MIAU! is a project that supports people in and with their communities in the fight against right-wing extremism, right-wing populism and group-based misanthropy on the Internet. MIAU! is there for those who reject hate and agitation in their digital environments but have not (yet) found ways to actively deal with it – but who want to contribute to the shaping of opinions and take responsibility for communication in their social media spaces.
To foster this engagement for democratic digital spaces, we develop new digital methods of civic education. We work with people from various communities to activate more people for democracy on the web.
That means: we jointly develop and test digital formats and methods on a „snack-size“ scale that have the following goals:
- Address hate and discrimination (e.g. racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, LGBTIQ hostility…) and right-wing extremist narratives and strategies online,
- Sensitize social media users to hateful, discriminatory and anti-democratic content, i.e.: help them to recognize and expose such content
- Strengthen engagement against hate and especially right-wing extremism in digital spaces.
These „snacks“ can be carried into different, digital communities by the participants – for example to groups and followers on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Examples of such formats and method in a „snack“ format are:
- Telegram chats as a new „event“ format on various topics
- Memes and gifs that can spark discussions or be used as counter-speech against hate speech
- Mini video campaigns on specific issues or topics
- Explainer videos and graphics
- Quizzes on specific topics within civic education
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 adapting 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.
Innovative digital formats for civic education
Since the beginning of the project, we and many committed people, have been developing small formats and methods, which we call „snacks”.
These snacks boost discussions, impart knowledge, or help to fight hate and discrimination – and they do so through joy and humor. Or even with the help of cats.
We have gathered some of these snacks in an interactive mini website, a „genially“.
Click and take a look (the content is in German, partly in English / Spanish / Polish)!
Project funded by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.