Mayor of London’s Online Hate Crime Summit 2017

This morning I was up super early to speak with Jason Rosam on BBC London Radio to talk about the Mayor of London‘s brilliant new police unit to tackle online hate crime.

The Online Hate Crime Hub is made up of specially trained officers who will work with community groups. social media organisations, academic hate crime specialists and criminal justice partners to investigate online hate crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook, and provide support for victims.

Five dedicated London Metropolitan police officers, led by a Detective Inspector, make up the new Online Hate Crime Hub. The aim is to improve the police response to online hate by gathering intelligence, improving understanding and testing new investigation methods.

Today Sadiq Khan, honours his manifesto commitment, to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime of all forms by also bringing together experts in tackling online hate and extremism at the UK’s first ever Online Hate Crime Summit.

Representatives from Twitter, Facebook, Crown Prosecution Services, the Met and charities joined victims of online hate to discuss how they can work together to tackle this issue and support those affected.

I welcome the Online Hate Crime Summit and especially the Online Hate Crime Hub. I think this will work  as an effective deterrent to those that troll and spread hate online as well as provide quality and consistent support to victims across London.  Sending a zero-tolerance message whether that is through an increase in reporting, an increase prosecutions and  or more proactive work from social media companies will encourage those who are intent to make the online community unsafe to think again.

As you know, I was targeted by online trolls earlier this year. Being an Elected Councillor and having a great network of cool people kinda places me in a privileged position. Not everyone has a badass MP like Lyn Brown; or friends like Laura Bates from EverydaySexism who can use her brilliant following to galvanise brilliant women (and men) around the world to support me; or a great relationship with their local police officers to get the right things done and done quickly.  This Online Hate Crime can ensure victims are properly supported and best practice is shared across the Metropolitan Police.

Some will and have already said that “hate speech are just words, you should just ignore them.” I 100% disagree!

There is a huge difference between unkind words (which is unacceptable) and calling someone variations of “Ne*ro”, “Filthy N*****” and “N*g**ess” or a “Monkey”, “Chimp”,  “Ape”, “Harambe’s cousin”, “All Africans live in Mudhuts”,  “eff off back to Africa and die there you useless parasite” … “Lol kill yourself”, or that they hoped for “the next Ebola outbreak”, or to “ get lynched you stupid nog” and that “if all whites agreed that the best course of action would be to exterminate blacks, we could do it in a week.”… 

Free speech is very clearly not same as hate speech. Hate speech is a crime and since when did we tell people to simply ignore when a crime is being committed.

We need to take back our online community space. I’ve written some recommendations on how social media companies can effectively deal with their online trolls. The inventors of Twitter and Youtube couldn’t have foreseen how their tech innovation would change the world and I am sure they never intended trolls to take over their platforms.  I look forward to hearing further details on the Online Hate Crime Hub as the weeks go by and will be monitoring the delivery of the unit closely.

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