Many people feel helpless when they see hate speech online, believing there is nothing they can do about it and choosing to ignore it.
But, we all have an obligation to work towards a world we want to live in and this includes creating an online space that is free of discrimination and hate.
There are many ways to address online hate speech. Here are two simple and effective ways to respond to and prevent hate speech that anyone can do:
1. When you see hate speech online you can report it.
2. Be a part of the solution and actively promote positive alternative narratives.
What can you do when you see hate speech online?
Most websites, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, have clear policies against the use of hate speech on their sites. If you see something online that you believe is hate speech, you can report it. Reporting it is easy and quick. If the site administrators determine that the post is considered hate speech, it may be removed. This means fewer people will view and share the post, and it sends a signal to the perpetrator that what they said isn’t welcome on the platform.
If you’re not sure how or when to report posts on popular websites, the Online Hate Prevention Institute’s How-To-Guides can take you through the process for several popular sites.
Take a pro-active stance against hate
While reporting hate speech is important, it does not address the root of the problem. It is reactive, rather than pro-active. In fact, actions that focus solely on removing or banning hate speech content can sometimes provoke perpetrators and lead to more aggressive responses. Alternative narratives, on the other hand, are typically more effective in addressing the problem.
What are alternative narratives?
Alternative narratives are positive stories that show what you are for, not what you are against. They promote respect, diversity, tolerance and encourage inclusivity.
Alternative narratives can serve as both educational tools that fight prejudice and racism, and as cheerleaders for minorities by expressing support for minorities and challenging stereotypes.
Did you know? Every day, Facebook has 5 billion new items posted. Every minute, over 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube. Every second, there are 6,000 tweets on Twitter. That’s a lot to keep up with!
Where to find out more
If you’re ready to take action, but are less familiar about a particular issue or community, take some time to do some research first. A quick read through some of the websites below should get you up to speed on the main challenges and debates relating to race, religion and gender-identity-based hate.
Racism and Discrimination – All Together Now
Violent Extremism – People Against Violent Extremism
Migration and Immigration – Welcome to Australia
Human Rights in Australia – Australian Human Rights Commission