Conference to Focus on Social Media Bullying

17.08.15

By Mark Smith, Digital Content Development Officer

A high profile event is to be held in Wales that looks at the increasingly important issue of hate crime and bullying that takes place on social media. The event, which is aimed at practitioners, policy makers and criminal justice agencies, is to be held at Margam Park in October and is being jointly held by Welsh Government and the Social Data Science Lab at Cardiff University.

Held during Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015, the conference will look at the challenges faced by the general public and authorities on social media. Keynote speakers include Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty; Nick Pickles, Head of Policy at Twitter UK; and Paul Giannasi, UK Government Hate Crime Lead, Ministry of Justice, among others.

While social media can be used to foster positive relationships, there is mounting evidence to suggest it is also being used to target hate crimes and bullying against people and communities

Estimates put social media membership at approximately 2.5 billion non-unique users globally. Social media has fundamentally altered the ways in which members of the public interact. While social media can be used to foster positive relationships, there is mounting evidence to suggest it is also being used to target hate crimes and bullying against people and communities. The 2014 All Wales Hate Crime Project evidenced that ethnic minorities and young people continued to face abuse and harassment on a daily basis, and new evidence from the Social Data Science Lab at Cardiff University shows how these crimes are migrating to social media.

The problem is now recognised as a priority by the UK Government. The former UK Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced plans in 2014 to amend the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to increase the maximum sentence for online abusive and hateful content from six to twenty-four months. The Welsh Government continues to implement ‘Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents: A Framework for Action’ and the fast paced evolution of social media is providing significant challenges for partners and agencies.

Despite this recognition, practitioners can remain in the dark about the nature, prevalence and resources available to tackle cyber hate and bullying on social media. This conference aims to address this knowledge gap via a series of keynote presentations from high-profile leaders in the field and via hands-on workshops. The Conference also aims to draw upon attendee experiences to set out the current barriers and to identify potential solutions to draw together national recommendations.

If you’re interested in attending the conference, or simply finding out more about it, visit the web page that’s been set up to help promote the event.

Places are limited and attendance is restricted to two individuals per organisation. The deadline for applications is 11th September 2015.