Why Online Hate Speech is a Crime



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Why Online Hate Speech is a Crime


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Why Online Hate Speech is a Crime

There is no formal meaning for hate speech, just as there is no law description for unpatriotic speech, insensitivity, wicked thoughts, or any other type of speech commonly rejected in the community. A point of contention in our societies and nation currently is how to ensure that an individual’s right to talk is protected and one’s freedom to be valued, treated equally, and not worry about being insulted (Chetty, 2018). Hate speech can refer to any mode of interpretation in which the speakers wish to intimidate, disparage, or incite hostility against others depending on their nationality, impairment, nationality, sexual orientation, skin tone, faith, or ethnicity. Therefore, people need to be aware that hate speech is somehow different from abuse, threats, intimidation, or bigotry directed at others.

You will understand much about internet hate speech and why it is illegal in this given paper. Virtual hate speech could also apply the description above (Chetty, 2018).  A couple of online forums, on the other hand, have their definitions of hate speech. Facebook, for example, defines online hate speech as material that criticizes others centered on their impairment, illness, gender identity, class, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, or race. Although Twitter does not have to provide a description, the users or participants are prohibited from tweeting, uploading or sharing explicit material that suggests violence towards others. Google has a portion of its user behavior and material policies dedicated to hate speech. It alerts users not to share information that encourages conflict or hate centered on their age, gender, ethnicity, impairment, or spirituality in this instance (Costello, 2020). Furthermore, hate speech is not permitted on YouTube. Overall, you shall notice that the banned material on the internet seems to be identical in all the platforms.

With the above description, you can see how online hate speech can cause various problems or elicit a wide range of adverse reactions. Many individuals and associations worldwide who support liberty of speech are concerned that governments will use speech-restricting legislation to censor anyone who may choose to oppose them. According to Brison, just simple hateful words can promote the harassment, intimidation, and fear to other people. In some cases, this can ruin human dignity.

Some of how online hate speech can affect an individual, group, or society are: in the social perspective. If online hate speech crimes are not investigated thoroughly and prosecuted, the offenders will continue to feel that they are free to practice it. This can encourage other people to people to also practice this act online (Costello, 2020). In cases where there is no protection against online hate speech, many people lose confidence in their governments or law enforcement agencies, leading to greater marginalization.

In the community impact, when online hate speech is directed to one of the members of a specific group, it can also affect other members. This is because they might be affected psychologically or feels that they are vulnerable to future attacks.

Nonetheless, personal incidents of online hate speech may make victims fearful of becoming targeted in the future. Hate speeches, particularly the ones regarding impairment, ethnicity, sexuality, or physical appearance, may communicate to those who are impacted that they are not embraced in their community. Therefore, they may attempt to separate themselves that can have negative mental consequences. Persons who are impacted will become depressed or attempt murder. There is also a connection between actual violence and hate speech on the internet. A few people are harassed online to a point where they seek out the perpetrators to harm them.

In the United States, hate speech of some kind is legally protected. In this situation, the government typically extends this defense to discussions about public issues, even if they result in a negative or disrespectful expression that may trigger anxiety, rage, or grief. Nevertheless, under United States law, online hate speech can be prosecuted if it expressly encourages illegal activity or contains violent threats directed at a particular individual or group.

What you should know is that the international community appears to agree that online hate speech should be regulated. In 1965, after a few years when the internet had been invented, The United Nations General Assembly signed the first international treaty for dealing with the issues of hate speech. Furthermore, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights tries to put a stop to it. According to this organ, persons who campaign for hate speeches on religious, ethnic, or ethnicity topics will face legal consequences.

When it applies to online hate speech, as per Banks, the European Council for Additional Protocol on Cybercrime Issues was introduced in two thousand and three and became operational in 2006. This protocol requires States to apply legislation and other measures in establishing criminal offenses under their domestic laws against people who may be practicing online hate speech (Waseem, 2016).

When it comes to online platforms such as social media, Twitter has revealed online hate as a crime. You should know that Twitter neither takes any responsibility for hateful tweets nor has a special system for filtering information. However, whenever there are some requests or reports of hate speech, its stakeholders can block the account owner from accessing their services.

Some countries have extraordinary laws regarding online hate speech. For example, under Bangladeshi cyber laws, an internet writer or blogger who targets any religion online faces a maximum sentence of ten years in jail (Waseem, 2016).  Nevertheless, most international laws view online hate speech as aimed at groups and people rather than religions, which opposes many of them.

Several results to making prosecute the speakers a significant challenge are: Firstly, it is challenging to prosecute individuals who have been accused of committing hate speech because this act is relatively new, and there are no precedents to draw on (Hawdon, 2017). If someone has written hateful things about you on the internet, you must take the following steps to ensure that the person is punished. Secondly, you must provide reliable evidence, which can be provided orally or in writing. Thirdly is that, proof that the perpetrator committed a crime against you based on elements of your state’s constitution (Hawdon, 2017). The other explanation is that you must establish the identity of the speakers who were responsible for the hateful material. Finally, it would be beneficial to diffuse and predict some of the potential defense techniques you might use.

In case you have experienced any incidences of online hate speech to you can report that to the administrators of the account or platform you are using. You can also report your case to the police or human rights advocates so that they can take necessary action (Paschalides, 2020). It is also important that you report this issue even if it does not affect you directly but affects other people such as your family members, friends, workmates, or neighbors.

After analyzing various legislations, I believe that online hate speech ought not to be protected by the right to freedom of speech is a basic human right but must be regarded as a serious crime (Paschalides, 2020). From the above essay, you will understand that we need a better understanding of the existing control tools and commit ourselves to fully implementing the current laws. However, due to the worldwide nature of the internet, it cannot be easy to control online interaction even if you limit this to the country level. Thus, it can be very important if international cooperation is embraced and various international networks or associations are encouraged. Internet users must be educated by the existing mechanisms or legislation regarding online hate speech to know why this activity is a crime.




Chetty, N., & Alathur, S. (2018). Hate speech review in the context of online social networks. Aggression and violent behavior40, 108-118.

Costello, M., & Hawdon, J. (2020). Hate speech in online spaces. The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance, 1397-1416.

Hawdon, J., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2017). Exposure to online hate in four nations: A cross-national consideration. Deviant behavior38(3), 254-266.

Paschalides, D., Stephanidis, D., Andreou, A., Orphanou, K., Pallis, G., Dikaiakos, M. D., & Markatos, E. (2020). MANDOLA: A big-data processing and visualization platform for monitoring and detecting online hate speech. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT)20(2), 1-21.

Waseem, Z., & Hovy, D. (2016, June). Hateful symbols or hateful people? predictive features for hate speech detection on twitter. In Proceedings of the NAACL student research workshop (pp. 88-93).

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