#NOHATESPEECH

United against hate speech

Hate, marginalization, and abuse seem to be omni­present on the internet. Almost all of us have encoun­tered online hate. However, it is only a small minority that spreads hate in forums, social media, and messaging services. We may not be able to silence hate, but together we can be much more effective in making our voices heard when we speak out against it.

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The internet – a risk to democracy?

The internet offers a world of possi­bilities and inspiration. It provides rapid access to information and brings people together. However, the internet is increas­ingly being misused to intimidate or marginalize people, and to manipulate other people’s views. People can lie, insult, and slander each other as much as they want to on social media. Hate speech and fake news that spread quickly on the web pose a risk to our democracy. Some see the anonymity of the internet as a license to say anything they want. Attacks are often aimed at things like a person’s skin color, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, disability, or religion. Alternatively, people might be targeted because they belong to a certain section of society or because they have a particular job. Political viewpoints are also targeted.

Hate divides society

So what is the actual purpose of these attacks? It depends. As you might expect, “silencing” is all about getting specific people to stop speaking out. For example, activists who champion the human rights of refugees online or advocate for women’s rights don’t have to wait long for hateful comments to start coming their way. Many of them withdraw from the public sphere because they feel unable to cope with such huge pressure. Of course, that is exactly what their attackers want. If they can shut down anyone who thinks differently than them, then it appears as if their opinion is the only one that counts. And, as you would expect, this then also eliminates key perspectives from debates. This is how extreme political views are able to spread, which threatens our democracy. The D21 initiative’s Digital-Index 2021/2022 clearly demon­strates how real these dangers are, with a quarter of respondents seeing digitalization as a threat to democracy.

The situation with internet trolls is a little different. Trolls seem simply to enjoy abusing other people and are not selective in who they target. They thrive on provocation. Even though they are a smaller group than that involved in silencing, their attacks don’t just affect their victims – they ultimately have an impact on all of us.

After all, when insults and antisocial statements become increasingly common, people start to get used to them and then suddenly things that were previously considered outrageous or extreme become socially acceptable.

Quiz

Is that allowed?

Abuse someone in person on the street and you risk prosecution. So what is the situation with social media?

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Question 1 of 4

Tom writes on Facebook „Michaela has a different one in bed every night!“

Right

Wrong

Deliberately asserting or spreading untrue facts that violate the honor of a person and degrade their reputation in public opinion is called "slander" and is prohibited.

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Question 2 of 4

I am sharing the picture of a swastika online – its supposed to be funny, though!

Right

Wrong

The swastika is a forbidden symbol and may not be used or distributed in Germany. Both is a criminal offence.

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Too bad. Would you like to try again?Not bad for the beginning.Great result!

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Question 3 of 4

Gerd posts on Instagram „Islam is not a part of Germany!“

Right

Wrong

But what is decisive is the context! If one's own opinion is recognizable ("I think that....."), such a statement is permitted. But if persons are discriminated against or disparaged, it is not allowed and no longer falls under freedom of opinion.

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Question 4 of 4

Renate comments „Punch holes in the boats! Refugees only steal our German money!“

Right

Wrong

That is incitement of the people. Anyone who incites hatred, violence and arbitrariness against a certain group of people or attacks the human dignity of others, thus disturbing public peace, is liable to prosecution.

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Points

Sock puppets and love speech

Are you wondering what cute little sock puppets have to do with online hate? Here are some interesting terms related to online etiquette:

1Sock puppet

2Troll

3Hate speech

4Love speech

5Online uproar

6Silencing

Get over your shock!

Although almost all of us have come across hateful comments online before, very few people actually do anything about it. Instead, when confronted by hate, we are paralyzed by shock. We don’t know whether we should respond or how, so we quickly scroll on. How could we respond, take a stand against hate, and make discussions more constructive?

1Show solidarity!

2Stay calm and don’t let yourself be provoked

3Use fact checkers!

4Report posts or comments that breach rules!

5Practice taking on the haters!

Hate and incitement have no place in our society – not on the internet and not in real life, where words unfor­tunately become deeds. We believe everyone should be able to enter into dialog with each other on the basis of fair­ness. We are taking specific steps to pursue this aim. Tim Höttges, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Telekom AG

We need a sound ethical foundation

Inspiring democracy

SDG 16 – Peace, justice, and strong institutionsSDG 16 – Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Countering hate with knowledge

1#DABEI-Geschichten (#TAKEPART stories)

2Teachtoday

3SCROLLER media magazine for kids

We are taking a stand.

In our podcast series, we provide information for anyone who would like to find out more.

Civil courage online

Civil courage online

The power of language

The power of language

Filter bubbles and echo chambers

Filter bubbles and echo chambers

First-aid course for the internet?

First-aid course for the internet?

Conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories

Online hate

Online hate

Manipulation on the internet

Manipulation on the internet

Fake news

Fake news

Digital crime – looking for digital clues

Digital crime – looking for digital clues

We are pursuing partnerships

Cause for optimism

Democracy and human rights cannot be taken for granted. That is why we have to take action to make sure we don’t let them slip through our fingers, and why we need to empower ourselves to navigate the digital world confidently. That includes every one of us showing civil courage so that hate does not become normal.

There is good reason to be optimistic! It has been scienti­fically proven that if we reinforce our own skills through experience or experimen­tation, we become more coura­geous and are more likely to step in when something is not right. We also feel better when we can take a bad feeling and turn it into concrete action, and studies have shown that objective responses to online hate and incitement can consi­derably defuse argu­ments. Further­more, people who demon­strate civil courage are not alone! So far, some 42,000 people have come together under the #ichbinhier (#Iamhere) hashtag alone to show that they are against hate and margi­na­li­zation on the internet – every day!

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