How Brands Might be Inadvertently Funding Anti-Asian Online Hate Speech

Nielsen has recently released its Asian American Diverse Intelligence Series report, Hope And Action. This annual research study provides insights and analyses into the segment’s changing consumer behavior and media consumption habits. This year, due to the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, the report includes an in-depth look into the extent to which brand marketers may, unknowingly, be complicit in perpetuating Asian hate:

  • Asian stereotypes, conspiracies over the origins of COVID-19, and offensive terminology (e.g. “China Virus”, “Wuhan plague”) are thriving in digital content
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence, Nielsen has identified more than 1,200 website URLs containing hate speech against people of Asian descent
  • While many major U.S. brands have taken action to combat racism targeting Asian Americans, some of these same companies are also unintentionally funding online hate speech through their advertising
  • Between January and March 2021, $153 million was spent on digital ads on U.S.-based URLs that have published content with anti-Asian rhetoric
  • More than 250 ad campaigns appearing on the URLs that featured the use of racist terminology and conspiracies related to coronavirus origins, Asians and China

The report highlights an opportunity to take action against anti-Asian discrimination. In addition to constant, active review of corporate social responsibility, brands are warned to be more diligent in brand safety. Advertisers should ask for accountability from digital partners, and stop inadvertently monetizing content that puts Asian Americans at risk. They hold the power to shift perception and break stereotypes, and it’s time to start making change.