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Cassidy Armbruster1/18/21 4:32 AM4 min read

Brand Safety on Social: Is Your Brand Doing Enough?

BrandBastion discovered that hate speech, discrimination, bullying, and spam online were at an all-time high in 2020. Consumers in 2021 will not be tolerant of brands that fail to stand against racism publicly, fail to blend intention with action, and fail to create safe online communities where hate speech and bullying are not tolerated.

of respondents in a BrandBastion survey think that harmful comments should be removed from social media by the brand, the platform, or the users themselves.

Consumers have faced the political, personal, and economic repercussions of a pandemic, have seen a grassroots movement become a global movement on social media, and have participated in an election where hate speech became normalized. In 2021, they expect an online space created by brands where meaningful conversations can be had.

How well do you know your consumers in 2021?

  1. 77% of the US population says companies must respond to racial injustice to earn or keep their trust.
  2. 48% of the general population surveyed said a brand’s response towards racism and hate speech has a huge effect on their likelihood to purchase from it.
  3. 61% of respondents say that companies need to establish zero-tolerance policies toward racism.

Source: Edelman’s study on systematic racism

HBR brand stands up for racial justice example

How should my brand respond to hate speech online?

Brand authenticity can be defined as the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be honest and true toward itself and its consumers. Therefore, it is important to consider several factors when determining how your brand wants to create safe online communities for its followers and how it wants to respond in the current climate. Download BrandBastion’s free eBook to discover everything you need to know about managing comments online in 2021.

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Consumers in 2021 can sniff hypocrisy from far away. They expect brands to react, not because it’s the trendy or cool thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do. Before responding to hate speech online, consider the recommendations below.

  • Make amends for mistakes. Has your brand tolerated hate speech online in the past? Be authentic and demonstrate awareness by acknowledging what has or has not been done in relation to social justice, and state how change will be made, and action will be taken in the future.
  • Don’t just talk the talk. Publicly stating that your brand is against racism is not enough. Act with intention by not allowing hate speech and discriminatory language in your online community.
  • Advocate. Stand for a cause and weave it into your brand’s DNA. This means taking action, not in your brand’s self-interest, but in the interest of your brand’s community.

Brand Spotlight

brand spotlight

“When we say Black Lives Matter, We also mean Black Storytelling Matters.”

Netflix is a prime example of a company that authentically and effectively took a stand against racism.

How did Netflix take a stand?

Netflix launched a Black Lives Matter collection, curating content that highlighted the Black experience.

Why was this successful?

  1. Netflix gave a voice to the movement rather than speaking for the movement.
  2. Netflix created an opportunity to educate the general public.
  3. This strategy was in the interest of black creators, black talent, black members, and the entire public. This action provided no monetary gains for the company.


When should my brand draw the line online?


Consider BrandBastion's 4 R's when determining what kind of content can remain on your page and what kind of content is detrimental to your community's safety.

cancel  Remove 

Comments that endanger your online communities or target individuals should be removed from your social accounts, as should comments that outrightly and unlawfully undermine the integrity of your brand. Hate speech and discriminatory speech cannot be tolerated online.

messenger-1  Respond 

Consider replying to supportive comments, replying to questions as to what the brand is doing to promote inclusivity, or consciously replying to negative comments. It is important to respond to your followers to create a community and demonstrate your brand values.

check  Remain 

Your brand's online communities should not feel free to cyberbully and discriminate, but they should be free to express themselves and their opinions respectfully. Open and civilized discussions should therefore remain on your brand's social accounts.

exclamation   Report - While social media platforms are committed to removing harmful comments, certain comments on your social pages may go unflagged. Each platform also has standards for reporting comments that should be reviewed for legal and safety purposes.


In 2021, Doing nothing is doing a lot.

We are taking a stance against hate speech to create a space on social media for productive and meaningful conversations to be had, and we ask you to join us. Let's unite to build safe social communities.

Download BrandBastion's ebook to:

  • See real data and real comments on brands' social communities
  • Get detailed insights thanks to our brand case studies
  • Discover how to react to hate speech online effectively
  • Better understand how the current political, economic, and social climate is shaping consumer expectations in 2021


Table of Contents

I 01 Discrimination: From Covid-19 To BLM And The US Elections

I 02 Bullying

I 03 Other dangers: Spam, Scam, and PII

I 04 Industry-Specific Insights

I 05 What Should Your Brand Do?

Download the eBook



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