Speech as a Driver of Intergroup Violence: A Literature Review

People have been trying to understand the catalysts of human behavior, especially violent behavior, for thousands of years. In this review, we focus on how speech, especially public, often online speech, can inspire civilians of one group to attack civilians of another or create an atmosphere in which such violence is encouraged.

We study dangerous speech and ways to counteract it.

Dangerous Speech: A Practical Guide

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

Counterspeech: A Literature Review

Every day, internet users encounter hateful and dangerous speech online, and some of them choose to respond directly in order to refute or undermine it. We call this counterspeech. Only a few studies have attempted to measure the effectiveness of counterspeech directly, and as far as we know, this is the first review of relevant literature.

Trump in the Rearview Mirror: How to Better Regulate Violence-Inciting Content Online

It was a watershed when Donald Trump lost his social media megaphone on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms right after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, since none of these companies had ever dumped a head of state. But this moment also represents a failure: The companies barred him for inciting violence only after he had done it successfully. They identified incitement to violence in the rearview mirror, by waiting for violence to happen.

Blog + News

Liz Cheney spoke out against lies and dangerous speech – and got punished for it

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) spoke out against dangerous speech, violence, and lies – and was punished by her colleagues as a result.

Christchurch Call Advisory Network Statement on Two Year Anniversary

On the second anniversary of the Christchurch Call to Action, the members of the Christchurch Call Advisory Network recommit to the initiative, while calling for greater engagement with civil society from governments and companies