Das NETTZ - networking initiative against hate speech

To counter hate speech and empower the community that is engaged in constructive dialogues and civic courage online, we founded Das NETTZ.

Das NETTZ links actors, builds bridges and passes on demands from the community. It connects the committed people – engaged against hate speech, desinformation and for healthy online dialogues –, and makes them more visible. Furthermore, the project collects the viewpoints and needs of civil society organizations and initiatives and enables them to get in touch with decision-makers in politics and in tech platforms.

What is at stake?

The Internet has created a large public space with infinite possibilities. Not everyone uses it constructively. On communication platforms, individuals and groups are discriminated and threatened. Digital violence is spreading and is difficult to combat. The digital society is apparently overwhelmed by the negative side effects of global networking. Hate speech leads to individuals no longer taking the floor and entire groups not taking part in important social online debates. This limits our diversity of opinion. Distortions are also caused by fake accounts and planned hate campaigns.

That's why civil courage is particularly important in digital spaces. Many initiatives are committed to ensuring that everyone can move freely and securely on the Internet.

Achievements of Das NETTZ in the last three years

1) strengthening civil society: community events, empowerment, exchange, networking, knowledge transfer, informal get-togethers in Berlin, digital get-togethers for targeted knowledge transfer, numerous personal talks and consultations, data bank about projects against hate speech and research results in that topic, knowledge transfer and encouragement to engage in civil courage online through communication of successful approaches through newsletters, social media, website. English report about our community event which took place in June 2019.

2) co-creation of the largest representative survey and its analysis about experiences with and consequences of online hate speech in Germany: https://www.das-nettz.de/publikationen/hass-im-netz-der-schleichende-angriff-auf-unsere-demokratie

3) (financial) support for innovation: 3x funding competition (40,000 euros forwarded to 9 projects), Hack Day for Good -> technological solution ideas developed, some of them implemented 

4) advocacy: networks built up with stakeholders in different federal ministries, the Berlin Senate Administration, members of different political parties, stakeholders in tech platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter), passed on relevant positions of civil society these stakeholders through talks, inputs and at events (book fair Frankfurt, republica, Internet Governance Forum and many others)

5) international networking: exchange with committed people from different countries, member of the German national campaign committee of the No Hate Speech Movement

We have been portrayed in numerous media outlets: Focus Online, Tagesspiegel, taz, politik-digital.de, Brigitte, SWR, WDR, BR, EVAU magazine and others.  

Who funds our project? 

Since 2017 Das NETTZ is funded by the foundation Robert Bosch Stiftung. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth with the federal programme "Live Democracy" was another funder from 2017 - 2019. Since 2020 we also receive funds from the foundation Stiftung Mercator.

Who is behind Das NETTZ?

Since August 1, 2022, Das NETTZ has been an independent non govermental limited liability company. The location of the networking center is Berlin. The activities are concentrated on Germany.

Between 2017 and 2022 Das NETTZ was a project of the betterplace lab, a digital-social think-and-do tank, the sister of betterplace.org, Germany's largest online donation platform.

We want to shape digitization socially and make it usable for the common good. To this end, we conduct research and experiment in innovative projects. We build bridges between sectors and break open silos, in our heads, in organisations and in our society. Because it's not just about tools, it's about the social potential of digital transformation: How will we work together in the future? What values does digital change promote - individually and collectively? What will the just and sustainable world of tomorrow look like? We wrap our findings in studies, workshops, events or inspiring stories.

An important part of our activities is to initiate and execute innovative projects to strengthen democracy. We think that the ability to communicate in a positive and constructive manner online is a vital element of a healthy public. Our Mission: humanity in a digital world!

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