That’s the headline of our report approved today by Barnsley Council’s cabinet.
Our No Place for Hate campaign launches next week, championing our borough to be the place of possibilities where nobody faces abuse, online or in their community.
Though digital platforms like social media have connected people across the borough and across the globe, the rise in intimidation, disinformation and hate speech on these channels is also rapidly growing.
And there’s no excuse for it.
No Place for Hate reminds us that we all need to realise the effect we can have on others when we comment or post online. That we all need to realise that what might just be seen as a comment or someone showing their frustrations can often cause real harm to others that read it.
The prevalence of hate online is something we’re all too aware of in our council, and we’ve been working to tackle abuse, disinformation and unacceptable behaviour on our pages.
This year we implemented our new social media policy and our zero-tolerance approach to online abuse. Since the start of February, we’ve made over 160 interventions, including asking people to amend or remove their comments or removing people’s access to our accounts.
It’s easy to forget that, behind our social media accounts, are real people trying to do their jobs. We want to make it clear: being the victim of targeted abuse is never part of someone’s job or role, whatever sector they work in.
We’re asking you to think before you click post. To consider the effect that your actions could have on others. To challenge or report online abuse when you see it.
Shokat Lal, Executive Director for Core Services, said: “We’re putting our foot down against abusive behaviour online and in our communities. As part of No Place for Hate, we’re encouraging everyone to show positive behaviour on social media to play their part in developing supportive, inclusive communities online.”
“I’m so proud that we’re launching this campaign. For too long we’ve accepted online abuse as typical, that receiving hate is simply a consequence of being online. The truth is that it’s absolutely unacceptable, and something that no one should have to experience. Our message is clear: no matter the circumstances, no matter how you might feel, there’s no place for hate.”
No Place for Hate in Barnsley isn’t just a council campaign. To really make a difference, we need everyone to show a united stance against hate and abuse in our borough. We’re encouraging our partners to champion the campaign and maximise every opportunity to get this message across.
If you want to be part of this positive change in Barnsley, pledge your support here.