People don’t commit violence against other groups - or even condone it - spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as pests, vermin, aliens, or threats. Malicious leaders often use the same types of rhetoric to do this, in myriad cultures, languages, countries, and historical periods. We call this Dangerous Speech. Violence might be prevented by making it less abundant or less convincing. We work to find the best ways to do this – while protecting freedom of expression.
As the United States reaches the end of a campaign season marred by increasing levels of disinformation and dangerous speech – and unprecedented fears of election-related violence – it's time to start thinking about the future. In this paper, Cathy Buerger and Tonei Glavinic share new research about how countries around the world have taken on the challenge of harmful speech in campaigns, and offer ideas about how these approaches could be adapted for use in the United States.
The Dangerous Speech Project and 14 other organizations called for GIFCT, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, to respect human rights and address concerns about censorship, transparency, and overreach.
While online speech is rarely implicated in initial violent incidents, social media platforms increasingly feature dangerous speech afterward – which increases the risk of additional violence.