Hate Speech Online Almost Tripled During Black Lives Matter Protests

Concept of problems of today internet. Hate speech caption isolated on notebook keyboard with blank keys.

New data has revealed the effect of the recent Black Lives matter protests on online hate speech.

Advertising technology company DoubleVerify found the rate of Hate Speech impressions online has been 2.8x higher than average since 26 May, the date of the George Floyd murder.

This reached rates of 4.5x higher than average on 3 June, at the peak of the protests in the United States.

The sharp rise in online hate speech raises obvious concern for advertisers around brand safety.

DoubeVerify insights research manager Steve Ferrari said the company has blocked “millions of ads” from appearing alongside hate speech content during this period.

The proliferation of hate speech has been matched with an increase in fake and inflammatory news, the DoubleVerify research found.

The rate of fake news was 38 per cent higher following the death of George Floyd compared with pre-May figures.

It peaked on 31 May and has been returning to pre-May levels since.

The brand safety concerns for advertisers around fake news and online hate speech follows similar fears about COVID-19.

At the beginning of the outbreak, many advertisers chose to keyword block terms like ‘coronavirus’ and ‘COVID-19’ – even on trusted news sites – to protect their brand.

DoubleVerify’s block rate of ‘COVID-19’ reached 12 per cent in mid-March. By June, this had fallen to two per cent.

In a recent brand suitability report DoubleVerify revealed it had been classifying COVID-19 coverage as either sever/negative content or positive/neutral content to help protect advertisers.

The company has also been recommending clients use keyword blocking lists to avoid emerging negative content, increase precision on specific topics and block narrow, brand-specific concerns.


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