Intersectional Hate Speech Online

The concept of intersectional discrimination originates from the movement of black feminism. The term intersectionality was coined by American legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who described the specific discrimination experienced by black women as “the combined effects of practices which dis-criminate on the basis of race, and on the basis of sex.”
Since then, the concept of intersectionality has been adopted to describe different social settings where multiple grounds of discrimination intersect to create a distinct form of discrimination that is more than just the sum of its different aspects. While the concept has traditionally been applied to cases of (offline) discrimination, e.g. in employ-ment or housing, intersectionality also plays a role in hate speech online, whenever a group or an individual is attacked for more than one of their protected characteristics.

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Hotspots of Hate – the online responsibility of public figures

Social media have not only changed the way we communicate and interact, but also shape public opinion and political debate as more and more people use social media as their primary source of political information. In several European countries, leading politicians and other public figures use their online presence to incite hatred or to encourage hate speech by posting biased and populist comments to their social media profiles. A culture of online communication in which hate speech appears to be accepted (or even encouraged) can lead to a poisoned political debate and violent threats against the perceived political “ennemy” and even turn violent. In addition to the responsibility of public figures not to disseminate or encourage hate speech and to effectively moderate the comments on their social media profiles, civil society has the responsibility to discourage hate speech and show solidarity with the people and communities targeted online.

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Monitoring the web to assess the responsiveness of the platforms

During the first year of the project, the sCAN partner organisations participated in two joint monitoring exercises with the European Commission and the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). The goal of the monitoring exercises was to evaluate the adherence of the IT companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, developed in 2016 by the European Commission. Between 2016 and 2018 there have been four monitoring periods to evaluate the Code of Conduct organised by the European Commission. Most sCAN partners have already been participating in the previous monitoring exercises organised by the European Commission and INACH

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Press Release – Monitoring Exercise from 6th May 2019 till 21st June 2019

A silent monitoring finds drastic decline in YouTube’s removal performance

Press release – Between 6 May 2019 and 21 June 2019, the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH) and the sCAN project jointly organised a monitoring exercise to evaluate the adherence of the IT companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, developed by the European Commission in 2016.

The participating organisations reported 432 cases to the IT companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

sCAN Annual Report: May 2018 – June 2019

The internet is an integral part of everyday communication worldwide. While it is most often used in a peaceful manner to communicate with friends or freely express one’s opinion on a diverse range of topics, some users spread hatred and incite to violence against certain groups or persons. The international nature of the internet and its global interconnectedness necessitate a transnational approach to combat hate speech online. In order to effectively counteract cyber hate, a multidimensional approach is needed. The sCAN project, therefore, was designed to tackle three areas deemed crucial in this endeavour. This Annual Report presents the sCAN project’s results for the first project year (May 2018 – June 2019) in the three areas of combating hate speech covered by the project’s activities. Therefore, the transnational consortium, implementing the EU project sCAN – Specialised Cyber Activist Network, has 1. gathered tools and pooled resources across countries, 2. conducted joint research and monitoring excerices to achieve an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon and to make trends visible as well as it has 3. conceptualised, developed and implemented online as well as offline training courses to build capacities of NGOs and individual activists to counter hate speech in a diverse manner.

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Beyond the “Big Three”: Alternative platforms for online hate speech

In recent years, most international studies on hate speech online have focused on the three platforms traditionally considered the most influential: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. However, their predominance as the biggest international social networks is no longer uncontested. Other networks are on the rise and young users especially lose interest in the ‘old’ platforms. As hate speech moderation increases on the major social media platforms, hate groups and extremists turn to other networks where community guidelines against hate speech are less strictly enforced. Some of those alternative platforms, like VK.com or Gab.ai, have acquired a broad international audience and are considered ‘safe havens’ by far-right or right-wing extremist activists. This analysis offers an overview of the most prevalent social media platforms and websites used for disseminating hate speech in the countries of the sCAN project partners.

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Diverging responsiveness on reports by trusted flaggers and general users – 4th evaluation of the EU Code of Conduct: sCAN project results

SCAN partners agree that while there is an improved effort from social media companies to remove illegal hate speech, monitoring exercises must continue with the support of European institutions in order to maintain and improve results. As users disseminating hate content increasingly moved to closed groups or to other platforms not included in the monitoring exercise, and with the changing discourse among far-right users, as they feel confident to significantly gain influence at the European elections in May 2019, it is clear that new challenges and threats are on the horizon. Continued efforts of monitoring and counter-action are pivotal in ensuring a safe and respectful online space across the EU and beyond.

Mapping Study: “Countering online hate speech with automated monitoring tools”

This report aims at presenting, defining and analysing existing automated tools to monitor online hateful content as well as its limits beyond the spread of online hatespeech across the Web 1.0 and 2.0. The report provides an in-deep analysis of ways in monitoring online hate speech that are available and straightforward for individual experts, non-profit organisations and Human rights activists. Automated intelligent technologies that provide to CSO’s, decision makers and online activists a better environment in conducting monitoring project are at the heart of a new way to tackle any form of hate speech across the World Wide Web, including social media. In this mapping study, we will analyse which tools are available to individuals to counter hate speech and how to improve the prospects of removal of reported hate speech.

A Hate Ontology for better understanding of key definitions

With this publication, the sCAN project partners, namely LICRA (France), Human Rights House Zagreb (Croatia), jugendschutz.net (Germany), CESIE (Italy), Zara – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria), Spletno oko (Slovenia), ROMEA (Czech Republic), and the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (Latvia), bring their contribution to the further expansion of the body of knowledge and literature on online hate speech, to enable researchers, cyber activists, and the civil society representatives to better recognise and contrast the phenomenon of cyber hate.

Analytical Paper: Antigypsyism on the Internet

Sinti and Romani people have been living in Europe for more than six centuries. The history of antigypsyist rhetoric, discrimination and political persecution is just as long. Even though many countries have by now recognized Sinti and Roma as a national minority, intolerance remains and deeply embedded stereotypes still have a severe impact on the lives and opportunities of persons affected by antigypsyism. Today most antigypsyist rhetoric takes place online. In the analysed countries, criminalisation, welfare chauvinism and de-humanisation are the most common narratives. They are spread on Social Media, but also in (online) media outlets and the comment sections of articles and videos. Frequent tools used to spread antigypsyism are fake news reports and decontextualized images and videos.

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