If the great R&B Legend and American icon, Sam Cooke, was alive today, he might amend the title to his famous song, “Change Is Gonna Come” because in 2021 Black digital content creators and online users believe that the increase in online racial hate is here to stay per the latest Online Racial Hate Report.
The report was generated by B Code, a digital media company in partnership with hip hop news site SOHH.com, in order to provide new insights and perspectives on how harmful content on social media platforms is impacting Black audiences and content creators online.
The report reveals that more than half (54%) of all Black content creator respondents have been victims of online racial hate. Many social platforms have existing guidelines that are supposed to help filter discriminatory or racist posts and comments. But most Black respondents surveyed indicated that they do not feel things will change.
More specifically, the majority of respondents said they do not report racial hate due to feeling disenfranchised, with 58% indicating the report will not make a difference and another 30% believing that no punishment will be imposed.
Damian Benders, General Manager of B Code, says that one of the striking revelations from their research is that Black audiences are not seeing adequate progress to address harmful content.
“What we’re seeing is that most Black audiences have not seen any progress in stemming the tide of hateful speech on social platforms” says Damian Benders, General Manager of B Code. “We hope that this study provides much needed insight into how online activity translates into real life impact and guidance on what social media platforms must do to mitigate exposure to harmful content.”
The release of the report comes at a time when Black audiences, Black content creators, and racial hate speech have become a hot topic as companies scramble to find better ways to provide safer experiences for its users.
But if there is a solution, where do we begin and who is ultimately responsible? Danielle Hester, Brand Marketing Lead at B Code, believes it’s important that more safeguards are implemented to create healthier experiences for Black content creators and their followers.
“Because of the discrimination they face online, Black content creators may not feel comfortable expressing their authentic selves when engaging with others online and feel isolated due to not feeling welcome within online communities,” said Hester. “The onus is on social media platforms to make their digital environments more of a safe space hospitable for diverse creators,” she concluded.