counterspeech on twitter
The Dangerous Speech Project collaborated with data scientists at McGill University to study hateful speech on Twitter and seek out instances of successful "conterspeech" – responses to hatred that appear to have caused the original speaker to retract their statement, apologize, and/or delete the offensive tweet. This research, supported by Public Safety Canada's Kanishka Project, resulted in two reports – "Counterspeech on Twitter: A Field Study" and "Considerations for Successful Counterspeech" – and we are exploring opportunities to continue this line of research.
Dangerous speech and the 2016 presidential election
The Dangerous Speech Project has identified instances where Donald Trump and other prominent political leaders have used hallmarks of dangerous speech, and has also called on Mr. Trump to denounce violence being done in his name. The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report in late November 2016 summarizing nearly 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation reported in the aftermath of Trump's election, in many cases specifically invoking Trump's name during the attacks. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and are collaborating with various partners to determine the most effective strategy to counter violence and hatred in the United States.
This paper offers reflections and observations on the state of research related to harmful speech online. The perspectives outlined here are grounded in the lessons from a year of exploratory work in the field by researchers at the Berkman Klein Center and collaborating researchers and institutions.
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.
Finally, two rather different individuals spoke out against anti-Semitism this week: the U.S. president and PewDiePie, the biggest entertainer on YouTube.
Their statements followed an alarming spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, including bomb threats and vandalism at a cemetery: on Monday more than 170 Jewish headstones were knocked over near St. Louis, Missouri. Some people reacted immediately and spontaneously: within hours, Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi started fundraising to repair the damage. They aimed for $20,000, met that goal in only three hours, and had raised more than $120,000 within two days.
Since U.S. government leaders are failing to denounce xenophobia - and even promoting it by depicting foreigners as dangerous threats - it’s a good thing that Budweiser and other companies stepped into the breach with Super Bowl ads - even if they did it just to sell more beer. Four companies - Budweiser, 84 Lumber, Coca-Cola, and Airbnb - used some of the most expensive minutes in advertising history to remind Americans that they are a nation of immigrants, probably helping to protect the country against a shift toward Dangerous Speech. More than 111 million Americans of nearly all political and cultural backgrounds watched those ads: the fifth biggest audience in all of U.S. television.
Now that Donald Trump is president, he has an even greater responsibility to denounce hateful speech and violence: some of it is being committed in his name, and he has enormous influence that would help to stop it. Far from giving a speech, President Trump has neither spoken out nor written one tweet against the violent vitriol that has followed his rise to the presidency.