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Experiment by Telekom: Staged casting in the fight against hate on the net.
Diana zur Löwen and Eko Fresh support Telekom initiative in the fight against hate on the net, © Deutsche Telekom AG

Hate comments on social media platforms? Shitstorms and cyberbullying on the net? Unfortunately, all this is the order of the day. Anyone who is on the Internet, whether professionally or privately, can be affected. Together with 44 partners, Deutsche Telekom has long been fighting against hate comments and for more civil courage on the Internet. The aim of the initiative “#DABEI – Against Hate on the Net” is for everyone to be able to participate in the opportunities offered by digitalisation – without fear of exclusion and hate comments. The fact that 64% of the German population know that Telekom is committed to combating hate on the Internet shows how strongly the initiative is identified with the brand.

Deutsche Telekom has now made it possible to experience what it feels like to be met with rejection and hate online in the project “Dream Job Influencer?” developed by the creative agency The Goodwins and supported by the influencer Diana zur Löwen and the rapper Eko Fresh. The social experiment is intended to sensitise people to the mechanisms of hate, says Christian Hahn, Head of Strategy Marketing Communication and Media at Deutsche Telekom: “We are fighting for a network where people feel comfortable and everyone treats each other with respect. The digital space is far too often a place of hate speech, shitstorms and cyberbullying. How hurtful, humiliating and unsettling hate comments are usually remains hidden.”

The “Influencer Skill Test” and the accompanying campaign aim to show how quickly reactions can turn online and how to deal with aggression and hate online. For this purpose, young people with social media ambitions were invited to demonstrate their talents at the end of 2021. A total of nine candidates were allowed to present themselves in front of an alleged online community of around 1000 users. They could watch the reactions of their net audience on large screens. What they didn’t know was that all the comments they saw during their performance were fed in by an editorial team, and after an initial positive phase, the comments turned into the most vicious insults. Afterwards, the experiences of the visibly shocked participants were publicly processed in interviews. To ensure that the surprising experience did not permanently traumatise the participants, the experiment was psychologically accompanied in every phase. The project can be seen as a video on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Reddit, Instagram and TikTok.

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