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Case Study: Hate Speech
August 10, 2021
OILFIELD SERVICE GIANT TAKES NECESSARY STEPS TO END HATE SPEECH
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.Nelson Mandela (1994)
In June 2020, an oilfield services company contacted Paige PR to help with updating its social media policy and create response protocols given the amplified degree of focus and sensitivity to racial matters on social media. The company has a zero-tolerance policy to language related to hate speech on social media, and all internal employee communication materials needed to reflect that.
Social media became the epicenter of the heightened focus on systemic racism because it gave people a platform to “call out” any individual who has ever posted or commented with offensive hate speech. Anyone who contributed to hate speech was called out on all platforms and Facebook groups were created to keep track of all the incidences.
Several groups and individuals began targeting the employers of those who contributed to the act of hate speech by tagging the companies’ social media accounts to evoke a response in the hopes that it would ultimately lead to disciplinary action. For companies, this online activism presented a significant challenge. If not handled correctly, and should an employee be called out online, their personal post could quickly escalate into a social media crisis since most online profiles include place of work.