The impact hateful and toxic social media content has on your customers and people and what to do about it – Interview with Joel Bailey of Arwen


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Today’s interview is with Joel Bailey, the Product & Service Director at Arwen, a technology platform that uses AI to remove unwanted content from social media in less than a second. Joel joins me today to talk about hate and toxicity in social media, the scale and cost of the problem and the impact it has not only on customers but also your team.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The 3 pillars of agent happiness – Interview with Tue Søttrup of Dixa – and is number 422 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here are the highlights of my chat with Joel:

  • Arwen is dedicated to making Social Media social again.
  • Arwen is a technology that removes hates and toxic content from social media.
  • Social media has gradually become more and more toxic over recent years.
  • The high profile stuff is generally about race and racism but it’s not the largest part by volume of the toxicity they see online. That is reserved for physical shaming.
  • There’s a lot of research about the erosion of social trust that comes from social media and that it is causing us to start to not trust other people’s integrity there.
  • More and more customer experiences are happening on social channels.
  • 82% of brands say that social channels are a key part of what they do.
  • The social commerce market globally is about $440bln per year.
  • 60% of contact centre agents have experienced online hate.
  • The pandemic has not helped with this situation.
  • When people don’t feel safe or feel threatened on social media 37% will disengage with any content (sponsored, advertising, push content etc) immediately.
  • That means that approx $160 billion a year is potentially being left on the table because of hate and toxicity.
  • Social Media’s become a bit of a free for all. People just walk into a community and say what they want but people have little (and speedy) recourse to have those people removed.
  • Arwen says we’re going to give you a key to lock your front door. Folks can still shout things but they can’t come into your house and do that. That’s the logic. The world has toxicity and hate in it. We’re not going to solve that. But, you have ownership of your community, particularly if you’re an influencer or you’re a business. You built up this following for your brand. For what you represent. You have a right to own and protect and manage that community.
  • With our technology, you can remove the messages you don’t want your communities to see in less than a second. And you can see who your top offenders are every week and you can deal with them in a much more objective way.
  • There was a programme with David Baddiel on the BBC where he went through an MRI scanner just to see what his brain did when he viewed hateful content. The scan showed that he was getting physical feelings of distress.
  • Think about the impact that hateful and toxic is having on your agents.
  • People don’t just feel a bit sad after dealing with hate. They feel physically unwell.
  • There is a payoff to taking a stand.
  • However, younger people will be more open or more loyal to a brand that is actively supporting social justice.
  • That’s not just a brand saying we support social justice. They have to actually do something. They have to be seen to be doing something. So, if you have a diversity and inclusion agenda or you have an agenda around social justice. That means you have to tackle homophobia, transphobia, racism etc and you have to make sure that stuff is nipped in the bud around your brand.
  • That is a political act, and you need to be clear on what your values are otherwise you’re going to end up totally confused.
  • Arwen have been really lucky to work with Rosie Jones, the comedian.
  • Hate is a pollutant of social media but so are bots and that is our next exciting challenge.
  • Check out Gerry McGovern in Ireland and his World Wide (Digital) Waste thinking.
  • Joel’s best advice: Really pay attention to social C X and the threat that hate and toxicity has in that area and not to wait for someone else to solve it.
  • Joel’s Punk CX word: Experimental
  • Joel’s Punk XL brand: Hubspot

About Joel

Joel BaileyBW copyJoel Bailey is Product & Service Director at Arwen. He’s spent 25 years as an entrepreneur, consultant and business leader, specialising in the fields of Service Design and CX. Arwen uses artificial intelligence to automatically remove hate, spam, bots and other forms of unwanted content from social media – protecting brands, talent, employees, customers and communities.”

Find out more at, say Hi to them and Joel on Twitter @ArwenAi and @joelbaileyuk, don’t forget to check them out on Instagram @Arwen.AI and, finally, feel fret to connect with Joel on LinkedIn here.

Thanks to Wokandapix on Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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