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Digital Technology and Extreme Speech: Approaches to Counter Online Hate | UN Peacekeeping

To address the spread and severity of online hate and disinformation, and the mammoth challenge they have posed to human rights protection, this strategy paper calls for keen attention toward dynamic scenarios where online vitriolic expressions, actors, practices, networks, and technologies are in a state of constant flux and evolution, and therefore, evasive and slippery for regulatory action and policy making. Keeping this in view, the paper proposes four priority areas for UN entities:

▪ tackling global unevenness in platform governance

▪ connecting critical communities

▪ monitoring ‘gray’ zones, fringe actors, and smaller/domestic platforms

▪ engaging repressive states to tackle coordinated disinformation and hate campaigns.

To explore the dynamism of online vitriol and policy measures in the priority areas, the paper builds on the framework of ‘extreme speech’ rather than the more commonly invoked term, ‘hate speech’. ‘Extreme speech’ emphasizes the importance of longer histories of exclusion, racialization and dispossession that underpin contemporary digital manifestations of hate. At the same time, it draws attention to rapidly mutating online user practices including recent trends of hateful language that comes cloaked in ‘funny’ memes and wordplays, and intricate networks of political manipulation that draw not only on technology but also social trust.

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Source: Digital Technology and Extreme Speech: Approaches to Counter Online | Hate UN Peacekeeping

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