Who are the Creators for Change?

According to a No Hate Speech Movement survey, 83 per cent of users have already encountered hate speech online. In an online world full of challenges and risks such as these, promoting positive messages among young people who are influenced by radical ideas such as hate speech and extremism may seem ambitious.

Building on the foundation of the YouTube Creator Hub (an online space for resources to help users make great videos, find their audience and grow their channel), YouTube aims to show how vlogging can be a valuable tool in providing a counter narrative to hate speech and radicalisation. In this context, YouTube's initiatives have developed and evolved, backed by a Creator Academy also, into its Creators for Change initiative. Launched as a global initiative in September 2016, YouTube Creators for Change supports creators who are tackling social issues and promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy on their YouTube channels: "Social change videos are built around five fundamentals: voice, story, courage, community and action. Creators for Change are brave enough to share their personal stories to educate us all about injustice and inequality worldwide."

Anyone with a phone (or any internet-connected device) can share their content online: Creators for Change uses the power of YouTube to spread positive messages that result from this. More specifically, Creators for Change Ambassadors aim to drive greater awareness and foster productive dialogue around social issues through content creation and speaking engagements. These ambassadors also share inspirational vlogs in which they speak to their (sometimes young) audiences on issues such as hate speech, xenophobia or extremism.

"I remember when September 11th happened, and I knew from that day onwards that my life will be affected" says Humza Arshad in his famous Creators for Change vlog. Humza is a British and Pakistani YouTube comedian, based in the UK. Widely known for his "Diary of a Badman" series on YouTube, Humza also uses his self-deprecating comedy to tackle difficult issues such as extremism and gang violence.

Alongside its ambassador initiative, YouTube has also established a fellowship programme to support the next generation of emerging creators in using their voices for good. Examples of fellows include famous European vloggers such as Swann Périssé (France) – fascinated by how humour can break down barriers, and Datteltäter (Germany) – three Muslims and one Christian that fight racism, sexism, stereotypes and all kinds of hate speech through their channel, again using humour.

With the aim of increasing the visibility and outreach of these initiatives, YouTube organised a competition in 2016 entitled Toi-Même Tu Filmes. The competition aimed to sharpen the critical thinking skills of French youth in the face of hate speech, while also giving them tools and skills to articulate their positive visions of "fraternity".

For more information on how to get involved in the Creators for Change initiative, visit the YouTube website.

At a European level, various other initiatives combatting hate speech and the spread of radicalisation material have emerged in recent years, with a particular focus on providing alternative narratives and policy support. For example, the Council of Europe facilitated the creation of the No Hate Speech Movement (NHSM) following the Oslo attacks and Utøya massacre that claimed 77 lives in Norway in 2012. Likewise, the European Commission has been active in combatting hate speech and the spread of terrorist material and exploitation on communication channels, as well as protecting freedom of speech, through initiating a code of conduct for companies fighting hate speech in May 2016.

The Better Internet for Kids (BIK) initiative exists to make the internet a safer and better place for children and young people. Within this area of work, the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) in Europe reaches out to children and young people, as well as teachers, parents and carers, with information and resources tackling a range of online issues, including hate speech and radicalisation, while also supporting the development of critical thinking skills. Such resources can be consulted, in national languages, in the BIK Resource gallery and BIK Video gallery. Some specific examples include:

In related activities, Safer Internet Forum (SIF) 2016 included a panel discussion on hate speech and radicalisation online, bringing together policy makers, industry and youth representatives, while the annual celebration of Safer Internet Day (SID) encouraged all stakeholders to "Be the change: Unite for a better internet" as part of its 2017 campaign. Moreover, a new BIK Positive Online Content Campaign, further raising awareness of many of the issues outlined above, will take place 25-29 September 2017.

Keep checking the Better Internet for Kids portal for the latest information, or subscribe to the quarterly BIK bulletin for news direct to your email inbox.

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