Nadja Kirchhof

"We decide!": Telekom calls for commitment against hate on the net

  • 22 July: International Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime
  • Emotional Telekom spot calls for solidarity and civil courage 
  • Don't leave the net to hate: five strong partner organizations support

"Against hate on the Net - We decide!" - with this message Telekom is continuing its long-standing initiative "Against hate on the Net". On the International Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime, the company shows in a new spot what even a positive comment can achieve against hate on the net. It is an urgent call to society to take active action against hate speech. EVERY comment counts.

Screenshot 2023-07-20 102909

Leave the net to hate? We decide!

The opening scene shows an extremely agitated young woman. What happens next is not revealed to the audience, because the events are told backwards. It quickly becomes clear what triggered the dramatic situation: numerous hate comments are collected under a video posted by the young woman. At the end of the spot, the viewers look together with a young man at his mobile phone display. The video appears. He thinks about writing a comment. This moment decides everything: the cursor flashes. Ignore or act - which will he choose?

"The campaign calls on people to become active against hate on the net and to show solidarity with those affected. Because we can all stand up against it with our comments, postings and likes - and thus make a difference," says Dr Christian Hahn, Head of Marketing Communications and Media at Deutsche Telekom. "We want to encourage the silent readers on the Internet to stand up and show their stance. To be a role model for the silent majority. We make it clear: each one of us can rewrite history, can have a positive influence, and change the future. We decide!"

Three tips for digital courage 

According to a recent Forsa study, the proportion of users who have encountered hate speech on the internet is consistently high at 76 per cent. But only one in four has ever responded critically to a hate comment, i.e., actively reacted with counter-speech. And although hate speech is a punishable offence, only very few hate comments are reported to the police. More than 61 per cent even consider it a waste of time to deal with hate on the Internet.

Telekom is bringing attention to this issue on the International Action Day for Victims of Hate Crime. With three simple but effective tips, it shows how each of us can show digital moral courage.

  1. show solidarity with victims
    Someone is being attacked or insulted? Intervene! Stand by those affected! Hate comments should be named as such. In addition, you can signal support to those affected by private messages.
  2. practice counter-speech
    Do not accept border violations in silence. Counter-speech is the method of choice. Organizations such as the telecom partners juuuport or ichbinhier offer free online courses to learn counter speech.
  3. report violations
    On many platforms, posts can be reported with just a few clicks. For example, anyone who witnesses hate on the internet can contact the telecoms partner REspect! It is also possible to report it to the police - online or analogue. It is best to save screenshots, links, names, and date/time. Our partner organisations HateAid and hatefree offer free legal counselling for those affected by hate on the internet.

How dangerous are hate comments?

What experiences and effects German internet users have had with hate speech on the internet is revealed in the study #Hass im Netz: The creeping attack on our democracy:

More than half of the respondents (54%) are less likely to express their political opinion in online discussions because of (threatening) hate comments. This makes it clear how massively hate speech restricts freedom of expression online and shifts perceived majorities. Health consequences are also widespread: Two thirds of those who have had to experience hate comments online report negative effects on their mental health. 33 percent of those affected suffer from emotional stress. For 27 percent, fear and anxiety are part of everyday life. 19 percent have developed depression. For 24 percent of those affected, the hate on the net has resulted in problems with their own self-image.

"To live together in the digital world, we need media competence on the one hand. But we also need attitudes and values to create a democratic digital society in which everyone can participate. With our initiative Together #GegenHassImNetz, we raise awareness and empower people to live and courageously defend basic democratic values online," says Marike Mehlmann-Tripp, Cluster Lead Social Engagement, Group Corporate Responsibility.

Supporting strong partners

Together with victim protection organizations and associations active in the field of mental health, Telekom has been committed to combating hate online for years. For example, Freunde fürs Leben e.V. educates adolescents and young adults about mental health, depression, and suicide so that relatives can recognize the signals and help. HateAid, Ichbinhier, Feelee and dieNummer gegen Kummer are also strong partners who deal with the psychological effects of hate speech and create offers of help.

Online and on TV from 22 July

The spot will be seen on Telekom's social media channels from 21 July. On TV, YouTube, social media and in radio and podcast environments, the campaign will start on 22 July, and it will also be played in cinemas.

Spot on YouTube
Images can be found here.

*Research sources
Hatespeech Forsa Study 2023, commissioned by the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia (Landesanstalt für Medien NRW), May 2023. 1,006 German-speaking private internet users* aged 14 and over in Germany were surveyed between 20 and 23 April 2023.

#Hate on the net: The creeping attack on our democracy. A nationwide representative study. Commissioned by the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society. 7,349 participants aged between 18 and 95 were surveyed in 2019.

Further information on the initiative Together against hate online:

Credits Kampagne

Agency: Creation: Saatchi & Saatchi Germany
Media: Mindshare Frankfurt and Emetriq Hamburg
Production: Zauberberg Productions Berlin
Social: Elbkind Hamburg
Director: Steven Ayson
Music: Supreme Music
PR: Schröder+Schömbs PR

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom Group profile

#TAKEPART in fighting for a network without hate

No Hate Speech

Words must not become a weapon. Deutsche Telekom is fighting for a network without hate in which we treat one another respectfully.