Das NETTZ – networking initiative against online hate

What is at stake?

As online hate has become a massive threat for democracy within the past years (migration, pandemic, several wars), networking and knowledge transfer as well as selective collective action between anti-hate initiatives became urgently needed. Therefore the aim of Das NETTZ is to build a strong network of civil society actors, stakeholders in politics, media, scholarship and the tech industry to enable strategic collaboration and co-creation against online hate. The spread of hate is well organized. We work to strengthen the work of democratic voices online to combat these anti-democratic minorities and save diversity of opinions online.

Our approach

To counter online hate and empower the community of online civil courage, we founded Das NETTZ in 2017. We connect experts and initiatives who are engaged against hate speech, disinformation and for respectful interactions online.

Das NETTZ has become the networking initiative in German speaking countries when it comes to anti-hate-initiatives. We provide overview, conduct research, organize interdisciplinary events (e.g. yearly Community Event), regular meetups (e.g. NETTZ.Gespräche) and co-creative workshops (e.g. hack days) for experts from various fields. These formats help to identify relevant challenges and needs of civil society in terms of online hate and enable them to get in touch with decision-makers in politics and tech platforms. We foster collaboration within civil society for developing innovative approaches as well as advocacy work.

Facilitating technology for evidence-based civil society strategies

We run a long-term monitoring program of right-wing and other anti-democratic networks and dynamics online. To identify anti-democratic narratives, networks of hate and the spread of toxic content we work with artificial intelligence. Scientific findings should be made known to civil society practice at an early stage. Vice versa practitioners can provide impetus for research designs. Gained data are provided for strategies and advocacy work of civil society organizations. The goal of our activities in this area is to enable policy and also civil society interventions to be developed and implemented in a more evidence-based manner.

Collaborative advocacy

As the coordinating organization for the competence network against online hate, we have unique access to the federal government as a representative voice on the matter. Whenever relevant we pool the expertise and opinions of the civil society and speak our demands and recommendations as a unified voice. We use our position also to enable access to major tech companies for smaller NGOs through digital and in person events.



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Achievements of Das NETTZ since 2017

  1. Large network of civil society anti-hate initiatives: yearly community events, knowledge exchange, networking, informal get-togethers in Berlin, numerous consultations
  2. Overview on interventions against online hate: data base about projects; Online Hate Speech Interventions Map; up to date research results through our project Ferderal Working Group »Against Online Hate«
  3. Research results: largest representative survey and its analysis about experiences with and consequences of online hate speech in Germany (in collaboration with other network partners)
  4. Empowerment and awareness: We support and consult smaller organizations and civil society actors (networking, outreach); for raising awareness on topics of online hate we publish podcasts
  5. Innovation funding: 3x funding competition (40,000 euros forwarded to 9 projects); Hack Day for Good: technological solution ideas developed, some of them implemented 
  6. Advocacy: networks with stakeholders in different federal ministries, the Berlin Senate Administration, members of different political parties, stakeholders in tech platforms, passed on relevant positions of civil society e.g. on NetzDG and DSA.
  7. International networking: exchange with anti-hate initiatives and experts from different countries, member of the German national campaign committee of the No Hate Speech Movement 

We have been portrayed in numerous media outlets: ZEIT Online, Focus Online, Tagesspiegel, taz, politik-digital.de, Brigitte, SWR, MDR, 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. 2020 - 2022 we received funds from Foundation Mercator. Since 2021 The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth funds our projects German Alliance against Digital Hate and Federal Working Group »Against Online Hate«.

Who is behind Das NETTZ?

Since 2022, Das NETTZ has been an independent non govermental limited liability company. We are located in Berlin.

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.

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