Combating Hate Speech on Social Media: Applying Targeted Regulation, Developing Civil-Communicative Skills and Utilising Local Evidence-Based Anti-Hate Speech Interventions



#hatespeech #digitalmedia #socialmedia

Social media platforms such as Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) set their core aim as bringing people and communities closer together. Yet, they resemble a digital communicative battleground in which hate speech is increasingly present. Hate speech is not benign. It is the communicative driver of group oppression. It is therefore imperative to disarm this digital communicative battlefield by (a) regulating and redesigning social media platforms to prevent them from playing an active and enabling role in the dissemination of hate speech and (b) empowering citizen-users and local civil associations to recognise and actively counter hate speech. This top-down and bottom-up approach necessarily enforces responsibility and builds capacity. This requires that we adapt and combine three aspects of communicative peacebuilding: first, the (re)building of civil-communicative institutions; second, the use of digital citizenship educational programmes to support the development of civil-communicative skills for using social media; and third, the identification and use of local civil capacity and knowledge, which manifests in the present context in the use of local evidence-based anti-hate speech interventions. We argue that this interdisciplinary combinatorial approach has the potential to be effective because it combines two things: it places responsibility on relevant actors to both make social media safer and to navigate it harmlessly and responsibly; and it simultaneously helps build the capacity for actively identifying and countering hate speech in civil societies.

Type of Publication
social media
Journalism and Media Journal
Publishing Date
Stefanie Pukallus; Catherine Arthur