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Online Hate Speech Leads to Real World Violence


Carlos Danger

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Hate speech covers many forms of expressions which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred, violence and discrimination against a person or group of persons for a variety of reasons.
https://www.coe.int/en/web/european-commission-against-racism-and-intolerance/hate-speech-and-violence

There have been several studies that link online hate speech as defined above to actual real world violence.

IN AUGUST 2015 Heiko Maas, Germany’s justice minister, wrote an open letter to Facebook demanding better enforcement of the country’s laws against slander, defamation and hate speech. “The internet is not a lawless space where racist abuse and illegal posts can be allowed to flourish,” he told the social-networking giant.
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/01/12/in-germany-online-hate-speech-has-real-world-consequences

It's becoming more and more obvious that those who persistently spout hate speech in online fora such as this one will potentially act on their threats.

What is also becoming obvious is that governments and law enforcement agencies are now taking these online threats much more seriously, and that they not only are willing to prosecute the poster, but also the site itself for giving them a platform.

The "freedom of speech" argument just doesn't carry much water anymore when it comes to online threats.

Freedom of speech is no longer a value. It has become a loophole exploited with impunity by trolls, racists and ethnic cleansing advocates. They are aided by the group I call useful liberals – the “defend to the death your right to say it” folk.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/22/hate-speech-violence-liberals-rightwing-extremists

Here's is an interesting article from five years ago by an Irish barrister. In it he clearly states:

Abuse, where targeted and repeated, is also a crime. Incitement to hatred is a crime. Defamation, though not a crime, is legal wrongdoing. But crude jokes, personal insults and even the most tasteless and outrageous statements are words, not actions.
http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/social-media-anonymity-trolls-1027933-Aug2013/

In Ireland, the crime of online hate speech is normally prosecuted under the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 and under the Equality Act, however there are further avenues available to the victims under civil law.

I'd like to see what the parish thinks regarding all of this.

Are we headed in the right direction when it comes to striking a balance between freedom of speech versus hate speech?

Is it justified to enjoin a website for allowing hatespeech to go on without sanction?

Have you yourself witnessed online hatespeech?...been a victim of it?
 
Last edited:

Carlos Danger

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I realize that it can be difficult for some people to deal with online abuse, specially when it comes to threats of physical violence, so I would like to add this helpful list of how to handle it:

Firstly, it’s important to note that harassment is illegal and you are entitled to report it to the Gardaí or police.

It can be very difficult and even frightening to do something about harassment. It helps if you have support from a friend or colleague. Remember that you’re probably not the first person to be harassed or bullied by whoever’s doing it but you might be the first to speak up. Look for support from other people in your situation or who’ve seen what’s happening to you.

Make it clear to the person who is harassing you that it’s unacceptable and offensive. You can do that in person or in writing. Keep a copy of the email or letter.

If this is too difficult or you’re too frightened, ask a colleague or friend to support you and to be there when you talk to the person harassing you.

Report the harassment to a manager, teacher, lecturer or someone in authority. If a boss, teacher or senior is harassing you, then make the complaint to somebody else in charge.

If the harassment continues, make a formal complaint to your school, university, college or company. Write a letter of complaint with details of the harassment and make sure to keep a copy.

Talk to a doctor if you’re suffering from stress because of the harassment. Get a medical report as proof of the damage to your health.

An employer can’t punish you if you report them for harassment or discrimination. This means it’s illegal for them to fire you or to treat you differently after you make a formal complaint.

Contact Citizens Information, a Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland or The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for advice.
https://spunout.ie/life/article/deal-with-harassment
 

Carlos Danger

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There is a lot of hate speech on this site against Muslims.
I find that surprising.

This site is usually very well moderated.

Do you have any examples that you could post?
 

razorblade

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Everyone is responsible for their own actions just because someone may lose their self control shouldn't justify clamping down on freedom of speech which is absolutely essential in any democracy.
 

GDPR

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In the UK, online hate speech and cyber-harassment has been upgraded to the same criminal status as a face-to-face threat.

The CPS says: "If unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days.” That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS. “Whether shouted in their face on the street, daubed on a wall or tweeted into their living room, hateful abuse can have a devastating impact on victims.”

It is important to point out that you do not have to know the offline identity of your victim to be guilty of a hate crime or intimidation, so arguing that "we are all anonymous here, it doesn't count" is a not a defence.

Users of digital platforms in Ireland should realise that the Irish and British legal concepts of freedom of speech are much more restricted than the US First Amendment. Essentially, in the US you can burn a cross or two, shout racist slogans, abuse anonymous people online and providing no one is actually physically hurt, no connection will be made between that and real world offences.

In Europe in general governments are beefing up measures to protect those online from crimes such as abuse, as people spend an increasing proportion of their lives on the internet. In addition, there is a realisation that abuse in the virtual world has real-world consequences, with the spreading of fear online resulting in acts of physical violence.

On P.ie. we have a series of posts from someone who threatened to "crack the skull" of another poster who disagreed with them, and claimed to have beaten up others. This is beyond the pale of any kind of debate, no matter how robust. I believe banning is in order rather than jail time. Can P.ie moderators give serious consideration to developing a policy around these issues? And share it with their contributors?
 

Carlos Danger

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Everyone is responsible for their own actions just because someone may lose their self control shouldn't justify clamping down on freedom of speech which is absolutely essential in any democracy.
Would you concede that there's a difference in espousing a political view that immigration should be more tightly controlled, and saying that Muslims should be banned?

Would you concede that there's a difference between saying "that's a terrible thing to say" , and "if you said that to my face, I'd have you beaten up"?
 

Carlos Danger

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In the UK, online hate speech and cyber-harassment has been upgraded to the same criminal status as a face-to-face threat.

The CPS says: "If unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days.” That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS. “Whether shouted in their face on the street, daubed on a wall or tweeted into their living room, hateful abuse can have a devastating impact on victims.”

It is important to point out that you do not have to know the offline identity of your victim to be guilty of a hate crime or intimidation, so arguing that "we are all anonymous here, it doesn't count" is a not a defence.

Users of digital platforms in Ireland should realise that the Irish and British legal concepts of freedom of speech are much more restricted than the US First Amendment. Essentially, in the US you can burn a cross or two, shout racist slogans, abuse anonymous people online and providing no one is actually physically hurt, no connection will be made between that and real world offences.

In Europe in general governments are beefing up measures to protect those online from crimes such as abuse, as people spend an increasing proportion of their lives on the internet. In addition, there is a realisation that abuse in the virtual world has real-world consequences, with the spreading of fear online resulting in acts of physical violence.

On P.ie. we have a series of posts from someone who threatened to "crack the skull" of another poster who disagreed with them, and claimed to have beaten up others. This is beyond the pale of any kind of debate, no matter how robust. I believe banning is in order rather than jail time. Can P.ie moderators give serious consideration to developing a policy around these issues? And share it with their contributors?
I have seen that the laws are recognizing that the platform, be it FB, Twitter, Instgram or even little old p.ie, share in the responsibility and liability. This is specially true once the unsavory behavior has been brought to their attention.
 

razorblade

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Would you concede that there's a difference in espousing a political view that immigration should be more tightly controlled, and saying that Muslims should be banned?

Would you concede that there's a difference between saying "that's a terrible thing to say" , and "if you said that to my face, I'd have you beaten up"?
Opinions are like arses everyone has one no one should be physically assaulted because of it or indeed be violent towards others but speech and violence are vastly different things which must not be conflated where does it end if you go down the road of criminalising free speech just because someone can't take the slightest bit of criticism.
 

hollandia

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Everyone is responsible for their own actions just because someone may lose their self control shouldn't justify clamping down on freedom of speech which is absolutely essential in any democracy.
Not quite. everyone is responsible for their own actions, and fora such as this one are responsible if they enable those actions. Also, free speech is not an absolute. It is fettered by a plethora of other laws which constrain what is acceptable in terms of free speech - particularly where they have the potential to lead to further criminal action.
 

benroe

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https://www.coe.int/en/web/european-commission-against-racism-and-intolerance/hate-speech-and-violence

There have been several studies that link online hate speech as defined above to actual real world violence.



https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/01/12/in-germany-online-hate-speech-has-real-world-consequences

It's becoming more and more obvious that those who persistently spout hate speech in online fora such as this one will potentially act on their threats.

What is also becoming obvious is that governments and law enforcement agencies are now taking these online threats much more seriously, and that they not only are willing to prosecute the poster, but also the site itself for giving them a platform.

The "freedom of speech" argument just doesn't carry much water anymore when it comes to online threats.



https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/22/hate-speech-violence-liberals-rightwing-extremists

Here's is an interesting article from five years ago by an Irish barrister. In it he clearly states:



In Ireland, the crime of online hate speech is normally prosecuted under the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 and under the Equality Act, however there are further avenues available to the victims under civil law.

I'd like to see what the parish thinks regarding all of this.

Are we headed in the right direction when it comes to striking a balance between freedom of speech versus hate speech?

Is it justified to enjoin a website for allowing hatespeech to go on without sanction?

Have you yourself witnessed online hatespeech?...been a victim of it?
So who decides what constitutes "Hate speech"? You?

No, what we need is a robust constitutional free speech law, not restriction by leftist serially offended snowflakes.
 

hollandia

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Opinions are like arses everyone has one no one should be physically assaulted because of it or indeed be violent towards others but speech and violence are vastly different things which must not be conflated where does it end if you go down the road of criminalising free speech.
There is - if you read the links provided, and numerous studies on the matter - a clear link between speech and violence.

For example:

https://www.derryjournal.com/news/opinion/ian-paisley-s-memory-fades-1-2144817

For instance, in 1959, long before the 'troubles', there was an outbreak of anti-Catholic violence in Belfast. It happened on June 17 after a rally on the Shankill Road. According to Ed Moloney's excellent and unchallenged biography of Paisley, he reportedly told the crowd that "Pope's men" and a "Papisher" lived in specified houses. He also allegedly singled out "Forte's ice-cream shop, Italian Papists on the Shankill Road," for a mention.

"You people of the Shankhill Road, what's wrong with you?" the 'big man' is said to have roared. After the rally, the crowd marched to the Catholic homes and to shops thought to be Catholic-owned. They threw stones, broke windows and daubed "Taigs out" on the doors.
 

hollandia

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So who decides what constitutes "Hate speech"? You?

No, what we need is a robust constitutional free speech law, not restriction by leftist serially offended snowflakes.
Hate speech is clearly defined in law.

Prohibition of Incitement To Hatred Act, 1989

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/4/contents
Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/contents
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64

So, no. "He" doesn't get to decide. The legislators do. And they have.
 

Carlos Danger

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So who decides what constitutes "Hate speech"? You?

No, what we need is a robust constitutional free speech law, not restriction by leftist serially offended snowflakes.
I certainly wouldn't be making any decisions on what constitutes "Hate speech".

I would also prefer to see a robust constitutional free speech law. One that clearly defines what is protected by it, and indeed what isn't.
 

razorblade

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Not quite. everyone is responsible for their own actions, and fora such as this one are responsible if they enable those actions. Also, free speech is not an absolute. It is fettered by a plethora of other laws which constrain what is acceptable in terms of free speech - particularly where they have the potential to lead to further criminal action.
Like i said its just words no way should free speech be stifled and it absolutely should be absolute because who gets to decide what's deemed offensive or not anything could be offensive to anyone and if we went down the road of banning speech we didn't like then there would be no speech left to ban no debates to be had, is the sort of state you want to live in because it sure as hell isnt where i want to live, if someone can't deal with a bit of criticism then that's their problem why should everyone else suffer because of it.
 

GDPR

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I have seen that the laws are recognizing that the platform, be it FB, Twitter, Instgram or even little old p.ie, share in the responsibility and liability. This is specially true once the unsavory behavior has been brought to their attention.
Correct. Germany has introduced a law making online platforms strictly liable for hosting infractions, which is punishable with fines of up to 50 million euros. In the UK, social media networks can also be fined, the amount depending on the severity of the allegation and the degree of negligence shown by the provider. They can no longer argue they are not responsible for what people post as they are merely a conduit.
 

Carlos Danger

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Like i said its just words no way should free speech be stifled and it absolutely should be absolute because who gets to decide what's deemed offensive or not anything could be offensive to anyone and if we went down the road of banning speech we didn't like then there would be no speech left to ban no debates to be had, is the sort of state you want to live in because it sure as hell isnt where i want to live, if someone can't deal with a bit of criticism then that's their problem why should everyone else suffer because of it.
Offensive speech is just that, offensive. Not innocuous, and can certainly be malicious, but as long as it doesn't incite nor threaten violence, then it's fair play.

What we are discussing here is hate speech. I would urge you to at least read the linked Examiner piece in the OP for a very fair and balanced article on the subject, and one which addresses exactly what you're concerned about.
 

GDPR

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Offensive speech is just that, offensive. Not innocuous, and can certainly be malicious, but as long as it doesn't incite nor threaten violence, then it's fair play.

What we are discussing here is hate speech. I would urge you to at least read the linked Examiner piece in the OP for a very fair and balanced article on the subject, and one which addresses exactly what you're concerned about.
Correct. In Europe, and not in cloud-cuckoo-land, various forms of speech are not protected merely because they are online. i
 
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