Hate speech is commonly defined as any communication that attacks a person or a group because of its origin, colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic. Due to the massive rise of user-generated web content, in particular on social media networks, the amount of hate speech is also steadily increasing. [1][2]
New communication technologies and social media platforms offer many opportunities and can facilitate public communication. However, they can also have negative influence: the anonymity of the Internet suggests a security that allows insults and defamation of others in an apparently save haven.
Some politicians also use hate speech. It is assumed that this can and will influence electoral support. [3]
As Cammarts notes, the “Internet gives rise to anti-public spaces, voicing hatred and essentialist discourses”. To counteract this development, many countries have already adopted laws against hate speech. However, a conflict of objectives can be detected here because also the freedom of speech must be protected, as it is an important pillar for democracy. [4]
It must therefore be weighed carefully and examined in each case, whether or not something can be called hate speech.

 

[1]    Schmidt, A., Wiegand, M. (2017), A Survey on Hate Speech Detection using Natural Language Processing, http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W17-1101, retrieved March 7, 2018.
[2]    Ben-David, A., Metamoros-Fernandez, A. (2016), Hate speech and covert discrimination on social media: Monitoring the Facebook pages of extreme-right political parties in Spain, International Journal of Communication, 10, 1167-1193.
[3]    van Spanje, J., de Vreese, C. (2015), The good, the bad and the voter: The impact of hate speech prosecution of a politician on electoral support for his party, Party Politics, 21(1), 115-130.
[4]    Cammarts, B. (2009), Radical pluralism and free speech in online public spaces. The case of North Belgian extreme right discourses, International journal of cultural studies, 12(6), 555-575.
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Relative frequecies of Hate Speech related publications
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