B’nai Brith Canada unveils mobile ‘anti-hate app’

Have you experienced or witnessed a hateful incident?

There’s an app for that.

B’nai Brith Canada has launched what it calls the country’s first anti-hate mobile app.

The one-touch app allows users to instantly report a hate incident and all pertinent details—date, place and type of occurrence. It permits space to describe the event and allows for uploading photos, video or any available evidence.

It’s free, available on both Android and Apple platforms, and in English and French. Just search for “anti-hate” at the app store.

It comes just as large spikes in antisemitic incidents have been seen, beginning in May during the Israel-Gaza conflict.

“We just felt it was really necessary,” B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn told The CJN. “This is how people communicate now. It’s all on mobile devices. We need to make it a little bit easier for people to report.”

One of the consistent themes expressed by people who have seen or experienced hate on Canadian streets is the challenge of reporting incidents while on the go, Mostyn said. The app’s main draw is that it allows reporting of incidents soon after they happen.

“It’s very important to document as soon as a hate incident happens to you,” he said. “You want to get this stuff down right away. It’s just best practice. Memory is a funny thing. You don’t want to wait very long. If it’s fresh, it has more credibility.”

There are other such apps elsewhere in the world but this one was developed independently and funded in-house, Mostyn said.

It’s been downloaded about 500 times to date.

Information gathered is strictly confidential, he added, unless the victim or witness says otherwise.

“We always talk to the victims of hate first. We always encourage reporting to police if it’s a criminal act. (Victims) may not want to for their own reasons, but we definitely always encourage them to.”

He said B’nai Brith regularly receives information that, in its opinion, is not criminal in nature but still upsetting.

Mostyn said his organization deals with reports of hate incidents anonymously and when incidents make their way into B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights’ annual audit of antisemitism, victims are kept anonymous.

Hate incidents may also still be reported through B’nai Brith’s website or its anti-hate phone hotline.