MONDAY 20 DEC 2021 4:33 PM


Penguin Random house has enlisted the help of social media agency, Born Social, to help protect the brand and tackle online abuse towards its authors and books. The move follows new research identifying a stark increase in the amount of online hate speech circulating online.

Research from anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, found that online hate speech increased by 20% during the pandemic. Penguin Random House has identified a rise in racist, homophobic and transphobic hate speech against its authors and books which tackle these topics.

To align with the brand mission to ‘make books for everyone, because a book can change anyone,’ Penguin has enlisted the help of Born Social to devise a new strategy and ensure authors and staff feel safe online.

Jess Colman, director of communications at Penguin Random House UK, says, “The uncomfortable reality is that some of our authors are receiving hateful abuse online, and unfortunately this has risen significantly over the last year or so. We are pleased to be working with Born Social to develop our guidance and support to help our colleagues manage this abhorrent trolling, and to protect their own wellbeing, as well as that of our authors in the face of it.”

Born social works to help brands become social-first businesses with strategic comms advise and reputation management. The agency will help Penguin to develop new social guidelines to help the publisher manage the increasing amount of hate and abuse.

The guidelines will equip social media teams with practical tools to deal with trolling and provide advice on how to best support authors dealing with online abuse. The partnership is part of Penguin’s wider goal to find new ways of safeguarding staff and supporting authors’ mental health and wellbeing.

Ben Tyson, CEO and partner at Born Social, says “The world of social media can be an unruly place and today brands are faced with more criticism than ever before in a public arena. We’re delighted to be working with Penguin, to help their teams and authors navigate hate online.”