GAADHE Issues A Powerful Call To Action To Tech Giants To Preserve Elections And Democracy

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The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) is playing a pivotal role in the fight to protect democracies in this year of elections and against digital hate and extremism through its extensive research and collaboration with key international coalitions such as the Global Alliance Against Digital Hate & Extremism (GAADHE) and the esteemed Club de Madrid. Today, each of these alliances, in collaboration with GPAHE, sent powerful letters to the world’s leading technology companies urging them to protect democracies and communities, and not allow exemptions for political and public figures who break the rules.

Club de Madrid is a coalition of more than 100 democratic former heads of state from around the world. GPAHE has successfully partnered with over 70 global civil society groups, orchestrating a unified front that challenges the world’s leading technology companies to enforce their content community standards regardless of status or privilege, especially in non-English languages. The Global Alliance, led by GPAHE and a steering committee, aims to instill rigorous and equitable online content moderation standards that reflect the diversity and cultural nuances of global populations. 

Civil society leaders and former heads of state from around the world are in agreement and demand that our democratic processes are protected. These collaborations are specifically instrumental in achieving change on the part of technology companies that have such a disproportionate impact on voters, elections, and democracies. It is urgent that these tech giants cease the preferential treatment afforded to political and public figures who flout established rules with hate and dehumanizing speech and disinformation. 

The Global Alliance letter points out the chilling effect harmful political speech can have on democratic processes and how it inspires violence that can lead as far as genocide and urges tech companies to take definitive steps to curb the amplification of harmful and violative content from political and public figures with human content moderation in this year of global elections, even as they reduce election integrity staff. Most importantly, this includes enforcing existing policies that are currently not equally applied to political leaders and influential figures who are often exempted from rules based on ‘newsworthiness’ or ‘public interest.’ This is especially evident in online political advertising where there is no fact-checking of the material at all, leading to a significant source of disinformation in all languages, but especially non-English languages. 

“The eyes of the world are on technology companies at this crucial moment for global democracy, as they decide whether to lead with integrity or continue to allow harmful narratives from political figures to shape our societies and threaten communities,” said Wendy Via, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “We must demand more than ad hoc responses; we need consistent, fair application of human content moderation that holds all individuals, regardless of their status, to the same standards. The time to act is now—our democracies depend on it.”

GPAHE is pleased to have collaborated with Club de Madrid on their simultaneous powerful plea to the technology platforms to embrace their responsibility for online ecosystems that impact democracies. Club de Madrid’s letter highlights the alarming trend of countries moving away from democracy and toward authoritarianism, exacerbated by the influence of social media platforms and the manipulation of digital technologies. Recognizing the urgent need for action, Club de Madrid calls on technology companies to take proactive measures to safeguard democracies and electoral integrity, curtailing speech by public figures that incites violence, fuels discrimination and jeopardizes social inclusion, which Club de Madrid calls Shared Societies. 

“We bear witness to the erosion of democratic values in the digital era, and are urging urgent action. Hate speech online silences voices, desensitizes societies, and undermines the very fabric of democracy, emboldening authoritarians”, remarked Danilo Türk, President of Club de Madrid and former President of Slovenia.

And Carlos Alvarado, former President of Costa Rica, highlighted, “Leaders’ rhetoric on social media has real-world consequences, amplifying division and fear. As democratic former presidents and prime ministers, we are firmly committed to safeguarding democracy in the digital age, one keystroke at a time.”

GPAHE’s foundational expertise supports these collective efforts, highlighting the severe consequences of unchecked disinformation and hate speech on community safety and our political processes. 

Through strategic partnerships and relentless advocacy, GPAHE is dedicated to fostering an online environment that respects human rights and fortifies democratic institutions. This commitment by GPAHE, in collaboration with the GAADHE and Club de Madrid, exemplifies a concerted global effort to combat the pervasive influence of digital hate and to ensure that technology serves as a force for good in the preservation of global democracy.

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