Google's Youtube is launching YouTube Creators, a new initiative dedicated to amplifying the voices of role models who are tackling difficult social issues with their channels. Seperately, Facebook's Online Civil Courage Initiative transitions from a pilot phase to offer advertising credits to groups that counteract extremist messaging. As part of the YouTube Creators for Change program, Google's Youtube will host videos created by "ambassadors" talking about combating hate speech, countering xenophobia and extremism, or making the case for greater tolerance empathy toward others. Generally, the creators will help generate positive social change with their global fan bases.
The first six Creators for Change ambassadors are Natalie Tran (Australia), Abdel en Vrai (Belgium), Nilam Farooq (Germany), Omar Hussein (Saudi Arabia), Barış Özcan (Turkey), and Humza Arshad (United Kingdom).
Youtube says that other ambassadors will be introduced soon they will be sharing their stories - starting with Humza Arshad whose "Diary of a Badman" series is helping redefine what it means to be a young Muslim today in the U.K.
"Over the next year, program ambassadors will drive greater awareness of social issues and foster productive dialogue around these topics through the videos they create," Youtube said.
To support and amplify these voices, Google is committing $1M in equipment and production grants as part of the Creators for Change program.
Google will also continue working with NGOs, schools, and media companies around the world to launch more local programs as part of Creators for Change. The company recently introduced a program in France that brought together more than 700 participants who created 140 videos under the theme of fraternité. In Germany, YouTube creators joined forces under #NichtEgal, a movement dedicated to unite Germans in countering online hate.
In addition, Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, is establishing a $2M charitable fund to support nonprofits working on innovative solutions that promote inclusion and cross-cultural understanding.
As for Facebook, the company is expanding its efforts to combat online hate speech, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The company's Online Civil Courage Initiative, announced in January, will transition from a pilot phase to offer advertising credits and marketing advice to a wider range of groups that counteract extremist messaging. The Berlin-based program has so far focused its efforts on France, Germany, and the UK.
The announcement marks Facebook's latest effort to combat propaganda from terrorist organizations and far-right groups. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other major web companies have faced increased pressure to escalate anti-hate speech campaigns, and to more swiftly remove propaganda from groups like ISIS. The Online Civil Courage Initiative is focused on so-called counter-messaging, which seeks to discredit hate speech and propaganda.
"Censorship is not effective," Erin Saltman, program manager for the Online Civil Courage Initiative, tells the Journal. "Conversations would start on mainstream platforms and migrate to less regulated, encrypted platforms."
Facebook says that since January, its initiative has provided €10,000 in advertising credits to help organizations reach more than 2 million people. The company has pledged more than €1 million in ad credits to the program over the next two years, and will create a standalone website for the initiative over the next year.