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.
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.
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.