Social Media against Hate Speech. Analysis of #BeTheKey digital campaign against islamophobia


Our world is networked, (Castells, 1996) which means it is full of opportunities but as well full of room for hate (Parekh, 2019) and changing narratives in a negative direction (Candidatu et al., 2019). #BeTheKey is a digital communication campaign that aims to eliminate islamophobic discourse and hate of speech from Barcelona. The campaign is focused on fighting against hate speech that exists online and offline in the city. The campaign has been created by Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations students to raise awareness among the population of this social injustice, as well as to empower citizens to fight against it. #BeTheKey highlights that everyone, especially youth, could be the key for a change, from preventing prejudices to improving understanding and knowledge about several cultures. Main tools to achieve these goals have been social networks, media and local entities and institutions.

Taking into account the success of the campaign, the researchers aim to know: how religious values influence a digital campaign against extremism? What is the role of religion regarding the transformation of behaviour in hate of speech? How religions help to eliminate prejudices and stereotypes (Knott and Poole 2013; Couldry 2003) in the digital sphere? The methodology of this research is based on a survey and in-depth interviews. It also highlights the influence of media narratives in social narratives on Islam. This project is carried out by Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture, at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona.