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Hate-free marketing

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.

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Hate-free marketing

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  3. 3. Sporadic efforts. But nothing systemic. A lot yet needs to happen. We have only begun questioning the role of media and advertising in funding hate. 3
  4. 4. We are positioned well to have a big impact. Afterall, we (the advertising industry) own the weapons of mass influence. For long, Media fueling rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain 28 April 2016 4
  5. 5. 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. Source: 5
  6. 6. 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. 6
  7. 7. 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. We 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 happen. 7
  8. 8. 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. 8
  9. 9. 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 disable hate? Optimise for marketing goals regardless of its harmful impact? OR Optimise for marketing that doesn’t hurt anyone? Media and content agnostic Responsible and responsive about what our ads enable 9
  10. 10. 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 ourselves are, 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. 10
  11. 11. 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. MEDIA PUBLICAT ION HATE SCORE 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 (INFLUENCER) 1 WEBSITE OPINDIA 31 --- --- --- HATE INDEX: Illustrative score schematic (illustrative. fictitious as of now) for publications across media 11
  12. 12. 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 score. Make this tool a default as part of our suite of offerings. 12
  13. 13. 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. funds. 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 this research. 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. 13
  14. 14. 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. Ajinkya Pawar Ajinkyapawar at gmail dot com 14