Police atrocities, violent suppression of dissent, polarised political arena... The world feels so much more hateful now.
Space for nuanced debates is waning even as eye-popping hate mongering abounds.
The attention economy has ‘incentivised’ hate and outrage even as kindness is disincentivised.
The question then is, what can we (advertising industry and media industry) do to heal this bruised world?
The most powerful thing that we can and must do is STOP ENABLING HATE.
Not in a sporadic one-off token way, but with a systemic change in the way we do our media planning and advertising placements.
Here's looking at an idea to create a system for MEASURING AND DIS-INCENTIVIZING HATEFUL CONTENT.
Would love to know what industry leaders think of this and how we can build a coalition to make this the default system of advertising in the world.
Sporadic efforts. But nothing systemic.
A lot yet needs to happen. We have only begun
questioning the role of media and advertising in
We are positioned well to have a big
Afterall, we (the advertising industry)
own the weapons of mass influence.
Media fueling rising hostility towards
Muslims in Britain
28 April 2016
Some of the top rated news channels in India indulge in open and constant
hate-mongering against Muslims, often based on lies, rumours or half-truths.
Globally there are some efforts to do this. But it still
needs mainstream muscle – aka, us. We can make a
systemic change in partnership with these experts.
We shouldn’t be the arbiters of
truth and morality.
We don’t want to be
seen as partisan. We need system to partner and
hedge risk and responsibility.
need a system that can ‘nudge’ clients and
consumers to choose kinder and truthful content
over hateful and false content.
: ‘Right things to do’ often come
with a price tag that no one wants to pay for.
Need right coalitions and right ‘choice
architecture’ to enable raising funds to make this
Lets begin humbly with open minds.
We are not experts in building such
systems. We must collaborate with NGOs,
media watchdogs, platforms etc., to build,
maintain and run the system.
Perhaps through a new industry wide body
that co-ordinates efforts and manages
fundraising for this effort.
We use behavioural science to ‘nudge’ consumer
behavior. Here, we have an opportunity to ‘nudge’ our
client’s behavior towards being more responsible
and aware. Make them own the choice.
When planning campaigns and media, along with
considerations such as reach, frequency, engagement
etc., they should also have to explicitly choose
between the following.
Do you want to enable hate or
Optimise for marketing goals regardless of its harmful
Optimise for marketing that doesn’t hurt anyone?
what our ads enable
Focus on unambiguous choices, not the broader set
of morality around content.
Morality can be contentious. For instance, Is
abortion morally right or not? We don’t want this to
become a weapon in hands of partisan lobbies.
We must also ensure that we don’t infringe on the
right to free speech.
The unambiguous choices we need to concern
Is the content factually wrong for the purpose of
being partisan/ divisive/ blaming a community/
promoting hate/ inciting violence?
That should remain the scope of our efforts.
We need to objectively measure prevalence of
falsehood and hatefulness for particular publications
ACROSS CHANNELS and make this index available for
clients to base their media spends on.
The index could be based on number of incidences
(content pieces) flagged off so far by moderators/
verified volunteers/ factchecking organisations.
It could be a continuous scale with every false +
hateful content increasing their points in Hate index.
Keep the index open to all to ensure transparency and
create public pressure on publications to err on the
side of kindness and truth.
TV ZEE NEWS 23
DIGITAL BBC 4
TV NDTV 9
TV BLOOMBERG 8
PODCAST THE BUGLE 5
WEBSITE THEWIRE 12
WEBSITE BUZZFEED 7
RADIO RADIOCITY 2
SOCIAL MEDIA FAYE D’SOUZA
WEBSITE OPINDIA 31
--- --- ---
HATE INDEX: Illustrative score
schematic (illustrative. fictitious as of
now) for publications across media
Educate clients and our employees about
impact of fake news and hateful news. We
can use our partnerships to do this.
Educate publishers on how this system is
fair and in their long term interest as well.
Build an algorithm that makes it easy to
optimise for costs, marketing goal & hate
Make this tool a default as part of our suite
1. Design the algorithm. We still need to figure out the mechanisms, the
policies that will inform this project.
2. Build coalitions. The algorithm could be put to use across the world. It
makes sense to partner with global organisations in building it and in the
process, rationalising costs & liability.
3. Raise funds. In the long term, it would be self-sufficient. But it needs patient
seed capital. Coalitions would help, so would large media focused non-govt.
4. Use of AI to improve the system. Fact checking, identifying hate could be
improved with use of supervised AI. Need to have a long term vision to fund
5. On-board clients, publishers for building the algorithm and being our first
clients. We need committed client & publisher partners to gain legitimacy
and improve system.
Does this make sense?
Can you suggest ways to make this idea work?
Would love to hear thoughts, start building a coalition
to make this happen.
Ajinkyapawar at gmail dot com