UN encourages social media users to report others for online 'hate speech'

The organization defines hate speech as "offensive discourse targeting a group or an individual based on inherent characteristics (such as race, religion or gender) and that may threaten social peace."

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The United Nations (UN) published a tweet to help people become more aware of the consequences associated with hate speech online. The organization linked their guide to "how to deal with hate speech" online which includes reporting it to government authorities. 



The guide is broken down into eight steps: pause, fact-check, react, challenge, support, report, educate, and commit. Some of the sections give standard advice on how to verify information provided to you online. 

Most of the guide's approach could be summarized as verifying sources of information, being respectful online, and not reacting quickly to information you come across that may be targeting people. It notably emphasizes that it is up to all individuals to bring attention to any content that could be construed as "hate speech."



According to the United Nations website, the organization defines hate speech as "offensive discourse targeting a group or an individual based on inherent characteristics (such as race, religion or gender) and that may threaten social peace."

The report section says that you should report hate speech on the "online platforms and communities" that have "rules to keep user discussions respectful." 

It also tells readers to "[r]ead social media platform guidelines and tips to protect users from harassment and hate speech." Then it makes a distinction and brings in government authority. 

"For more serious cases – which may constitute incitement to violence, harassment and/or threats prohibited by law – notify organizations fighting hate speech and/or file a complaint with police," it continues. 

The report section states that "[s]ome countries have online tools to make reporting hate speech easier." 

In the "serious cases" portion, the speech that is spoken about specifically "constitute[s] incitement to violence, harassment, and/or threats."

Although, these more "serious cases" are not all that is forbidden in some countries with hate speech laws. Some countries in the UN will prosecute even smaller offenses. 

One such country is Sweden. 

Hate speech law in Sweden mandates, "A person who, in a statement or other communication that is disseminated, threatens or expresses contempt for a population group by allusion to race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity or expression is guilty of agitation against a population group and is sentenced to imprisonment for at most two years or, if the offence is minor, to a fine."

In Sweden, there are websites designed for the purpose of reporting so-called hate speech online. 

One website states that even "mean statements about an ethnic group or a group of people alluding to race, skin tone, ethnic background, belief or sexual orientation" can be considered a criminal offense and "should be reported to the police."

Similar hate speech reporting systems and laws exist in other countries that are part of the UN such as Denmark, Frace, and Belgium.
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Comments

Dean

George Orwell would be offended that his 1984 Thought Police was used as a training manual.

Dean

George Orwell would be offended that his 1984 Thought Police was used as a training manual.

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