Making Chromosomes Count ‘Update’ On Hate Speech Campaign #RaiseYourStandards

Making Chromosomes Count are pleased to share with you an update on our #RaiseYourStandards campaign which aims to drive forward changes to social media platforms to make them a safer place for the Down Syndrome Community.

Our team have been working hard on addressing the issue of hate speech towards people with Down Syndrome that is so prevalent on Twitter and are happy to report we have had two of our questions raised in the Houses of Parliament, by MP for Southampton, Royston Smith.

MP for Southampton, Royston Smith.

Mr. Smith tabled the following questions to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the 22nd June:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of Twitter on moderating hate speech towards people with Down’s Syndrome” and “What plans he has to help ensure that people with Down’s Syndrome are able to use social media platforms without fear of bullying or harassment.”

As you can see from the answers provided below, our government is introducing new world-leading Online Harms legislation and will be establishing a new duty of care for online companies towards their users. This is a welcome move that we believe will begin to tackle the currently unacceptable hate speech we are seeing on a daily basis.

In further communication, Mr. Smith commented that by asking these questions Making Chromosomes Count “has further raised the profile of this important issue and I hope will influence planned reforms.”

Sarah Mayes, of Making Chromosomes Count states:

“I contacted my MP about #HateSpeech recently asking him to pose questions to Government about what was being done to make social media platforms a safe and abuse free environment for people with Down Syndrome. I felt compelled to do this after doing a simple Twitter search and being shocked at how Down syndrome was used to abuse, to mock and to insult Twitter users.


At Izzy’s age she is unaware that Down syndrome is used as a kicking ball on social media, but I felt a responsibility to safe guard her future. And to ensure our older Daughter is protected from seeing these vicious posts when she is old enough to use social media.

Finally, over the last two and a half years I have immersed myself in the Down Syndrome community and this means I now know plenty of families who value and cherish someone with Down Syndrome. And I felt I couldn’t allow those families to see the diatribe of language used about the people they love and value.

It was incredibly moving to receive a response from Royston Smith and I welcome and applaud his action in this area… Welcome to our community Royston!”

Making Chromosomes Count will continue to consistently raise awareness around the issue of online hate speech and keep pressing for change.


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