of hate and misinformation.