Friday, August 14, 2015

Petition to Help Stop Online Hate Speech

This email came from ColorOfChange:

I just started a petition titled "Don't Fund the Next Dylann Roof: Dump Reddit"

Here's why this is important:

Online hate speech leads to violence in the real world.

Less than two months ago, nine people were killed as they worshipped at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The young man who murdered them did so as a result of his indoctrination by various websites espousing racial hatred. The website Stormfront has already been linked to upwards of 100 murders. Despite recently banning CoonTown, its largest "subreddit," or forum, dedicated to anti-Black racism, Reddit still hosts tens of thousands of white nationalists and other racist activists in the many racist subreddits that remain, and CoonTown users have already announced plans to re-form. These users recently began outpacing Stormfront users in measures of engagement like subscriber growth and page views, which spells danger; in its report on murderers linked to Stormfront, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that more time spent on hate sites was a common characteristic of those who went on to kill.

Reddit validates hate speech by giving it space on one of the largest, best-known websites on the web. White supremacist groups have also recognized the site as a fertile breeding ground for their ideologies, and have provided a template for using Reddit to recruit new blood to their cause. The "containment" strategy that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced earlier this month is not keeping hate contained; racist content shows up all over the site, and subscribers to hate subreddits continue to harass other users, particularly users on Black-interest subreddits.

Reddit has repeatedly shown that it will not act to protect women or people of color without public and financial pressure to do so. Child porn and other forms of non-consensual pornography, such as revenge porn, were only recently banned, and only after a barrage of negative media attention and celebrity involvement. Despite publicly announcing a crack down on subreddits that harass others and promote violence, Reddit continues to look the other way as subscribers to its racist subreddits harass users of color, celebrate violence against black and Jewish people, and call for racial holy war.

With the momentum building and in response to pressure from activists and supporters like yourself, Reddit announced August 5th that it would ban some of its racist subreddits, including "CoonTown." However, in doing so, Reddit didn't articulate a clear hate speech policy, and made no moves to stop the violent anti-black racism that dominates the site. They banned CoonTown because it became an "annoyance" to them. Reddit's announcement was so egregious that Gizmodo published a piece titled "Reddit Bans /r/Coontown For All the Wrong Reasons.

Reddit needs to see that they cannot hide their hate problem; if they do not address it head on, their advertisers will face a consumer backlash that will force them to #DumpReddit.

Please join me,
Casey Stevens
go to site to see/sign petition

Here is the petition text:
Audible showed itself to be a good corporate citizen by taking a stand and pulling its ads. I am now asking that you do the same until Reddit bans hate speech entirely. Will you please make a public commitment to cancel your advertising on Reddit until it accomplishes the following:

1) Bans speech intended to dehumanize, demean or degrade a group of people based on inherent personal characteristics like race, gender, sexuality, religion, and the like
2) Prohibits users from forming groups solely devoted to hating other people
3) Bans the rest of the subreddits devoted to hate, not just CoonTown

Your advertising dollars help the site maintain its echo chambers of dangerous white supremacist ideology, and having the support of mainstream advertisers like you validates both Reddit and the hate speech it hosts.

Sign now

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