– First mobile application against online occurring hate speech

Original Title: BanHate
Country: Austria
Category: Active Citizenship
Project team: Lukas Pessl, Mag. Daniela Grabovac, Michael Zimmer,

BanHate is the first mobile app enabling users to easily report hate speech occurring online, in times when fear-mongering and post-truth politics poison the public sphere. The four core areas include: reporting hate posts, monitoring reported posts via colour-coded up-dates, an educational mission statement and organizational profile. BanHate aims to create a strong sense of community as people collectively oppose hate speech on social media and feel the impact of their actions.

The attractive user interface is designed for simple five-step reporting. A registration process guards against misuse, maintaining reporter anonymity. Organizational info ensures full transparency. Users may share activities on facebook, but not the hate-post. Info pages sensitize users to discrimination, showing existing forms – sexual orientation, social status, disability, sex/gender, ethnicity, age, political opinion and religion – raising awareness of the impact of hate speech on society and of the importance of reporting. Scaling up from the local to the European level will offer lasting social impact. A clear winner.

Jury Evaluation:

“In times where populist movements poison us with fear, sweet anger and post-truth politics, especially via online communication platforms, and cause division and hate within our society, BanHate addresses this major problem in the best possible manner. Their extremely user-friendly mobile application provides an attractive, interactive and high quality platform for citizens to develop a bottom-up counter-movement to online hate speech. Additionally, with their business model the project has potential to scale up quickly and expand from the local up to the European level with a lasting social impact. It fulfils every criterion in the Active Citizenship category to its fullest and is therefore a clear winner.” – EYA Grand Jury Report

Mentor Statement:

“I think it is important for people to recognize that we live in a time where people are communicating through the Internet more than ever, and because of this we have also seen a rise in the amount of hate speech rhetoric being used. “BanHate” could solve this problem at local and European levels, and also teach people about the harmful impact that hate speech has.
On a local scale, I believe this platform has the potential to solve problems of online bullying between youth in schools. Internationally, we can learn about the hate speech being used by people in one culture about people in another. There are only two example in the wide variety of categories we see hate speech being used for including sexual orientation, social status, sex/gender, ethnicity, or religion. I think “BanHate” can teach people how to tear down stereotypes they have about others and build long lasting, positive communication between all people.
Overall, I am fascinated by “BanHate” because of its ability to raise awareness about a serious topic that affects countless individuals in all societies and uses clever, digital innovation to create a practical solution.”

Susanne Urschler
Head of the Micronetworks unit |Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG)

Please note that all data refer to the time of winning the Award.