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Madrid – Skyline International for Human Rights issued today, Sunday, April 4, 2021 a report that discussed hate speech on social media and showed its effects. The report presented examples of several countries that practiced hate speech, and provided several mechanisms to confront it.

The dependence of individuals on social media as a news source has led to the emergence of new or alternative media terms, which means that individuals obtain daily news and events from alternative sources than newspapers or television channels.

This tendency has opened the way for individuals and groups to exploit this vast space to spread hate speech and incitement to violence in a thoughtful, organized, and often random manner based on political and social interests and purposes of some parties and groups.

Despite the positive role of social media in making positive changes in people’s lives, it has negatively contributed to spreading bad cultures, hatred, sectarianism, social and religious disputes, and other negative issues.

Hate speech spreads in unstable and divided societies, as well as in countries receiving refugees and immigrants. Frequent spates of asylum and immigration have led to increasing hate speech against them. Dozens of users take advantage of social in sending anti-immigrant and refugee messages.

Governments and politicians also play a role in the increase of hate speech. Politicians exercise hate speech in elections against refugees and immigrants by attributing complex problems such as unemployment and declining economic performance. These campaigns have increased the calls for their deportation. For example, Syrian refugees in Lebanon have been exposed to hate speech on political, social, and cultural aspects due to the historical disputes between the two countries and the racist discourse of some politicians.

Skyline indicates that the “hate speech” concept in social media has several meanings and does not have an internationally agreed definition. However, the European Commission’s Policy Recommendation Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), issued on 8 December 2015, defined hate speech on social media as “advocating, promoting or inciting to defame, hate, harass, or threaten a person or group of persons and justify all these forms of expression based on race, color, language, religion, belief, nationality, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics or status.

Social media also should combat hate speech on its platforms. It should define its strict published content’s policies and have accurate control over the content that encourages the spread of hatred, taking into account the protection of people’s right to freedom of expression and opinion.

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