Social Media, Toxic Myths & Disinformation – our report

Social Media, Toxic Myths & Disinformation – our report
10th February 2022 Jessica Turtle

Museum of Homelessness is launching the findings of a year’s research into homelessness, racism, xenophobia and the links between the far right and UK government policy both online and in real life.

This report is the result of one year’s worth of qualititive research into how hate speech and acts, racism and toxic narratives about homelessness spread. Our investigation has included social media network analysis, field research and theoretical analysis – Download the report here

If you require other formats for this report, please do email us (jess@museumofhomelessness.org)

Key findings

This report documents how information disorder can shape public perceptions about homelessness and immigration containing analysis, case studies and recommendations for what we can do differently. The report identifies:

– Six key narratives about homelessness and immigration in the UK, that are shaped through informaition disorder and how they circulate online

– How myths and disinformation draw upon powerful narrative story telling techniques that are important to be aware of. These often include the use of comparison, double-standards, existential threat and the removal of context.

-How disinformation cycles can emerge and what they involve, explained by drawing on latest research.

-What we can do in to combat mis/mal/disinformation – for workers, leaders, comms teams and policymakers.

This Research has been supported by the Isla Foundation, as part of Project Fortify.

Report launch event – 10 March

to mark the launch, we hosted an event for anyone interested in how hate speech, racism and toxic narratives about homelessness spread and what we can do about it.

Our team Miranda Keast and Samir Jeraj shared what’s happening on the ground with racism and homelessness, the six main narratives we have uncovered in the research and analysis of how homelessness is instrumentalised to spread hate. We finished with a call to action for all involved in the homelessness sector to stand up against racist policies and online hate.

Our guests included Samantha Asumadu (Media Diversified), Mihai Calin Bica (Roma Support Group) Rose Lewis (Sistah Space) and Benjamin Morgan (Public Interest Law Centre) all have an inspirational track record of organising against structural inequalities and everday racism and we are delighted that  shared their work as part of the event.

Further background to the report

In the late summer of 2020, news began to circulate that groups of far-right nationalists had begun visiting COVID hotels trying to find non-UK nationals as they sheltered in their rooms.

It was in this climate Project Fortify was born. Project Fortify was a yearlong grassroots direct support, investigation and campaigning response in solidarity with homeless people affected by racism. Funding from the Isla Foundation has meant we are able to investigate the influence of social media, alongside detailed investigative work to combat racism and hate speech in 2021. We worked with Samir Jeraj and Miranda Keast on the project and you can read Samir’s write up in the Byline Times here.

Since that time, the links between online myth making, reactive policy making and in real life harassment have become clearer. This report and event seeks to make these links clearer and help us to respond.

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