Center for Countering Digital Hate

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) is a British non-profit organisation with offices in London and Washington, D.C. that works to stop the spread of online hate speech and disinformation.[3] It campaigns to deplatform people that it believes promote hate or misinformation, and campaigns to restrict media organisations such as The Daily Wire from advertising.[4] CCDH is a member of the Stop Hate For Profit coalition.[5]

Center for Countering Digital Hate
Formation19 October 2018; 5 years ago (2018-10-19)[1]
TypePrivate company limited by guarantee
Registration no.11633127[1]
Key people
Imran Ahmed (CEO)[2]
Formerly called
Brixton Endeavours Limited

According to public records, the organisation was incorporated in 2018 in London as Brixton Endeavours Limited. It changed its name to Center for Countering Digital Hate in August 2019.[1] In 2021, its US office was registered as a nonprofit organisation in the United States.[6] CCDH's current CEO is Imran Ahmed.[7]

Activities edit

The CCDH has targeted social media platforms for what it says are insufficient efforts on their part to fight neo-Nazis[8] and anti-vaccine advocates.[9]

Campaigns edit

Campaign against Galloway and Hopkins edit

In January 2020, the CCDH campaigned against Katie Hopkins, a far-right political commentator, and George Galloway, a veteran left-wing politician and broadcaster.[10] TV presenter Rachel Riley and the CCDH directly lobbied "Big Tech" companies to have both journalists removed from major social media platforms. According to media reports, Riley and Imran Ahmed had a "secret meeting" with Twitter's London based staff in January 2020, demanding the removal of Hopkins and Galloway from their platform.[11]

CCDH's attempt to remove Galloway from Twitter failed, but Hopkins had her account suspended for a week in February 2020,[12] and removed permanently in July 2020.[13]

Campaign against David Icke edit

In April 2020 the CCDH launched a campaign against the British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who gained increased media attention during the COVID-19-associated lockdown in the United Kingdom.[14] In November 2020, Twitter removed Icke's account for violating the site's rules against spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

Stop Funding Misinformation edit

"Stop Funding Misinformation" campaign logo

Originally called Stop Funding Fake News, the campaign asks advertisers to stop placing ads on web sites it argues are spreading misinformation ("fake news").[16] It began as a grassroot campaign in March 2019,[17] inspired by the US success of Sleeping Giants which had convinced several advertisers not to advertise on the Breitbart News website.[16] Ted Baker, Adobe Inc., Chelsea FC, eBay and Manchester United were among the 40 brands and charities that the campaign had persuaded to stop advertising on what it called fake news sites.[18][19]

In March 2019, charity Macmillan Cancer Support removed an advertisement from The Canary Web site after complaints from the campaign and from others.[20] The campaign maintained that The Canary promoted conspiracy theories, defended antisemitism, and published fake news.[21] The Canary said changes to Google and Facebook's algorithms and the Stop Funding Fake News campaign led to The Canary downsizing its operations; it said that it was "against the actions of a state, not against Jewish people as an ethnic group" and that it had been "smeared with accusations of anti-Semitism by those who've weaponised the term for political ends".[19][22][23] Labour Party MP Chris Williamson described the campaign against The Canary as "sinister".[24]

Campaigns against Google advertisements for media organisations edit

The CCDH has campaigned to restrict the reach of the following media organisations by targeting their use of the Google advertising platform: Breitbart News, CNSNews, HotAir, Newsbusters, Newsmax, MRCTV, RedState, Twitchy, The Daily Wire, and Zero Hedge.[25] The CCDH wrote an article asking Google to stop running advertisements for what the CCDH called "racist disinformation and conspiracies" relating to George Soros, claims that the U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the veracity of climate change claims. Advertisements from American news site The Daily Wire were targeted by CCDH in this campaign.[26][non-primary source needed]

The CCDH notified Google that the Zero Hedge Web site had published what it called "racist articles" about the Black Lives Matter protests. As a result, in June 2020, Google found that reader comments on Zero Hedge breached its policies and banned Zero Hedge from its advertising platform.[27]

Campaign against climate change deniers edit

In November 2021, a report by the CCDH identified "ten fringe publishers" that together were responsible for nearly 70 percent of Facebook user interactions with content that denied climate change. Facebook said the percentage was overstated and called the study misleading.[28][29] The "toxic ten" publishers were Breitbart News, The Western Journal, Newsmax, Townhall, Media Research Center, The Washington Times, The Federalist, The Daily Wire, RT, and The Patriot Post.[29]

TikTok edit

In December 2022, the CCDH reported that the social media platform TikTok promoted self-harm and dieting content to users.[30]

Twitter/X Corp. edit

In June 2023, the CCDH reported that after Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter, the site "fails to act on 99% of hate posted by Twitter Blue subscribers".[31] Twitter's successor company, X Corp. responded to this by filing a lawsuit against the CCDH on 31 July 2023, saying that they "falsely claim it had statistical support showing the platform is overwhelmed with harmful content."[32]

Funding edit

The CCDH was reported in 2020 by the BBC to receive funding from the Pears Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Barrow Cadbury Trust.[33]

In 2021 the Paul Hamlyn Foundation gave £100,000 to the CCDH.[34][non-primary source needed]

In August 2023, Jim Jordan, the chair of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, wrote to CCDH requesting the CCDH provide all documents and communications between the CCDH and the U.S. Executive branch and social media companies, a list of employees, contractors and grants received, to determine if the U.s. government "has coerced and colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech".[35][36] Responding to The Washington Post reporters, the CCDH denied receiving any funds from the United States government and provided documents it said showed its bipartisan approach.[35]

In September 2023 the Washington Examiner reported that CCDH has had multiple board members who have either been British politicians, officials, or government staffers.[37]

Publications edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Center For Countering Digital Hate Ltd". Companies House. 10 May 2020. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Center for Countering Digital Hate Ltd". Officers (free information from Companies House). 9 October 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  3. ^ "About". The Center for Countering Digital Hate. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  4. ^ Vaughan, Adam (4 August 2023). "Google fails to block adverts on 'climate lie' sites". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  5. ^ Frazer, Jenni. "'The reason social media companies tolerate hate? Profit'". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Center for Countering Digital Hate | Charity Navigator Profile". Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  7. ^ "About". Center for Countering Digital Hate. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  8. ^ "Facebook Still Ignoring Warnings of Neo-Nazi Fundraising Network on Its Platforms, New Report Claims". 23 November 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  9. ^ Burki, Talha (1 October 2020). "The online anti-vaccine movement in the age of COVID-19". The Lancet Digital Health. 2 (10): e504–e505. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(20)30227-2. ISSN 2589-7500. PMC 7508526. PMID 32984795.
  10. ^ "George Galloway sacked by talkRADIO over allegedly anti-Semitic tweet". BBC. 3 June 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Countdown's Rachel Riley in secret talks over Katie Hopkins' Twitter suspension". Metro. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Katie Hopkins' Twitter Reinstated Following Week-Long Absence". Huffington Post. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  13. ^ Slawson, Nicola; Waterson, Jim (19 June 2020). "Katie Hopkins permanently removed from Twitter". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Icke antisemitic conspiracies viewed over 30 million times, new research shows". The Jewish Chronicle. 10 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Twitter bans David Icke over Covid misinformation". BBC News. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  16. ^ a b Frot, Mathilde (3 April 2019). "How a group of friends are fighting fake news – with a hand from Rachel Riley". Jewish News. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  17. ^ Cohen, Nick (19 March 2019). "The campaign to boycott the extremists who peddle fake news". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  18. ^ McCarthy, John (25 June 2019). "Stop Funding Fake News in talks with media agencies to demonetise misinformation sites". The Drum. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  19. ^ a b Reporter, Jewish News (2 August 2019). "'Fake news' site forced to downsize, blaming campaign by 'political Zionists'". Jewish News. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  20. ^ Frot, Mathilde (27 March 2019). "Anti fake news activists persuade cancer charity to remove advert on The Canary". Jewish News. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Our fight against fake news is starting to turn the tide". 7 August 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  22. ^ Tobitt, Charlotte (5 August 2019). "The Canary blames attacks by 'political Zionists' for failing business model as cuts fall". Press Gazette. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  23. ^ Doherty, Rosa (6 August 2019). "JVL co-chair not in 'the slightest bit embarrassed' about supporting 'fake news' blog The Canary". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 20 January 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  24. ^ "Suspended MP Chris Williamson defends pro-Corbyn hyper-partisan The Canary, attacking 'sinister' bid to close it". The Jewish Chronicle. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  25. ^ Vaughan, Adam (5 August 2023). "Google fails to block adverts on 'climate lie' sites". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  26. ^ Lavelle, Tom (27 January 2023). "Google runs ads on search queries for racist disinformation and conspiracies". Center for Countering Digital Hate | CCDH. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  27. ^ Fraser, Adele-Momoko (17 June 2020). "Google bans website ZeroHedge from its ad platform over comments on protest articles". NBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  28. ^ a b Porterfield, Carlie (2 November 2021). "Breitbart Leads Climate Change Misinformation On Facebook, Study Says". Forbes. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  29. ^ a b c "The Toxic Ten: How ten fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial". Center for Countering Digital Hate. 2 November 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  30. ^ "TikTok self-harm study results 'every parent's nightmare'". the Guardian. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Twitter fails to act on 99% of Twitter Blue accounts tweeting hate". Center for Countering Digital Hate | CCDH. 1 August 2023. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  32. ^ Field, Hayden (1 August 2023). "Twitter, now called X, sues researchers who showed rise in hate speech on platform after Musk takeover". CNBC. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  33. ^ "Coronavirus: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 'fail to tackle anti-vaccination posts'" BBC 3 September 2020
  34. ^ "Paul Hamlyn Foundation" grants 2018-2022
  35. ^ a b c Zakrzewski, Cat (17 August 2023). "A nonprofit fights GOP allegations that it supported a 'censorship regime'". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  36. ^ "Chairman Jordan Expands Censorship Investigation to Center for Countering Digital Hate". House Judiciary Committee Republicans. 3 August 2023. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  37. ^ "'Disinformation' tracker accused of censorship holds ties to UK government: 'Dark arts'". Washington Examiner. 19 September 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  38. ^ "Don't feed the Troll: Sadiq Khan, Gary Lineker and Rachel Riley pledged not to publicise abuse they receive online". The Independent. 16 September 2019.
  39. ^ "How to Deal With Hate on Social Media: Don't Feed the Trolls". NHS Horizons. September 2019.
  40. ^ "Gary Lineker and Rachel Riley are silencing trolls once and for all – by doing this one simple thing". Birmingham Mail. 16 September 2019.
  41. ^ "Stop engaging with online trolls altogether, public figures say". The Guardian. 16 September 2019.
  42. ^ Thomas, Justin (23 September 2019). "Don't feed the trolls: how to deal with cyber bullies". The National. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  43. ^ Ahmed, Imran (7 July 2020). "It's time the tech giants cracked down on the anti-vaxx infodemic". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  44. ^ Ahmed, Imran (2021). "Dismantling the anti-vaxx industry". Nature Medicine. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 27 (3): 366. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01260-6. ISSN 1078-8956. PMID 33723446.
  45. ^ Armitage, R. (2021). "Online 'anti-vax' campaigns and COVID-19: censorship is not the solution". Public Health. Elsevier BV. 190: e29–e30. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2020.12.005. ISSN 0033-3506. PMC 7834951. PMID 33441254.
  46. ^ Herasimenka, Aliaksandr; Au, Yung; George, Anna; Joynes-Burgess, Kate; Knuutila, Aleksi; Bright, Jonathan; Howard, Philip N (24 December 2022). "The political economy of digital profiteering: communication resource mobilization by anti-vaccination actors". Journal of Communication. Oxford University Press (OUP). 73 (2): 126–137. doi:10.1093/joc/jqac043. ISSN 0021-9916. PMC 10066223. PMID 37016634.
  47. ^ "Facebook to 'take down' coronavirus misinformation". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  48. ^ "Social media companies 'failing to act on 90% of Covid-19 misinformation'". ITV News. 3 June 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  49. ^ "Social media firms fail to act on Covid-19 fake news". BBC News. 3 June 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  50. ^ Brown, Kristen V. (6 April 2021). "A Look Inside the Anti-Vaxx Playbook". Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  51. ^ "Facebook condemned for hosting neo-Nazi network with UK links". the Guardian. 22 November 2020. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  52. ^ Reporter, Metro Science (3 September 2020). "Social media 'failed to remove 95% of anti-vaccine misinformation'". Metro. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  53. ^ Campbell, Hebe (27 April 2021). "US Congress hearing probes misinformation via social media algorithms". euronews. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  54. ^ Guenot, Marianne. "Instagram recommendation algorithms are pushing anti-vaxx and QAnon posts, NGO report says". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  55. ^ Hern, Alex (9 March 2021). "Instagram led users to Covid misinformation amid pandemic – report". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  56. ^ Harpin, Lee (9 March 2021). "Instagram's algorithm 'recommending' antisemitic imagery and QAnon conspiracies". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  57. ^ Jarry, Jonathan (31 March 2021). "A Dozen Misguided Influencers Spread Most of the Anti-Vaccination Content on Social Media". Office for Science and Society. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  58. ^ "Covid vaccine: Social media urged to remove 'disinfo dozen'". BBC News. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  59. ^ Srikanth, Anagha (24 March 2021). "12 prominent people opposed to vaccines are responsible for two-thirds of anti-vaccine content online: report". TheHill. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  60. ^ Viser, Matt (16 July 2021). "'They're killing people': Biden aims blistering attack at tech companies over vaccine falsehoods". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 August 2023.

Further reading edit

External links edit