Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced £100,000 of government funding for tackling online hate – but the founder of a digital democracy project believes that tech firms need to do more too.
The public money will be used by the Antisemitism Policy Trust to support their work tackling online racism aimed at Jewish people.
MPs including Luciana Berger, Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth and Louise Ellman have publically spoken of the anti-Semitic abuse they have received online.
Robert Jenrick MP said:
“Online hate can be a pernicious force that not only causes immediate harm to its victims but can embolden its perpetrators.
“By funding innovative programmes that educate future generations and stem the spread of harmful ideologies we will stamp out this scourge, wherever it appears.”
Joel Poopola, is founder of the Digital Democracy project, which aims to use online technology to reconnect people and politics.
He said: “This funding is to be welcomed. Digital democracy is key to the way we do politics now, and the government is quite right to take any steps it can to keep online civic spaces safe – but it should not be left to them.
“Big tech firms have a fundamental role to play in twenty-first century politics, but they continue to abdicate their responsibility for the daily debasement of dialogue between electors and elected.
“If you allowed your house to be a meeting space for political extremists, and then claimed that the disgusting abuse being transmitted from your living room was nothing to do with you, or that you had no power to stop it, no-one would believe you. So why do we allow some of the biggest businesses in the world to do it?
“The Digital Democracy project has developed an abuse-proof platform to connect electors and the elected. If we can find the resources to develop this technology, so can billion-dollar businesses”.
Rate Your Leader, is a free app which allows voters to communicate directly with elected representatives in a way which makes abuse impossible, as well as rating them for responsiveness.
The app was developed by the Digital Democracy project, which aims to use digital technology to reconnect electors and the elected and prevent online hate.
The Rate Your Leader app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces. The app has a five star rating on the Google market, with one reviewer writing “This is the new level of politics…better communication of leaders with the electorates and accountability”.
An ever-increasing number of MPs, councillors, MEPs and Police & Crime Commissioners have already taken advantage of the free democracy app to stay in touch with the people who elect them and to get their message out to confirmed voters in their constituencies, helping them truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them.