Social media (illustrative)
Social media (illustrative) iStock

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has unveiled its new ADL Social Pattern Library, a “collection of design principles and user experience patterns” that will aid developers and designers in reducing hate on social media platforms.

The ADL described the library as a “living resource” that “focuses on the design of social media products and the way people experience them, leveraging user experience (UX) design examples to provide codified product recommendations that will help break the cycle in which hateful content is amplified through algorithms or similar features.”

It will give developers a template for building platforms that prevent users from spreading hateful content and also help users report inappropriate content.

“We know that social media has the power to do good. But too often, it is used for harm and allows vile, hateful ideas that were once confined to the fringe to spread rapidly and internationally at scale,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “The goal of the Social Pattern Library is to keep anti-hate by design top of mind for social platforms, user experience designers, developers, and product teams when they build out products that are used by billions of people every day. Social media platforms have a responsibility to help mitigate hate, and we’ve given them a tangible roadmap for doing so.”

The ADL commented that social media companies “often design their products in ways that allow hate and harassment to spread exponentially.”

With most platforms currently designed to maximize user engagement in order to generate the most ad revenue, algorithms will often return hateful content, including material shared by users who have been flagged repeatedly, the ADL warned.

They added that many designers and executives of social media platforms are not aware that their designs are causing harm or of the benefit of instituting “best practices to mitigate hate and harassment.”

“This is a fantastic library. It asks all the right questions, proposes proven and well-researched approaches, and most importantly, puts it idea of creating a safe place for every user at the center of the discussion,” said Jared Spool, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Center Centre – UIE. “Using this library, designers and developers can take full advantage of the power of the internet, while preventing the propagation of hate and harassment so common in today’s implementations. We’re now planning to use this as a core part of our curriculum for the Center Centre UX Design School. Every graduate will be versed in the patterns and principles of this essential pattern library.”

Debbie Kim, product designer at NerdWallet, said that the library “sets necessary guards and guidance that mitigate the overwhelming presence of hate in various platforms and engagement.”

“It’s a tool we should all be utilizing to keep ourselves and each other accountable for what and how we create and problem solve,” Kim said.

“This is a fantastic library. It asks all the right questions, proposes proven and well-researched approaches, and most importantly, puts it idea of creating a safe place for every user at the center of the discussion,” said Jared Spool, co-founder and co-CEO of Center Centre – UIE. ““Using this library, designers and developers can take full advantage of the power of the internet, while preventing the propagation of hate and harassment so common in today’s implementations.”