Migrants in Action – MIAU!  

The project MIAU! supports people who want to engage against right-wing extremism and populism and group-focused enmity (derogatory and exclusionary attitudes and actions towards people because of their ascribed belonging to social groups) throughout the internet with and within their communities. 

MIAU! is designed for those who reject hatred and aggression in the digital world, but could not find an active way to deal with it so far – however they are eager to help form opinions and take responsibility for the communication within their social media spaces. 

MIAU! works on creating content in “snack size” to address hate speech and builds up a digital Community-Space with and for Micro-Influencers who have a migration background.   

The Community-Space is a place to debate, learn and try out strategies against hate and for democratic digital action. In this way interested people can connect and learn from each other how to recognize, unmask and intervene against narratives of right-wing extremism, -populism and hate speech (even better).    

Together we develop and try out snack-sized methods within the Community-Space, that focus on:   

  • Addressing hate speech (e.g. racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, discrimination of LGBTIQ people and other -isms) and right-wing extremist as well as –populist strategies and narratives.   
  • Raising awareness among users of social networks for hateful, discriminatory and anti-democratic content, as well as helping them to identify and unmask such content.   
  • Increasing the commitment against all -isms and especially right-wing extremism in digital spaces.

The so-called “snacks” are distributed by Micro-Influencers throughout their communities, for example on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In the community space, we will reflect on the differing experiences with these snacks in order to additionally strengthen the multipliers’ (critical) media literacy. 

Why is this project needed? 

Too many interactions on social networks contain anti-democratic content. Hate speech – the discrimination due to various -isms on the internet, as we understand it – in the meantime, affects the vast majority of internet users. The technical possibilities to identify and counter it are limited: e.g. on Facebook,  algorithms recognize, flag or delete hate speech primarily in English. Codes, references, images and messages differ between national contexts, making them difficult to be detected by humans or technology. Especially far-right actors are adopting quickly to countermeasures and -movements.

Hate speech is also present in migrant social media spaces. Processing the specific forms of hate speech in these spaces (similarities and differences) enables new areas of action, also for actors from migrant communities. A lot of users (irrespective of language) are not able to recognize and debunk anti-democratic content and hate speech (e.g. racism, sexism, ableism, etc.) or right-wing extremist narratives.

Within social media spaces that are influenced by migrants, German anti-democratic discourses are mixed with hateful and anti-democratic narratives from other countries that are based on community-specific topics. This primarily happens in the languages of origin – while the supply of support to limit the damage that right-wing extremist narratives and hate speech cause are mainly in German. MIAU! fills this gap. 

Project funded by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.