I’ve got a link! // Navigating hate speech online

I have had many conversations with people over the years about how to navigate hate speech online. Do we defend those being attacked? Or do we simply ‘dislike’ and ‘like’ to show our opinion. How effective is that?

My masters dissertation examined how we are shaped by ‘likes’ on Facebook.

The journal article ‘Algorithms of hate: How the Internet facilitates the spread of racism and how public policy might help stem the impact’ by Andrew Jakubowicz states that digital technologies shape how society is moving and changing and notes that “multicultural societies require active interventions in the public sphere to build community and resolve conflicts”.

Frighteningly, Australia’s laws are very lax and this is actually a very easy place to be racist online.

The article looked at results from a survey of 2000+ ppl, their prejudices looking at Bystanders, Targets and Perpetrators. The survey found 1% of heavily prejudiced and 2.2% of strong opponents to prejudice. It found that perpetrators seek to normalise hate speech on the internet and that bystanders (making up the largest percentage of ppl in the survey) tend to swing between varying levels of prejudice online.

So what does this mean?

Well it means that bystanders actually have quite a lot of power on Facebook and that should bystanders become active opponents of prejudice they can tip the scales in what often feels like a space heavily populated by prejudice.

The results of the election have made many in my circles very sad but the fact is this is the space where we can make change.

Reference of the article mentioned in this post:

Jakubowicz, A. (2018). Algorithms of hate: How the internet facilitates the spread of racism and how public policy might help stem the impact. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 151(1), 69 – 81. Retrieved from https://search-informit-com-au.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/documentSummary;res=IELHSS;issn=0035-9173;vol=151;spage=6

Image credit: Aussie Man Reviews



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