We study dangerous speech and ways to counteract it.

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.

Resources

Online harassment resource guide

This Wikimedia resource compiles interdisciplinary research on understanding and responding to the problem of online harassment, and serves as an excellent starting point for scholars and practitioners alike.

UNDERSTANDING HATE AND DANGEROUS SPEECH: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

This brand-new introductory guide develops the concept of Dangerous Speech, illustrates why it’s useful for preventing violence, and explains how to determine which messages are indeed dangerous. We discuss how digital and social media allow Dangerous Speech to spread and threaten peace, and we conclude with methods for intervening to decrease the risk of violence.

Blog + News

An expert on ‘dangerous speech’ explains how Trump’s rhetoric and the recent spate of violence are and aren’t linked

After a string of attempted and successful attacks against minority groups and politicians, DSP executive director Susan Benesch explains to the Washington Post how Donald Trump's rhetoric has contributed to shifting political norms that are emboldening violent far-right extremists.

Far-right presidential-elect Jair Bolsonaro could institutionalize hatred in Brazil

The winner of Brazil's 2018 presidential election has a long history of Dangerous Speech, as well as calls to violence against black and indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and women.