OP-ED: The Deadly Consequences of Trump’s Gradual and Insidious Rhetoric

Awful though it was that thugs smashed their way into the Capitol last week, it might do the United States good in the end.

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

The Anti-Hate Brigade: How a Group of Thousands Responds Collectively to Online Vitriol

#jagärhär – "I am here" – is a Sweden-based group of thousands of volunteers working collectively to counter online hatred. In this groundbreaking report, Cathy Buerger offers the first qualitative study of the group – how it works, why people join and stay engaged, and how its members try to shift thinking and discourse norms among the general public.

Prevent Violence, Strengthen Democracy: Electoral Codes of Conduct for the United States

The 2020 U.S. election was like nothing we'd seen before for many reasons, including disinformation, dangerous speech, and unprecedented fears of election-related violence. Now 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.

Blog + News

A Dangerous Symbolic Victory

As a matter of symbolism, the January 6th attack dealt an immeasurable blow to democracy, one that will galvanize violent white supremacists for generations to come.  

Big Tech’s Big Challenge

Twitter and Facebook have set a precedent in removing Trump from their platforms—but can they apply the same principle globally? Salil Tripathi explores this question, using the dangerous speech framework.