Kinder, Gentler Politics is a report exploring the rise of online abuse in political debate, setting out a number of recommendations for how the state and social media platforms can act to combat the issue.
The report builds upon a range of existing research and includes analysis of more than 53,000 tweets directed at political influencers in the UK as well as various popular UK political Facebook groups. The research particularly focuses on the impact that online abuse has on the expression of political opinions online.
Download and read the report here.
Content warning: This report contains a number of detailed examples of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, as well as examples of rape threats and death threats.
Publication date: 16 October 2018.
The report sets out 11 key recommendations including:
- The introduction of a new, user-based tax on social media giants to fund digital literacy and anti-discrimination initiatives.
- The creation of a new, independent regulator called the Office for Social Media Regulation.
- The extension of anti-social behaviour orders to cover online behaviour with online sanctions.
- The introduction of powers to temporarily suspend social media platforms from operating in the UK as a final sanction for inaction on abuse.
The report contains forewords from Areeq Chowdhury, Khadija Said, Hannah Bardell MP and Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid ‘Magic’ Magid.
Hannah Bardell MP said:
“Continued failure to combat online abuse will mean social media platforms will never reach their true potential for civil debate and will drive good people away from getting involved with politics.”
Magid ‘Magic’ Magid said:
“If we are to bring about a kinder, gentler politics, we need to see a collective effort by social media companies, politicians, and communities to root out bigotry, reform abusers, and protect victims.”
This project has been supported by the Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust.