225% Increase in ‘Hate Speech’ Reported to Report Harmful Content – Annual Report 2021

23 Jun 2021 Andy Robinson

Today (23/6/2021) Report Harmful Content (RHC) launched their annual report for 2021 ‘Through These Walls’, which analyses data between January 2020 and December 2020. Although there appears to be a worrying rise in reported cases, it is also apparent that there is improved public understanding of identifying and reporting incidents to official bodies.

‘Through These Walls’ seeks to get to the heart of harmful content reporting over the past year, not only regarding harmful content proliferation during the COVID-19 lockdowns, but also public attitudes towards identifying and raising incidents with an official dispute resolution service.

The report offers a detailed look into the particular types of harmful content flagged, including a breakdown and analysis of the most common forms. Some of the key findings were:

  • The RHC website received 17,406 visitors and practitioners dealt with 644 unique cases, a 292% rise on the previous pilot year.
  • One in three incidents involved bullying or harassment
  • 225% increase in ‘hate speech’ reported
  • Domestic Abuse trend finds 75% of perpetrators personally known to the victim, and three-quarters of reports were made by women

On a more positive note, of the reports logged with RHC, 90% of the content escalated to industry was successfully actioned and removed, indicating the right tools do exist to report and resolve these distressing events for victims.

Kathryn Tremlett, Report Harmful Content’s Manager, says, “Although the report indicates the web is still awash with harmful and inappropriate content, it is a positive sign public awareness around this important issue is increasing. Although these findings indicate an urgent need to better regulate online content and protect internet users, they also show that bodies like RHC are efficacious in giving redress for victims by getting these disputes raised and resolved.

She continues, “It will surprise no one that this is just the tip of a much larger iceberg, which needs more exposure. It’s our ongoing aim to offer a channel for the public to raise their concerns directly with industry, where legal routes don’t currently exist or reporting channels on platforms aren’t proving effective. COVID-19, and more time spent online, has thrown this into the spotlight, prompting the need for a wider discussion. As such, the UK Government’s recent Online Safety Bill represents a welcome opportunity to move the conversation on.”

Report Harmful Content (RHC) offers a safe, impartial and effective platform to report harmful content. If you have been a victim or witnessed harmful online content, then get in touch for free support.

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