A nonprofit group in Brazil has launched a campaign to shame Facebook racists by posting their offensive comments on billboards—located in their own neighborhoods.
The anti-hate campaign, called “Virtual Racism, Real Consequences,” was created by the Criola group, a nonprofit that protects the rights of black women in Brazil. It was inspired by Maria Júlia Coutinho, the first black weather forecaster on Brazilian prime-time television, who received a flood of racially-fueled Facebook abuse after she corrected another anchor on air earlier this year.
The campaign first identifies racist social media posts and then uses Facebook’s geolocation tag feature to identify where the commenter lives. Then they blow up the comment and put it on a billboard for all to see—though the person’s identifying information is left out. The campaign’s goal is merely to start a dialogue, and to strongly shame the individual who made the comment (and who will know their own words when they see them plastered around the neighborhood).
“We omitted names and faces of the authors—we had no intention of exposing them,” the campaign said. “We just wanted to raise awareness and start a discussion, in order to make people think about the consequences before posting this kind of comments on the Internet. Because, after all, the worst enemy of racism is silence.”