#unfollowme: How influencers chase away right-wing fans

Since the anti-Semitism controversy over the rapper Kollegah and Farid Bang, it is clear that not all Deutschrap fans, like their heroes, are cosmopolitan, liberal contemporaries. The stronger the signal sent by the #unfollowme campaign. The initiative “Loud against Nazis” brings wide-reaching German rap stars, actors and influencers to share an unfollow appeal. In times of follower numbers as a status symbol this sounds like digital suicide.

“I think that I also have rights among my followers,” says Sido in the campaign video. He shows that celebrities like Sido, Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Frederick Lau, Lena Meyer-Landrut and Fynn Kliemann can do without these followers.

On Instagram alone, the hashtag #unfollowme has been used around 50,000 times since the action began on 9 November. On the website, the initiative offers a simple but effective Sharepic generator that lets you tinker with campaign messages in German or English for a selfie.

Also interesting: constructive against right-wing agitation


Shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms, friends and followers should be called upon to unsubscribe from the account, if they attach to right-wing thinking. “The whole thing is totally simple – but effective when many participate,” says Jörn Menge of “Laut gegen Nazis”. “So anyone who is against xenophobia and racism can make something big with little effort.”

A cosmopolitan attitude is more important than fame and success

For the campaign, the initiative from St. Pauli won some prominent supporters. Smudo, a rapper on The Fantastic Four, says, “There are always populists who mobilize the concerned. And in digital times of social networks this is better possible than it was then. The result is a trend towards verbal violence that precedes violence. That must not happen. “The message: A cosmopolitan attitude is more important than fame and success.

After launching the campaign he notices a significant effect. On Twitter, he writes: “… only two days of Hatespeech awareness campaign #unfollowme and more hate comments on the timeline than nine years of Twitter membership. Depressing, albeit a success for the campaign. ”

just two days of Hatespeech Awareness campaign #unfollowme and more hate comments on the timeline than in 9 years of Twitter membership. Depressing though a success for the Kampa. #empoerungskultur

– Smudo (@lesmoureal) November 11, 2018

Since 2014, the initiative “Loud against Nazis” has been involved in various actions against right-wing extremism in Germany. In 2016, Jörn Menge and his team became aware of the ad agency “Art beats Hate” and asked for it. “Heimat” finally developed the concept for the campaign #unfollowme, PR strategy and implementation comes from the Hamburg agency “achtung!” And the campaign film including the protagonists come from “EASYdoesit”.

WALL GmbH provided free outdoor advertising space, Intermate and Blogfoster brought in other influential influencers on board. “That #unfollowme is now so forward, but none of the parties had expected. It feels like an idea that hit the nerve of many at the right time, “says Tom Hauser, Executive Creative Director of Heimat. All agencies, companies and personalities participated in Pro Bono. “As a civic engagement, we expect that to be very high,” says Jörn Menge.

The campaign should meet the zeitgeist

Critics claim that the action only reaches the left filter bubble and contributes to a division of society. Rights creators, blogs and newspapers quickly launched counteractions like “#unfollowme – when you need others to think”. Jörn Menge takes it easy: “In principle, we started with #unfollowme. It should be so.”

Also interesting: Initiative for dispute in person: Discuss outside the filter bubble

Interaction numbers on social media show that the campaign meets the zeitgeist. “Because of the follower numbers to say nothing, for me is the most blatant asshole attitude ever,” says the German rapper Nura in the campaign video.

On Instagram, she becomes even clearer: “Finally take a stand and be role models for your fans!” Under the post is controversial, even criticized. With 42,000 likes, the post is one of the most successful on her Instagram channel.

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