Articles, Chapters, and Op-Eds by the Dangerous Speech Project
This brief guide makes recommendations for those who wish to engage productively in counterspeech online. It is based on the findings of our two year study of hateful speech and counterspeech on Twitter. Those findings can be found in "Counterspeech on Twitter: A Field Study."
This report, written for the Canadian government's Kanishka Project, explains the findings of the Dangerous Speech Project's two year study of hateful speech and counterspeech on Twitter. We review the existing literature on counterspeech, both in response to hateful speech and extremism; examine cases of counterspeech through the vector in which it was delivered; and develop a taxonomy of counterspeech strategies.
Online social platforms are beset with hateful speech - content that expresses hatred for a person or group of people. Such content can frighten, intimidate, or silence platform users, and some of it can inspire other users to commit violence. Despite widespread recognition of the problems posed by such content, reliable solutions even for detecting hateful speech are lacking. In the present work, we establish why keyword-based methods are insufficient for detection. We then propose an approach to detecting hateful speech that uses content produced by self-identifying hateful communities as training data. Our approach bypasses the expensive annotation process often required to train keyword systems and performs well across several established platforms, making substantial improvements over current state-of-the-art approaches.
Jonathan Leader Maynard, and Susan Benesch (2016), Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 9, Iss. 3.
This paper draws together the authors’ independent past work on dangerous speech and the ideological dynamics of mass atrocities by offering a new integrated model to help identify the sorts of speech and ideology that raise the risk of atrocities and genocides. We suggest that this model should inform monitoring activities concerned with the risk of genocides and mass atrocities, and prevention efforts at the strategic and targeted levels.
This comment examines the tension between freedom of expression and freedom of religion by embedding the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in a wider, century-old European tradition of publications mocking religion, including Christianity. It describes, and draws lessons from, the 19th century blasphemy case against the British Freethinker newspaper, whose “technique of offense” was similar to that of Charlie Hebdo. Finally, the comment tackles the problem of violent response to text or images that mock religion, pointing out that malicious intermediaries often carry such messages between social groups or across national borders—greatly escalating the risk of violence.
Susan Benesch reviews efforts to counter hateful speech online in the Berkman Center for Internet and Society's report Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World.
State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014, Minority Rights Group International, 2014.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, February 11, 2014
With Michael Abramowitz. Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013.
The Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication conducted an evaluation of the Vioja Mahakamani media intervention, a partnership between the Dangerous Speech Project and Media Focus on Africa.
"It's time for Internet giants to explain when censorship is and isn't OK." With Rebecca MacKinnon.
People are increasingly privy to communication that they would not have heard (or read or seen) in the past. This has significant implications for speech law and policy.
This book chapter describes existing case law on incitement to genocide, the challenges with identifying the cause of genocide, and offers the Dangerous Speech framework as an alternative approach.
Inflammatory speech – a common feature of elections – provides opportunities for preventing ethnic violence in the context of elections. However, this must be done carefully in order to preserve freedom of expression.
This paper analyzes incitement in international criminal law as well as in international human rights law, building an interpretive bridge between the two bodies of law; proposes a method for distinguishing incitement from other forms of hate speech; summarizes the jurisprudence on incitement to genocide; and describes a methodology for identifying speech that has a reasonable possibility of successfully inciting genocide, suggesting ways in which this framework may be adapted for distinguishing other forms of incitement.