Hate speech has become a worldwide problem that is being exacerbated by new communication tools. The increase of racism and intolerance has become a source of concern, threatening global peace. Social media has become one of the most common platforms for disseminating controversial ideas, making hate speech more prevalent than ever. This blog article will look at how popular social media sites define hate speech and the negative impact it has on society.
Hate Speech, Rising Around the World
Hate crimes are not a new phenomenon, and have existed for centuries, but the spread of racism accelerated dramatically with the advent of social media in recent years.
The most widely used hate speech definitions:
1. Twitter: “Violence against or directly attack or threaten other people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or severe disease.” (Twitter, 2022)
2. Facebook: “A direct attack against people—rather than concepts or institutions—on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, and serious disease. We define attacks as violent or dehumanizing speech, harmful stereotypes, statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, disgust or dismissal, cursing and calls for exclusion or segregation.” (Facebook, 2022)
3. YouTube: “When it incites hatred or violence against groups based on protected attributes such as age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.” (YouTube, 2022)
4. Cambridge University: “public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence toward a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.” (Wikipedia contributors, 2021)
Hate speech incites violence and intolerance. Sadly, the devastating effects of hate are not new. However, its scale and impact are now magnified by new communication technologies. Hate speech – including online – has become one of the most common ways to spread divisive rhetoric around the globe, threatening peace around the world.
Bad Effects of Hate Speech
One of the most significant effects of hate speech is the harm it causes to the targeted individuals. Hate speech can lead to emotional distress, anxiety and depression, which can lead to long-term mental health problems. People who experience hate speech may also feel isolated, marginalized and unwelcome in their communities, leading to feelings of disconnection and isolation. Such feelings of isolation and marginalization can also lead to low self-esteem and decreased confidence, resulting in poor educational and professional performance.
Hate speech can also have physical consequences. In extreme cases, it can lead to violence and hate crimes. In recent years, we have seen a rise in hate crimes against individuals and communities based on race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. Hate speech can create a climate of fear and hostility, making it easier for people to justify violence against those they perceive as different or “other”.
Another impact of hate speech is its effect on communities and society as a whole. Hate speech can be divisive and polarizing, leading to a breakdown in communication and understanding between different groups. It can also lead to the formation of echo chambers, where people only hear and engage with those who share their views, further reinforcing their biases and prejudices.
Hate speech can also be used as a tool to gain political advantage, especially in elections and other political campaigns. Political leaders who use hate speech elicit fear and prejudice, creating a sense of us-against-them mentality that leads to a win-at-all-costs mentality. Such rhetoric can be used to marginalize and demonize certain groups, leading to discriminatory and harmful policies.
In addition to causing harm, hate speech can undermine the principles of freedom of expression and democracy. While freedom of expression is a fundamental right, it is not an absolute right. Speech that incites violence or discrimination is not protected by the First Amendment or other free speech laws. When hate speech goes unchecked, it can create an environment in which individuals and groups feel unsafe and unwelcome, which can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and participation in public life.
Finally, it is important to recognize that hate speech is not only an individual problem, but also a systemic one. Hate speech is often rooted in institutionalized forms of discrimination and prejudice, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Addressing hate speech requires a comprehensive approach that includes not only education and awareness-raising, but also policy change and institutional reform.
Figure 1. bad effects of hate speech
Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/audio/2022/12/1131327
Case Study：Asian Hate Speech Detection on Twitter During COVID-19 and Chinese Regulation
The corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and after it became fully contagious in Asian countries, it spread rapidly to other countries. On March 16, 2020, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, linked Asian Americans to COVID-19 by calling the virus the Chinese virus. The disease led governments around the world to declare a public health crisis and take drastic measures to reduce the spread of the disease. The outbreak has affected the lives of millions of people. Many citizens who lost loved ones and jobs experienced a wide range of emotions such as disbelief, shock, health concerns, fear of food availability, anxiety and panic. All of the above phenomena have led to the spread of racism and hatred against Asians in Western countries, especially in the United States. The analysis of official preliminary police data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University shows a 149% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the 16 largest U.S. cities in 2020. (Toliyat, A., Levitan, S. I., Peng, Z., & Etemadpour, R. 2022)
The COVID-19 virus is new,but anti-Asian attitudes in the United States are not. The history of discrimination against Asian communities runs deep in US history. For example, the US government banned Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth century(1882) and incarcerated Japanese people, including US-born citizens, during World War II(1942-1946)(Kim1999; Junn 2007; Ngai 2014; Nguyen, Carter, and Carter 2019).
Figure 2. Jim Wilson,The New York Times, A rally against Asian hate at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco in February.Credit…
Hate speech is rigorously monitored and banned by the Chinese government. The country’s strong censorship regulations make it illegal to distribute information that is deemed politically or socially sensitive, including hate speech. The Chinese government has increasingly employed its huge internet censorship apparatus to combat online hate speech in recent years.
In 2018, the country’s biggest social media platforms, including WeChat and Weibo, announced a “clean-up” campaign targeting “harmful” and “illegal” information as one high-profile example of China’s efforts to crush hate speech. Platforms were expected to remove content that supported violence, terrorism, pornography, and hate speech as part of this programme.
The Chinese government’s strict control over online speech has also been criticized for stifling opposition and limiting free expression. In 2019, a Chinese citizen was sentenced to six months in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on social media after criticizing the government’s reaction to a deadly flood. Critics argued that the government was using vague charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” to silence criticism and suppress free speech.
Another notable case of the Chinese government cracking down on hate speech occurred in 2017, when the government introduced new regulations requiring online platforms to monitor and report hate speech to the authorities. The regulations defined hate speech as content that “incites ethnic hatred, discrimination or prejudice,” and required platforms to delete such content within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in fines or the suspension of a platform’s operations.
While some argue that China’s strict controls on hate speech are necessary to maintain social stability and prevent violent extremism, others argue that the government’s efforts to regulate speech are overly broad and violate basic human rights. The ongoing debate over the balance between free speech and hate speech in China highlights the complex challenges facing governments as they seek to regulate online speech in the digital age.
How To Fight Against Hate Speech?
Legislation can be a significant tool in the fight against hate speech. Governments can implement laws and regulations that punish hate speech, charge penalties on those who engage in it, and set up mechanisms for reporting and dealing with cases of hate speech. However, it is critical to establish a balance between free speech protection and hate speech prevention. As a result, any legislation should be carefully written and carried out to avoid unreasonable limits on legitimate expression.
Media outlets can play a significant role in reducing hate speech by refusing to give it a platform. They can choose not to report on or promote hate speech, instead spreading messages of unity and understanding. Furthermore, media outlets can provide consumers with information and resources to help them notice and respond to hate speech when they come across it.
Social media platforms have become a breeding ground for hate speech, and they must take responsibility for preventing it. Platforms can use algorithms to detect and eliminate hate speech, develop explicit community norms, and invest in educating content moderators to regularly enforce those guidelines. They can also collaborate with experts and organizations to provide educational tools to help users understand the consequences of hate speech and how to combat it.
Individuals can also make a big contribution to the fight against hate speech. In one remote community, Facebook and AirG (an instant messaging service commonly used in remote communities) had become platforms through which young girls quarrelled. As one participant explained, they often saw ‘young girls fighting over boys, using Facebook to show their jealousy’ (female, 25–35, South Australia, interview). Another community member said it was used to spread ‘some gossip’, which fuelled jealousies. (Carlson, B. & Frazer, R, 2018) They can report hate speech instances, call out hate speech when they witness it, and promote messages of unity and understanding. Individuals can also educate themselves and others about the impact of hate speech and how to recognize and respond to it. Engaging in polite discussion with others who hold opposing opinions can also aid in the reduction of hate speech and the promotion of understanding.
Figure 3. everyone should fighting against hate
Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/en/hate-speech
To summarize, hate speech is a centuries-old problem that has been triggered in recent years by the advent of social media. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have established their own definitions of hate speech that revolve around attacking or threatening individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, disability, or severe disease. The effects of hate speech are far-reaching and detrimental. They can lead to emotional distress, isolation, marginalization, violence, and a breakdown in communication between different groups. Hate speech can also be used as a tool to gain political advantage and undermine the principles of democracy and freedom of expression.
Hate speech has serious consequences for people, communities, and society as a whole. It incites violence and bigotry and has the potential to cause mental and physical harm. Hate speech violates the principles of free expression and democracy, and it is frequently based in systematic forms of discrimination and prejudice. To combat hate speech, individuals, organizations, and governments must work together to promote respect, tolerance, and inclusion in all sectors of life.
United Nations. (n.d.). Say #no to hate – the impacts of hate speech and actions you can take. United Nations. Retrieved April 16, 2023, from https://www.un.org/en/hate-speech
Toliyat, A., Levitan, S. I., Peng, Z., & Etemadpour, R. (2022, June 27). Asian hate speech detection on Twitter during covid-19. Frontiers. Retrieved April 16, 2023, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frai.2022.932381/full
Kim, Claire Jean. 1999.“The Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans.” Politics&Society 27, no.1(March): 105–138.
Junn, Jane. 2007.“From Coolieto Model Minority: U.S.Immigration Policy and the Construction of Racial Identity.”Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 4(2): 355–373.
Ngai, Mae M. 2014. Impossible Subjects. Princeton University Press.
Nguyen, Jenny, J. Scott Carter, and Shannon K. Carter. 2019.“From Yellow Peril to Model Minority: Perceived Threat by Asian Americans in Employment.” Social Science Quarterly 100(3): 565–577.
Carlson, B., & Frazer, R. (2018). Social media mob: being Indigenous online. Macquarie University.