Online campaign reaches millions to 'reclaim social media for good'

A one-day initative by the tech-for-good company Lightful called for more positivity on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook

More than 13 million people were reached in one day by a new campaign, launched to "reclaim social media for good".

Created by the tech-for-good company Lightful, the one-day online campaign on 6 February called for more positivity on social media in an effort to claw back platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which it claimed had become "ferocious battlegrounds filled with fake news, trolls and haters".

The company said the initiative was also designed to highlight and encourage the work already done by many to combat negativity.

In a statement, Lightful said: "Charities, social enterprises and a growing band of ‘beyond-profit organisations’ are using social media for social good. Social media is also being used for good by countless small charities, which often have the best stories to tell but lack the tools to help them to do so."

Using the hashtag #ReclaimSocial, the day began with a Thunderclap in which people and organisations that had signed up to the event shared a campaign message that was sent automatically and simultaneously through their social media accounts.

The campaign quickly went viral, with 10 million people reached within the first five hours and backed by organisations such as Comic Relief, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Institute of Fundraising and Giving Tuesday.

There were more than 16 million social impressions across Twitter and Facebook on the day, according to Lightful, from a total of 1,600 social posts, 1,100 of which were on Twitter. The company added that about 1,000 people and organisations participated on the day of the campaign.

#ReclaimSocial was also backed by the digital outdoor advertising company Outdoor Plus, which donated six digital roadside screens in premium locations across London, including Euston Underpass, Greenwich and Wembley Way, reaching an estimated 1.7 million people.

Vinay Nair, chief executive of Lightful, described the event as "inspirational".

"It’s been an amazing 48 hours," he said. "We are very humbled to see so many people getting behind the #ReclaimSocial movement.

"We’ve had charities large and small – Macmillan, the RNLI, Whizz-Kidz and so many others – talking about how social media is helping them to make more of an impact. It has been particularly inspirational to see smaller charities rise above the noise, from Combat Stress spreading the word about its work supporting veterans with mental health to soundLINCS raising awareness of the transformative effects of choir for people with dementia.

"I’m really hopeful that #ReclaimSocial can continue and we can really see social media being used more as a force for good. I hope we can build on the momentum."

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